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My 92 year old Mom was diagnosed with dementia last summer. She has hallucinations and sometimes manic behavior. Her pulmonologist has been monitoring a spot on her lung (she has COPD/emphysema and is on 24/7 oxygen) and after the last CT scan he is sure it is cancer. He said it is slow growing but could spread at any time. He said they didn't have to do a biopsy but if she wanted to pursue treatment, he could refer her to a radiation oncologist for possible cyberknife treatment. Mom said in the past that she didn't want any treatment if it was cancer but seems to have changed her mind now.


Has anyone's loved one gone through cyberknife? The doctor said it should only take 3-4 treatments and the cure rate is 75%. He said they wouldn't have to do a biopsy to treat.


This is so hard.

Because lung cancer is such a painful way to die and because cyberknife is endorsed as a painless and non-invasive procedure, I would at least make an appointment with the cyberknife doctor for a consultation. You can ask exactly what the procedure would entail and what complications your mother might experience before reaching a decision.

Because all the body's blood travels through the lungs, lung cancer can spread anywhere including the brain and spine (where it can be very painful). Sounds like the doctor has caught this spot before it has advanced and my reading on cyberknife indicates it is very effective. Since the doctor indicates your mother's tumor is slow growing, even if cyberknife didn't completely cure the cancer it could still provide your mother some pain free years.
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clb2930 May 3, 2019
Thank you. I agree and have contacted the doctor about ordering the PET scan. If the cancer has spread, there wouldn't be any treatment options.
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I had never heard of the cyber knife before, it sounds so simple and amazing! But. I know that there can be side effects to normal radiation. An no doubt she would need to be sedated in order to remain calm and quiet during the procedure. I think I would try to pin the doctor down on a comparison of her prognosis with and without the radiation, if her life expectancy and/or quality of life wouldn't be significantly altered then there is no real benefit.
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TaylorUK May 3, 2019
Have to agree, considering mother has dementia and is therefore less likely to be able to make a rational decision at any time, and has expressed in the past no treatment, I would have to go with that and pain relief if necessary.
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