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Non Small Cell Lung Cancer Average Length of Life Expectancy and Growth...
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Non Small Cell Lung Cancer Average Length of Life Expectancy and Growth Speed

My dad was diagnosed with NSCLC stage Iv and died one month later.  What is the average rate for which this cancer grows?  For example, did he probable get it about one month, six months or one year prior?
Thank You
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Non-small cell cancers are believed to have a doubling time of 3 to 6 months.  They are present and growing for years before being found.  It is estimated that 75% of the cancer's growth happens before it is found.  Since your father died 1 month after the cancer was found it was probably there for years.  Although it may have been found only the last few months when it was growing faster.
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Hi, my mother has stage IV and we are not hopeful.  Was your Dad a smoker?  How old was he?  My mom has NSC like your father did-and has been sick for 2 years.  Now it most likely won't be long, and sometimes knowing is worse. She is only 67 yrs.  Trust me, as much as people feel, if they only would have known sooner, they could have done something, that is not always the case with lung cancer as it is very aggressive.  Many times, people take treatment, knowing full well it will never CURE the cancer, only prolong the agony.
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My dad was 62 and yes he did smoke from 16 until about 40.  He went from a bachache to the ER Feb. 9th, they found tumors on both lungs, in his brain, blood and bone. He died March 5th in his sleep. Chemo would have only afforded him maybe one uncomfortable month.
    The only thing you might look into is Iseral (hope it's spelled right).  It only works in 10% of Lung Cancer patients, those patients that have some certain receptor 6...However, my dad's oncologist had a patient go into remission from stage IV.  I think hospice can even pay for it if the doctor writes the right thing down.
    I don't know what your faith is, but my dad started reading the Bible about 8 years ago, came to believe that Jesus died for his sins, accepted Him as his savior, and did not have fear of dying.  I am sorry for what you are going through, it's so hard.  Debbie
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Hi Debbie:
I know what you mean about chemo.  My mother is supposedly too far along for it, and her hair would fall out etc.  We are supposed to be starting her on a drug called Tarceva.  It is about $2100. without coverage.  Many of the ins. companies will not pay for it, and these darn drug companies know when people are desperate that they will try anything, and pay anything for a chance to live.  Iseral?  Hmm. Anyway, it is so hard, but I too have faith, just not the Jesus kind.  My mother is very faithful, and was a weekly church goer.  She is very scared of death.  I try to comfort her.  We will see.  Best wishes to you.
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Ask your doctor if they can get your mom on hospice, I think hospice might cover the $2100 drug.  You said your mom was a weekly church goer, if it was the Catholic Church then (and I know your faith is not the Jesus kind but if she was going to church alot hers might be) one of the verses that so comforted my dad was John 11:25 Jesus said to a grieving woman, "I am the resurrection and life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies."  Maybe a pastor from your moms church could come and visit, I know it's hard for you, my heart felt like it was tearing in two watching my dad go through this, but talking with someone from her church might be good for her.  My heart goes out to you.  Debbie
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Thanks Debbie, for the prayers and suggestions.
Yes, we do have members of the congregation visiting
and praying for her.  Yes, and in addition to her illness
she has depression/anxiety real bad and it has only gotten
worse as she realizes what she is facing.  I only hope she
has a "painless" passing.  We do not know when this will be,
but we are considering hospice.  Right now we are trying to
get the visiting nurses to come for about 4 hrs. a day, then
my sister and I will need to pick up the slack.  Does hospice
stay all day?  Is there any service that stays overnight? Yes it does rip your heart out to see a parent suffer and die.
This really is difficult.
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OK - the Hospice near me has a few "Hospice Houses" which are very nice, check that out.  Also, importantly, look at your moms insurance, my dads covered up to 6 months of hospice as long as he was labeled "terminal" which sadly enough they are with Stage IV.  Now, if there is not a hospice house, alot of rehab/nursing homes can accept patients through the hospice benefit.  My doctors recommended this route beacuse they will only need more care.  It is better for you to be there refreshed than cranky from being up most of the night.  If that avenue does not work, check you moms insurance for nursing care, my dad's was 90 days which did not seem like alot but was actually much longer than needed.  Is your mom sitting or walking?  I found one really honest oncologist that told me that the more dormant they are the quicker the disease progresses.  My dad had morphine because of pain in his back, his primary care doctor told him he would pass away in his sleep and he did painlessly.  Hope this is helpful.  If you have any more questions I will keep checking the board.  Debbie
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Hi Debbie-That is great info.  I met with the Hospice director at the hospital today.  They can only do up to 8 hrs. at the house...per day, and the only way we can get round the clock care is to hire private nurses.  I will tell you she is not the "active" kind, she can barely stand, and actually she tried to get up in the night and fell!!  I was so upset about this, and filed a complaint with the nurse manager at the hosp.  It is bad enough to have your parent dying , but to find out they fell, because they didn't want to bother the nurse, make me angry.  They have spoken about morphine, and she will be getting this once she comes home, for back pain, of which she is getting more and more, in the lung that has new activity.  We do not even know if it has gone elsewhere in her body, but they imagine it has.  I mean to look at her she looks ok, but I know her insides are being ravaged, it is sad, because she is kind of now in a lock down, with an alarm on the bed, that will sound if she tries to struggle to get up.  The demerol was causing hallucinations, and I think she even forgot she had her chest tube in, because when she fell, part of it slipped out, the surgeon had to come in and stitch it up!  I tell you, sometimes I do not know what is worse her dying or her living in hell, with tubes and wires and pain. I think you know what I mean.
They mentioned putting her in a nursing home, but I feel that is cruel, and like throwing someone away.  I don't know, I just know I can not go thru this alone-thanks for your concern and help.
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OK, listen, there are alot of good nursing homes, there are also "Nursing/rehab facilities".  If you know of a nurse, ask them if have any inside info on the best place for your mom.  

I know it sounds mean sending your mom to a nursing home, but, she will get round the clock care, they will give her all the medicine/pain killers, it SHOULD be covered under her insurance, they will allow hospice, and you will be able to rest at night and will therefore be better equipped to be with your mom during the day. If you take a step back and look at the situation, can you see how this might be better for your mom?  You can get the names of a few recommended and go visit or have a family member do that for you.  I did this and watched for how long it took an attendent to go to a patiesnt's room after their help light went on.

One more think, does Hospice not have a facility which you can put your mom in?  They are usually great facilities.

Do you have family around where you can each go for four hour shifts and cover the day that way?
Again, hope this helps, Debbie


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Ok.  Yes, we have gotten things "as best as we can" squared away for my mother's care, when released from the Hospital, she will come home.  We received a bed and oxygen from Hospice, and they will be finding an aid for the daytime, for approx. four hours a day-and if they can not find a 4 hr. aid then we will do 8 hr. Then, at night, we hired a "family care giver" this is for 12 hrs. from 8-8...that way someone should always be around.  I don't know how long she has, but the dr. took her oxygen off yesterday after pulling the tube, because her o2 saturation levels were high.  Which is a good thing, so she won't need the o2 when she gets home, unless she becomes real breathless, etc.
I really hate the idea of NOT KNOWING what is coming down the pike for her, like how it will all go, and how fast.  I just wish someone could tell me, ok-1st, your mom will...
then she will....and finally she will..... I just hate the uncertainty of it all-but cancer is like that, isn't it.  I am  a control freak, and have problems letting others take care of things.  I think that is why I hate this whole thing, because I WANT TO BE THERE, I WANT TO HELP HER, and I WANT TO EASE HER PASSING ANYWAY I CAN.  I am an extention of her, and feel I know what she would best want.
If the family care worker is very expensive, 17.00hr, (who is from a good agency which is insured and bonded, and drives her own car, and has good references ) doesn't work out for some reason, then I really think I will lose it, because then the nursing home will be the only alternative. A private LPN is difficult to find, and is even more costly per hr. I tell you, it is just ridiculous how hard this is and how you really have to look under every rock to get the information. But I will say, thank You for giving me much needed advice and helpful suggestions.
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I know what you mean about wanting to know how much time your mom has left, that is a very normal thing to want to know.  My dad's one oncologist who I felf was very smart and almost too blunt did give me a time frame when I really pressed him.  He said about 1 - 2 months, my dad passed away 2 weeks after that.  But you can see them weakening, my dad had more headaches and hiccups.  Also, his liver seemed to swell up, you could see his right side of his stomach swelling, 2 days before he died.  Just be with your mom as much as you can and be as patient as you can so you don't feel guilty after.  One thing, we were praying that God would send an angel to comfort my dad, 5 hours before he died he was drifting in and out of sleep and I was sitting beside him.  He wanted me to read him Romans chapter 4 which I was between his little rests.  During one knap he opened his eyes, turned his head to me and asked if I had my hand on his head.  I said no.  He closed his eyes and slowly said, "Someone had their hand on my forehead".  I do believe God had an angel their for my dad.  He passed away in his sleep.  Believe me, my heart goes out to you, it is so hard but keep loving your mom.  Do you have children?
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No, no children, yet.  I think maybe I will try soon.  My husband and I have been dealing with so much over the past 5 years.  First, 9-11, we were both there that day, and then my husbands Dad died one month before our wedding, and just one month after we visited him, for the 4th of July.  My husband lost his mom many years before, so now, it is like bang, bang, bang.  HIs father, my father, now my mother. I do feel a heavy weight is around me, and my pain is not lifting. I feel so helpless.  I have a fair amount of guilt already, from when I was her caregiver after her lung surgery.  We all thought she wasn't getting better, or getting out of bed, because she was just in her depression, but now I feel sooooo bad, because obviously, she was sick right along.  I so pushed her, and yelled at her, to get out of bed and enjoy her life, that she is one of the lucky ones whose cancer was caught.  Just get out of bed and do something and live your life.  She probably really wanted to, but just couldn't physically do it. I just spoke to her on the phone, and she just can hardly put a sentence together because she can not get alot of air.  I feel so bad for her, it is just tearing me up inside.  I broke down today, and just balled my eyes out, screaming into my pillow, GOD why ?  But I do realize there is a plan for us, and when it is your time to go you go.  I just hate dealing with the agony and the pain.  It is more than a human can bear.  Do you have kids Debbie?  Did they know their Grandfather?
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Yes, I have a 9 year old son Michael.  You know my mom died when I was 12 and I was so broken by her death... One of the verses I have in my bedroom are Jesus' words:

Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God,
believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many dwelling places:
if it were not so,
I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again,
and receive you unto myself:
that where I am,
there ye may be also.  John 14:1-3

Jesus said this right after telling his disciples Judus would betray him, the night the soldiers came and He allowed Himself to be handed over and crucified: I never could understand that He allowed Himself to be punished for men's sin (mine), that He took the punishment for sin so we could be excused of it.  If you read John chapter 14 you will see he told them what was going to happen ahead of time.  You know 11 of the 12 disciples died horrible deaths beacuse they would not deny that He rose.  When I learned that it made me think twice.  

Why am I telling you this?  When I accepted Him as my savior, asked Him into my heart, I tell you He healed my heart!  I do feel so bad for you because I have felt that hurt when my mom died then watched my dad as you are.  So I will say, try Jesus, ask Him to show you if He is God, if He's not it won't hurt you anyway.  But I can attest He healed my heart and will for you too.

I have to tell you, I was raised in a Catholic Church but wanted nothing to do with it because all I saw were rituals and hypocricy, though deep down I knew there was a God.  At 23 years old I prayed and asked God how I could know Him...well, my old boyfriend poped back into my life but he had a different sparkle - he had accepted Jesus as His savior, I know how you feel about Jesus, actually I felt the same way.  I wanted to hear but for the past 10 years wanted nothing to do with Jesus, my college roomate would debate with me regarding Him!  It is a long story but God led me to a good Church where they taught what the Bible said, and I ended up seeing my sin and asking Jesus into my heart.

Well, if you still want to write I will check the board, I will be praying for you.  I am sure if you tell your mom you are sorry she will quickly tell you she forgives you for she knows your heart was and is in the right place.  Debbie
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My Mother has non small cell lung cancer. She had a lung removed 3 years ago,and was cancer free. In December it came back in the other lung and she is at stage IV. She couldn't tolerate chemo, and has been on Tarceva for 3 months. It seems to be helping, but the side effects are a killer! Lately it seems as if she is deteriorating. She has a cat scan this week, so we'll see if there is any change.

She was never a positive person, but now she calls me to complain about every little thing constantly. I know it is terrible she is sick, and I have to be strong for her. I want to tell her to at least say something positive, but I can't.     I love my Mother..but it is so hard to cope.

Any suggestions?
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Yes, NSCLC is a *****, it is the worst cancer in that the lungs are your life line.  Breathing and life are synonomous.  I am sorry to hear you are in a similar situation.  My Mom had depression for months before her initial diagnosis, and then throughout, and now still, but she is so weak and sick and will not be complaining much longer, because she is approaching the end, sadly.  I will tell you like Debbie said...PATIENCE...it is key.  How on earth can you expect your Mom to have anything positive to say when stage IV is the end of the road?  I mean, you will never get "I am so happy to just be alive" out of a stage IV lung cancer patient.  My Mom is now in and out of "coherency" where the drugs have made her just out there.
Be patient and loving with your mom.  Is she alone?  Aren't you planning to be with her now?  The Tarceva is only to postpone the growth, but will never be a cure...so know that this is why your mom can not be UPBEAT or positive.  You can not know what they are going through.  




