Stage 3 Lung Cancer

Updated on November 19, 2010
K.E. asks from Kent, WA
14 answers

Hi ladies,

My mother was just diagnosed with lung cancer. It is stage 3, and from all the scans and whatnot, they have determined that it is only in her lung. It has not spread to any other parts of her body, thank goodness. She will be starting chemo and radiation just after thanksgiving. Her oncologist said that she will have to do this 5 days a week, for 5 weeks. He said he expects full remission, but from the research I've been doing, I don't know if that is really a probability. I'm a realist, and I worry that this news may cause my mom to have false hope of recovery. I just feel like my head is spinning, and I don't know what to do. She is long distance, and the plan was for her to come here and stay with us, so my hubby and I could take care of her through the chemotherapy process, but another family member is going to be the caregiver for awhile. I really wanted to be the one to take care of my mom. I felt like we could really use the time to repair our relationship, especially if she might not be here too much longer. We had a falling out in the spring, and I cut contact with her for awhile. I started talking to her again in September, and I'm glad that I did, because I would have hated for cancer to be the reason that I started talking to her again. I just want to hear from people who have experience with cancer, chemo, radiation, all of it. I want to know what happened in your experiences. The more details, the better. I just feel like I'm stumbling around, blindly. I don't know anything right now, and I'm very scared. I love my mom. sorry I'm rambling. I just haven't talked to anyone, and I feel like I have so many questions. I would love to hear from anyone. Thanks, ladies.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

I don't know much about cancer and chemo, but I lost my dad suddenly when I was 17. He was an alcoholic until I was 15.

All I can tell you is to spend as much time with her as you can. Get her to tell you stories about her growing up and you as a child. Tell her that you love her every day. Laugh and cry with her every day. Even when she gets better.

My heart goes out to you.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

In October 2002 when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer she was stage II. They removed the lung and she went through chemo and radiation. She died in December 2003 because, although they thought it was gone it eventually spread elsewhere.

Yes, keep a positive attitude but absolutely start working RIGHT NOW on repairing your relationship, spending time with her, and making good memories. Lung cancer is one of the most devastating cancers out there.

Feel free to PM me with questions or for support. I spent a lot of time taking care of my mom and was literally there for the moment when she drew her last breath at Hospice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Yakima on

Hi K. - first let me tell you that you are not alone in your journey! What you are feeling is very normal and all part of the process. I am a volunteer for the American Cancer Society and both of my parents have had cancer. My mother battled and won - yeah!! My father fought for 4 long years before we lost him and now we fight the battle for him. 3 years ago I lost my best friend to cancer after being her caregiver for 18 months. So to say I can honestly say I understand your pain and bewilderment right now. The American Cancer Societie's hotline (1-800-ACS-2345) will put you in touch with a live councelor 365 days a year 24 hour a day. Their website ( also has fabulous live chat options as well as support groups and all the information you could possibly want. The 1-800 number will also give you infomation of any sort you are looking for in addition to just someone to talk to. I can't tell you how many time I have used the number and web site. I urge you to do the same. The best part - IT"S FREE! :)
Best of luck to you and your mom. Remember this is just the begining of a winding journey. Remember to breath and enjoy each moment as they come - even the hard ones as they make you stronger. Hugs to you both.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sorry to hear about that. My grandfather had lung cancer about 12 years ago. He was treated for it and he was in remission but it did come back I think a year later or they didn't get all of it and unfortunately it was too advanced and he passed away about 6 months after that. But my sister's MIL also had it 4 years ago and seems to be doing fine these days so I'm sure there is hope. I would also research on foods that fight cancer I know there are a lot of books about it and I'm sure medicine has advanced since when my grandfather had it. My mom took care of him til the end and was actually with him as he passed away. It was very sad we were close to him but just pray and have hope.
I agree with Tracy if you really want to be the caregiver try and do that and spend quality time together. I'm sure it is exhausting but it will be worthwhile. Thoughts and prayers with you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Is it false hope or trying to get her to have a positive outlook and that too can help recovery. Our attitude in fighting things off can often turn the table for us.

Be positive for her, you don't want to be negative and have her dwell on the negative and be even more miserable. That's no way to live, whether she fights it off or not.



answers from Chicago on

I totally agree with Julie. No matter what the situation is, you MUST have hope, and you must let your mom have hope too. Cancer is one of those things that is so individual, and the treatments depend on the individual as well. Some work wonderfully, others are different. Even the doctors don't know how a certain patient's body will respond.

A positive attitude is one thing that has been proven to help fight diseases. I know you're scared and your mom is scared too.

Do a little research on cancer diets. The doctors will do their thing, but I have heard many stories on how the right diet can aid the treatments the doctors are doing. Look up the Budwig Diet specifically. Sometimes a whole-body treatment is best.

God bless.



answers from Atlanta on

Hope is where it's at! She needs to have it and so do you. Every cancer patient is different, but keeping hope alive and a healthy dose of humor will get her a long way. I'm sorry for this news in your life, but hope is really all there is- don't cheat either of you out of it.


answers from Eugene on

Go to Nextcura online register for lung cancer and they will send you al the information on lung cancer treatment.

Do not be discouraged more and more people are surviving lung cancer. Do not be discouraged. The other site I really like is Mayo Clinic.

