Can an 80 year old survive the treatments for in operable lung CA

My Dad is 80. He is fairly healthy. He drives, gardens, shops. He was Dx with a 7cm tumor in left lung near his spine and behind his heart. Seems like it takes forever for the doctors to decide a real treatment plan. Radiation to tumor and mediastinum. The medical oncologist suggests just Chemo. He wants to die with dignity and would rather have 6 months of feeling ok rather than a year of hell getting treaments.

Does anyone know of anyone getting Chemo/ radiation at 80 years old?

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My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 80. She went through radiation and chemo without a hitch. This month she turns 82! She to is active and I think that makes all the difference! Good luck. PEACE!

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My Dad, 72 years old, not in the best of health to begin with (existing lung, heart etc.) began chemo in april 08. After 4 weeks of complications - Dad's health declined drastically - (hospitalization, transfusions, low sodium, pain). By his second round of chemo he was bouncing back. Believe it or not chemo seems to agree with him! The docs can regulate the dosage according to how he is handling it. We have had good results thus far. Personally, I would encourage my Dad to try anything, especially if the docs think it is okay. Read everything on this site, be well informed and get another opinion if necessary. Wishing you all the best - and most important is a Positive Attitude.

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i am going to a canceer fit program and their are two older gentlemen in that range 1 know with lung cancer and he is doing well a really spunky guy. don't get me wrong chemo is not fun. but he seemed to take it well .the things they give youwith it arenot fun like the neulasta. i do take a shark cartilidge to build the whitel blood cell which it seem to affect. prayers and healing to you i also do a reiki massage every other week. and friends are wonderful it helps you get threw.

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A tough issue indeed. Complications of cytotoxic chemotherapy are more common in cancer patients 65 years of age and older than in younger patients.

The effects of aging on bodily functions and physiology, according to Michael Fisch, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine at MD Anderson, cannot be ignored when making treatment and referral decisions. Pharmacokinetic processes such as the absorption, metabolism, and excretion of drugs appear to be different in older patients, and in general, a person’s physiologic tolerance or reserve diminishes with increasing age.

The process of aging reduces your organ capacitance. You may have a functioning kidney, functioning lungs, and a functioning brain, but you have less capacitance at 80 years of age than when you were 50.

Older people are generally closer to some edge beyond which they would tip into a more clinically important organ dysfunction. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t set the same goals for treating and controlling their disease. To Dr. Fisch, age bias means that you put unreasonable limits on your expectations for a person because they’re 80—as if two years of life between 80 and 82 are not as valuable as two years of life between 50 and 52.

Dr. Fisch added that decisions about the care of older patients with cancer must take into account the stage and type of cancer and the patient’s competing risks. If you are 82 or you have other diseases, and you have cancer, it is not likely to catch up with you, he said. That is not age bias, it is just making appropriate medical decisions in the face of competing risks and the expected course of illness.

Age-related physiologic changes that can increase the toxicity of chemotherapy are decreased stem-cell reserves, decreased ability to repair cell damage, progressive loss of body protein, and accumulation of body fat.

A decline in organ function can alter the pharmacokinetics of many of the commonly used chemotherapeutic agents in some elderly patients, making toxicity less predictable. Comorbidities increase the risk of toxicity through their effects on the body.

Furthermore, the drugs used to treat comorbidities may interact with chemotherapeutic drugs, potentially increasing toxicity in elderly patients. Age is a risk factor for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia and its complications.

Anemia may present itself because of the disease or its treatment, but left uncorrected, it can alter drug activity and increase toxicity. Being able to predict which elderly patients are at greater risk of toxicity on the basis of pretreatment factors would be valuable.

Effective management of the toxicity associated with chemotherapy with appropriate supportive care is crucial, especially in the elderly population, to give them the best chance of survival.

Management of neutropenic complications with just standard-dose chemotherapy can lead to better outcomes. A better understanding of drug activity and toxicity in older patients is necessary for developing guidelines for safe and effective treatment.

J Support Oncol 2003;1(Suppl 2):18–24

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Thank you very much for your reply. It is very appreciated.

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That makes me feel hopeful. Thank you! He will try.

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Thank you for the encouragement. I feel more hopeful and will be positive for my dad.

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If that is what your dad wants, then let him decide. As a survivor myself, I am 51. If cancer ever returned I would have to do some serious thinking about going through a year and a half of treatment again. My dad was diagnosed 10 days after my diagnosis, I had just started my chemo when he died. He was 83, lived a good life. I miss him terribly, but I wouldn't want to see him go through chemo at his age. He knew something was wrong but Drs. couldn't give a diagnosis for months, he died 3 weeks after learning he had pancreatic cancer.

It must sound like I would just give up, but I wouldn't give up, I would live. I am almost 4 years out and I still have side effects.

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