My Mother has non small cell lung cancer. She had a lung removed 3 years ago,and was cancer free. In December it came back in the other lung and she is at stage IV. She couldn't tolerate chemo, and has been on Tarceva for 3 months. It seems to be helping, but the side effects are a killer! Lately it seems as if she is deteriorating. She has a cat scan this week, so we'll see if there is any change.

She was never a positive person, but now she calls me to complain about every little thing constantly. I know it is terrible she is sick, and I have to be strong for her. I want to tell her to at least say something positive, but I can't. I love my Mother..but it is so hard to cope.

Any suggestions?
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Yes, NSCLC is a *****, it is the worst cancer in that the lungs are your life line. Breathing and life are synonomous. I am sorry to hear you are in a similar situation. My Mom had depression for months before her initial diagnosis, and then throughout, and now still, but she is so weak and sick and will not be complaining much longer, because she is approaching the end, sadly. I will tell you like Debbie said...PATIENCE...it is key. How on earth can you expect your Mom to have anything positive to say when stage IV is the end of the road? I mean, you will never get "I am so happy to just be alive" out of a stage IV lung cancer patient. My Mom is now in and out of "coherency" where the drugs have made her just out there.
Be patient and loving with your mom. Is she alone? Aren't you planning to be with her now? The Tarceva is only to postpone the growth, but will never be a cure...so know that this is why your mom can not be UPBEAT or positive. You can not know what they are going through.

(sorry about previous post-I copied and pasted your post too.)
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Thanks for your comments. My Mon doesn't live alone, she is with her husband, but he is much older and can only do so much. It is helpful that he is there, though. I know I can't expect her to be positive, but I wish she would have some sort of quality of life now, because it is only going to get worse. I guess we just have to take one day at a time and support her as much as possible.
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MUR:  If the side effects of Tarceva are really bothering your mom, ask her oncologist what the exact benefits are.  I hate to be so blunt, but ask how much more time this drug will afford her.  From all I read Stage IV is usuall a 6-8 month stage, ask specificall what they think.  I also see alot on the boards that if family was more aware of time lines and side effects (most are not because they don't have the time to reserch because they're thrown into this Stage...) they would not do the drugs due to the horrible side affects.  I also read alot about nutrition helping alot.... I was speaking with a hospice nurse yesterday who told me of this woman with state iv breast cancer, chemo didn't help, but she went to cancer free with nutrition, I haven't looked at the site yet but her story is on "healthquartersministry.com".  But really, from all we know now, stage iv is treated for palliative care, to keep the patient comfortable.  After my dad died, I wished I was a little more patient with his pain after I learned more about what he was going through; I think the more patient and giving you are to your mom the more you will not have to regret later.
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My Mom has been on Tarceva for 6 months already. I am trying to be as supportive as possible helping her in any way I can. I don't think she would be prepared to stop the Tarceva because that would be like "giving up", and she isn't prepared to do that yet. So, as all of you know, we take one day at a time and deal with things as they happen. I really wouldn't want the doctor to give her a time frame because that might bring her down even more. Even though the "unknown" is hard, the "known" might be harder.
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Yes facing the unknown is hard.  I don't know what your faith is but as you probably read both my father and I have come to believe that Jesus Christ was God, that he died on the cross for our sins and rose again to show that He conquered death, that by faith we accept this free gift.  I am simply holding this out to you, not trying to be forcefull in any way.

