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Stage 4 lung cancer that spread to liver and brain. Took chemo. Life expectancy?

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My mom has Stage 4 lung cancer that spread to her liver and brain she has undergone 4 sessions of chemo and the onocoligist has suggested no more chemo and she has been on Hospice for 2 weeks now. Her feet and legs are swelling and she has been very tired and dizzy. Her pain in her stomach continues to increase and in the last day or two has gone to her lower back. She looses her breath very quickly. Are these all signs that she is getting worse? How long can a person live with small cell lung cancer once the doctor stops treatment? We are just spending as much time as we can and we are trying to comfort her in anyway that we can. What should we do for her as a family?
Posted Sat, 2 Nov 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Anjana Rao Kavoor 1 hour later
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Please find detailed answer below.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing in to us.

Sorry to hear about your mom's health condition.

The swelling in feet and legs might be due to blood circulation and fluid retention in the legs. Getting tired is a result of weakness from illness and treatment. Dizziness is most likely due to her brain metastasis.

There is no fixed duration for life expectancy after stopping chemotherapy in small lung cancer lung. With will power and your family support, she can live for a few more months I guess.

Let your loved mom know that you're willing to listen to her concerns — and never underestimate the value of your presence. Even if it feels as if you're not doing anything, your presence sends an important message. Don't, however, try to be a counselor.

She might be afraid of pain. Perhaps your loved one is afraid of losing control of her bodily functions, mind or autonomy. Your mom might also fear failing family or becoming a burden to others.

To provide emotional and spiritual support to her, ask her to talk about her fears. Sometimes, however, it's easier to share what she fears and explore it with someone other than a family member, such as a spiritual counselor.

Keep in mind that your mom is still the same person she was before becoming ill. She will likely still have the same needs, desires and interests.

God bless your Mom.

I hope this helps,
Any further queries are welcome.
Dr. A Rao Kavoor
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Stage 4 lung cancer that spread to liver and brain. Took chemo. Life expectancy? 9 hours later
She was diagnosed in May and that's when they started her treatment. They noticed some change and decrease during the first two sessions and then after the 3rd and 4th session there was no change so they gave her a break. She took about a month off and then the doctor said that the cancer in her brain didn't grow nor did the one in her lung but the cancer in her liver grew. He said that because of how aggressive small cell is and the fact that they liver had so much cancer treatment wasn't suggested. He said he would but it wouldn't change the outcome. She is scared and so are we really. My daughter gets married in April and she doesn't think she will make it but we are still including her in all of the plans. I am trying to set small term goals so that she will push on but some days it seems like she is in so much pain. Are we doing the right thing? Should I try to get more family around sooner than latter? Her spirits are high but her health seems low.
Answered by Dr. Anjana Rao Kavoor 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please find detailed answer below

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing in with an update.

Its good to know that her spirits are high.

I did a through research on small cell cancer lung with spread to brain and liver.
It says that in SCC patients with disease spread to brain, the one year survival is 40.9% or 2 out of five patients will live upto a year or more.
In case of spread to liver, the one year survival rate is 18.8% or one in five patients will survive for a year.

The above information is just a set of numbers and I hope she is one of the lucky people to see her daughter's marriage in 6 months time.

You are doing the right thing. If there is the slightest co operation from the opposite side, I would suggest that the marriage is held as early possible. Getting family around would be great but she should not be reminded of her illness frequently. Please continue with your short term goals.

God bless your Mom.

I hope this helps,
Any further queries are welcome.
Dr. A Rao Kavoor
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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