My friend (diagnosed 6/08,Stage IV NSCLC), aged 61, is still in treatment but is running out of options.
Initially she was treated with chemotherapy approx. 6 mos. and then she was on Tarceva for 13 months. In November 09 most of the cancer had resolved and the primary tumor was actually removed using the VATS procedure and we were hopeful the Tarceva would continue to maintain control. Alas that was not the case and in December It was found she had developed numerous small brain mets. She was treated with WBR for these (no one explained the wbr caused terrible side effects from steroids and burns). The cancer in her lung progressed in January and Tarceva was stopped. Shortly thereafter much pain began and she was given a fentanyl patch and morphine.
She began Gemzar in February. Two days after the Gemzar infusion she was in terrible pain, barely able to speak and unable to get up. Her hands and legs were swollen and blotchy red. She had a fever of 101.9 and ended up in the hospital for a week. Her oxygen level was 80 percent and she has been on oxygen ever since. She survived all that and has improved but needs much help with the daily functions of living.
A recent MRI shows she has four new brain mets that can be treated with Stereotactic Radiosurgery and she wants to persue this treatment. Yesterday her onc told her that more chemotherapy would not affect the brain mets and likely increase her neuropathy and quality of life. He does recomend the focused brain radiation.
The oncologist agreed she could try the Tarceva again since it sometimes will work a second time after a break. He is increasing the dosage from 150 to 225.
What side effects can be expected from the focused radiation and are there any suggestions about the rest of her story? I have researched the clinical trials having to do with tarceva resistance and for one reason or another she doesn't qualify.
My friend is eating very little and sleeping alot. However she is still very much a part of this world wanting to have a yard sale, take care of her plants, watch television and read. We even played cards last week.
Thank you. I appreciate your knowledge and suggestions.