Maybe if you asked the time frame for yourself, not to share with your mom, it will help you to be more patient when times get difficult.  Also, hospice was a very good support system for both info and a partner going through this.  I am sorry you have to face this, one thing a lung doctor said to my dad after my dad asked him directly if he was dying has stuck in my mind, he said, "John, you are dying the day you are born."  That is so true when you think about it.  Sincerely, Debbie
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Good day All...  I want to say to you both that, these discussions are great.  It really is a comfort to me to know
you both have either been through it or are going through it.
I want to talk about patience...
Debbie has mentioned it a few times, and I now can see why.
I have been taking care of my mom days, from 8am-6pm daily.
I am the caregiver.  I do it all.  I am constantly asking
God to provide me with patience. I need to remember that my Mother did not ask to be this way, whatever is to be, is to be, and this is what fate came her way, why? I am not quite sure, but I think now the why's are not as important as the fact that what is, JUST IS.  I have been experiencing moments of "removal of self" so as to not be me, but more of an "outsider" a "good samaritan" if you will.  I try to forget about all the anger, fights, hate, distain, I have felt in the past toward my Mom for whatever reason.  I am trying to focus on all the great and wonderful times when love and happiness were all around us. How soon we forget!  We as women know that the relationship we have with our parents-especially our Mothers---is very complex.  So while I am changing her, or bathing her, or feeding her, I try to
remember that, those things really do not matter now.  I put all that aside to deal with the here and now.  I am challenged to NOT get emotional, but it is so monumental!  THIS IS MY MOTHER!!! I am so angry that this
is happening to her, and sometimes it is too much to bear. But I never blame GOD-I realize that there is a divine plan for all of us, and when it is I
put myself in a position to love her, and forget all about myself.  This is the only way to get through it.  Sadly, she
is asking me-"why am I not getting better?"  And that
"something is really wrong with me, huh?"  I tell her, do
not worry.  I am here for you, and should you decide that
you can not go on this way, God will be there to assist you.
I also tell her, not to worry because my Father will be
waiting for her when she is ready, as he just died himself, three months ago, suddenly.  We all take our parents for granted, I know I did.  That is why now patience is my
primary goal.  All I need is patience to make her less
scared and to feel good about the time when she does go,
so I won't have to spend my life saddened about how I
treated her.

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What you just said is so true.  You said you believe in God.  I can remember being in fromt of my house crying, my heart breaking coming to the point with God that "though you slay my father, still I'll trust you."  After I started reading the Bible I found it interesting that after God created man, Adam and Eve, the only thing He told them not to do was not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden for if they did they would surely die.  I think we all know we are sinners, they were and broke the one rule, to protect them, that God gave.  Interestingly, they did not physicall die, however their spirits would now be separated from God due to sin.  God then sacrificed an animal, and covered them, both spiritually and physically.  So we all face death, and if your mom does believe that Jesus died in her place, for her sins, I would encourage her to look to Him. He said; "in this world you will have trials and tribulation, but fear not, for I have overcome the world."  I know it's uncomfortable for you, but for your mom that hope is all that is before her right now, he died BUT He rose, he rose, he rose, and He loves your mom, He loves you.  Remember how he wept when Mary and Martha's brogher Lazerus died, He wept, because He loved them, He loves your mom more than you do, look to the cross, he died to reconcile us to Himself and He rose, He rose.
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She will believe that-but I do not-so I compromise.  I
believe that God is not a person but a FORCE an ENERGY,

I believe we go to the same place we were before
we were born.  We come from the cosmos, and so there
we shall return.  This provides much peace and comfort to
know we are all a part of the greater whole.
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My 77 year old mother has just been told she has nsclc.   She had a PET scan on Sat. to see if there is any more cancer anywhere.  We are trying to decide whether or not to treat -- we've discussed with oncologist and he is encouraging treatment -- but we are thinking of the quality of life not quantity.  She's weak but she is up and about --- and has just started pain meds last week.  I just want to discuss pros and cons for treatment with someone going through the same thing.
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Go to cancerforums.net they have a lung caner section, I am not a medic but Stage IV is cancer that has spread, not a lump that can be removed.  Ask your doctor how much time the treatment would allow your mom, press the point for an estimate, I do think they can give that.  Then ask the nurses on the cancer floor who they think the best cancer doctor is.  Then get a second opinion on what course your mom should asking the same questions.  Keep in mind the side effects of treatment balancing the benefits of the treatment. I'm sorry.
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Oh I how I wish they didn't find my mothers cancer when they did.  I just think she might have had another 10 years...I believe that finding the cancer, hastens your life, if not from the cancer itself, from the psychological and emotion trauma, it will be hastened by surgery, treatment etc.  Rarely have I heard of people living a long healthy life after nsclc.
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My Mother died on Monday-9-12-2005
She was really suffering, and I believe
God took her at the right time.  The not
knowing was the worst part.  I am glad
she is no longer in any pain, and at peace.
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I have a dear friend he has been diagnosed with lung cancer stage 4. I thought that the doctor would have him quit smoking he was dx last week. The doctor told him that most ppl he would tell to quit. He told him not to bother. He is only going to treat him with radiation. Doe's this mean he does not have much time left? I am so sad for him.
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A related discussion, Stage II lung cancer life expectancy? was started.
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