When my Dad had cancer I really didn't think he'd survive. He had Duke C fully metasticized. Sloan-Kettering said he had the worst case they had ever seen. He dropped weight like crazy which was terrible in a thin man.
And get this...the man continued to smoke.

Still it was in The Holy One's hands. My father got another 12 years which was long enough to dance at my daughter's wedding and see several grandchildren graduate from college. He accompanied me to book signings as I wrote successful books once he was in remission.

Just love your mother and continue living your life. She might still be here for a long long time.



answers from Seattle on

Hi K.: First, I am so sorry to hear about your mom's is a horrible thing to hear. I cannot stress enough the benefits of keeping a positive attitude!! As other posters have said, cancer & its treatment are such personal things & no one can fully predict how one will react to treatment. It doesn't hurt anything or anyone to think positively!! A few things that might help you to keep the faith: I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer at age son was just 9 months old. It was a devastating diagnosis, but I just decided that I was going to be fine..there was no other option...I had to be there for my son!! I had a double mastectomy with 3 rounds of chemo, followed by radiation. I am now 5 years out from my diagnosis & miraculously 8 months pregnant with our 2nd child!!! My best friend was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer..she is 41. She has been through a lot already & is going through chemo now....she is staying positive & her prognosis is good! My aunt was diagnosed about 5 years ago with stage 4 lung cancer....she went through treatment & is doing fantastic!! I truly believe that being realistic, but proactive can really help with a cancer patient's diagnosis. Acupuncture has been shown to lessen the effects of chemo & there are many natural & dietary things you can try. I think it is so wonderful that you are there for your mom...that will be so very important to her!! Good luck with everything & please keep us posted as to how your mom is holding up! Take care.




answers from Philadelphia on

If you really want to have her live with you, i would try to do that. I know that there is hope but i am also thinking reality. We lost my father in law to lung cancer last year. We were fortunate to have my mother in law and her 7 children to take care of him. Please do not think i am telling you to give up hope. I would never do that. Thinking positive is the best thing you can do. All i am saying is, if it is an option and you want to, move her in. Enjoy the time with her. You can bond and have a blast together. These could be memories you can have forever.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi K., sorry to hear about your mom, my prayers are with your family. A friend of the family was diagnosed earlier this year with the same and we were all afraid of the worst. She's been through chemo and radiation and she lost all her hair and her skin color changed completely, but she's been looking better, and getting stronger. Her hair is also growing back. Some days are not as good as others but she's able to get out and get back to church, etc.

On another note, several years ago, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was her primary caregiver with help from my siblings. It was hard work but I was glad I was there for her. It was trying and exhausting and scary, and empowering, and freeing and frustrating and painful. At some point I came down with a case of vertigo, probably more from stress than anything else. But I remember one day telling my mom that I was sorry I couldn't do more to help her and she said, "You've already done so much more than I could imagine." It still makes me teary today.

Educate yourself about beneficial foods and about her meds, and all that. Do everything that you can do to help make it easier for her and for whomever's the primary caregiver. Enjoy every day you have with her, and take care of yourselves.

All the best.



answers from New York on

I don't know that much about cancer but I imagine that depends a lot on the type and stage. My grandmother has been fighting cancer for over 5 years and is now 90 (she had 2 surgeries but is doing okay now). She was in remission for a few years and it was caught at an early stage. I know of another person who spent 11 years fighting cancer before she died (in her 60's I think). I can also think of people who had more aggressive or advanced cases and it went faster.

For your own peace of mind I would make plans to spend some time with her as soon as you can manage. Can you take several days or a week to go see her (by yourself)? If things go well I doubt you will regret spending the extra time.



answers from Portland on

Did you get the information about her cancer straight from the doctor or from someone else? The diagnosis and prognosis don't seem to match up. Usually stage 3 means that it isn't contained to the organ but has invaded the tissue. Has she had surgery to remove the lung or just a biopsy? Also, remission is possible but remission is not a cure, it is a "time out" from cancer. Definately need to ask what type of lung cancer, specific chemo type, etc. The radiation will be 5X a week for 5 weeks but chemo can be months, going a couple times a month for an infusion. They also sometimes do prophylactic brain radiation after chemo/radiation is complete to prevent brain mets. Many people can live happily and healthily while on radiation and chemo - they will experience fatigue, possible nausea, etc but they have many drugs that can help with that.

I hope that wasn't too blunt but I wanted to give as much information as possible. Spend time with your mom but if others are close enough to offer care, allow them to. She is in for a long haul to get through treatment and will need all of you to support her. Caregivers can easily tire of providing care and it will be great if you all can work together to support each other so you don't fatigue yourselves.

When patients get the diagnosis and treatment information, they usually only retain about 30% of the information because of the shock they are in and because the terminology is foreign. Make sure at least 1-2 people go with her to visits, take notes, ask questions, even record the visit if needed.



answers from Denver on

My MIL had lung cancer years ago and it is my understanding that in some ways the drugs are better now and in other ways they are much the same. I would make sure you have a clear understanding of which specific type of lung cancer she has (small cell etc) because that can actually make a huge difference in what the prognosis is. Also be aware that some cancer treaments do have long term effects so I would make yourself familiar with what those effects might be so you know what may be on the horizon. Good luck and know that others have been where you are

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions