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cancer in spinal fluid (Page 1)

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My mother n law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 since then she has newly been diagnosed with bone cancer (spine) last June now after just finishing up treatment for that come to find out the cancer has spread to her spinal fluid. She does not have any tumors so far but they are doing a procedure where they can administer her chemo drugs right into her spinal fluid surrounding her brain? Anyone familiar with this? Anyone had any positive results with this type of chemo? They are telling her she has 6 months but I'm not sure if they mean with treatment or w/out.
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First Helper gracedays
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replied April 29th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
This is known as intrathecal chemotherapy, when injections of drugs are given into the spinal tap to destroy any cancer cells that may penetrate the spinal column (anticancer drugs are injected into the fluid-filled space between the thin layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord). The injection is painful and the chemotherapy drug can cause a burning sensation as it is injected.

Does she experience any kind of back pain?
Does she has abnormal sensations or loss of sensation, particularly in the legs?
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replied April 29th, 2008
She does have pain in her spine due to some compression fractures from the bone cancer. Her legs do give out sometimes and she has fallen several times. She had a spinal tap yesterday for some testing and yes she said it was painful.
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replied May 7th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Metastatic tumors of the spine (those that have spread to the spine from another site) often progress quickly, while primary tumors often progress slowly over weeks to years.
Back pain in any area, that is worse when lying down, worse with strain, cough, sneeze, that may extend to the hip, leg, or feet (or arms) is a symptom of spinal cancer.
Abnormal sensations, like numbness and tingling, particularly in the legs, that may be progressive is another symptom of affected spinal cord with metastatic process.
Muscle weakness, particularly in the legs, that makes walking difficult and even causes falls, is also due to the cancer.

So, I guess your mother in law has secondary cancer of the spinal cord that is usually very progressive.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied July 18th, 2009
Spinal Cancer
My mom has been going through the same things. It looks like over a year now since your mother in law started her treatments. Did they work?
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replied December 22nd, 2009
Hi, My mom just past away December 5th, 2009 from her breast cancer spreading to her spinal fluid. the crazy thing was, she had stage 4 breast cancer that spread to her liver and lymph nodes and the chemo helped her cancer go down more than 50%! She was tolerating it fine until her oncologist put her on the new chemo for her liver, called Avastin, this caused her to yell in pain because her head hurt so bad! we went to the emergency room twice and the doctors said the scans were clear, finally they did an MRI the 3rd time and saw that there was a stroke. She lost her speech and personality, this seemed like it would be ok, we can give her rehab, then they finally decided to do a spinal tap on her stay at the hospital and they discovered the cancer had spread to her spinal fluid! At this point the doctors said there was nothing they could do because she was already not talking to anyone and then she stopped responding. I am really upset with the doctors for not finding the stroke the first time I brought her in the hospital!!! I am 23 yrs old and i am the oldest and she was all i had, and i helped fight that cancer so hard and i was so confused on what to ask next to do, and everything happened sooo fast and the doctors would be really slow on giving the results of the tests and now I am just soooo pist and heart broken! What do I do now, I lost my mom because Doctors were too slow, Doctors couldnt discover the stroke in time, even when I brought her to the ER 3 times!!! It makes no damn sense. I apologize I am just venting on here.
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replied January 25th, 2010
Hi smomin6:

First let me say how sorry I am for your loss. My mom passed away when I was 21 under very similar circumstances to your mom. She had developed breast cancer at age 52 and had a mastectomy. Again at age 54 and had her second mastectomy. She was almost at her 5 year "survival" point, when she started experiencing a lot of neurological problems. Long story short, by the time her cancer was discovered (in her spinal fluid), the doctors told us she had 4 weeks to live. Seven months and her oncologists couldn't find anything...we took her to another oncologist who found her cancer in two weeks. It was still too late.

My heart aches for you...23 is too young to be without a mom I know. I am praying for you and your family.
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replied June 4th, 2010
Reading your posts finally answers an unsolved mystery. My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (nonsmoker) 2 years ago. He was responding well to chemo and received a treatment from cyberknife which shrunk his tumors considerably. The problem was he experienced unexplainable neuropathy in his hands and feet which eventually moved up to his knees. Within a week he went from walking independently, to a walker, and then to a wheelchair. He lost control of his bowels and had trouble urinating too. Next, he started to hallucinate and see things that were not there. His doctors did several MRIs of the brain with nothing showing up. No one ever mentioned cancer of the spinal fluid. It sounds like this is exactly what happened which no one could explain.
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replied September 3rd, 2010
Mom's Lung Cancer Reaches Spinal Fluid. What now?
My mom is in a similar situation. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer two years ago. Small tumor in her right lung, but it had traveled to her brain. We had a number of side effects, but her last report (bone scan, MRI, etc.) all showed the tumor was shrinking and the cancer had not spread.

About a month ago she told me she was having headaches. Her Oncologist said it was tension. Then, two weeks ago she fell and broke her wrist and pelvis. While recovering at home my dad noticed she was sleeping almost all day and did not say much when rarely awake. He assumed perhaps her fall had caused her to need rest (the CT scan showed no brain damage)

She then slurred her words and the family doctor said she must be on too many pain meds so we backed off. No improvement. Then, they tested her and found a UTI and said it was the cause of her symtoms but she did not improve in a few days so I insisted she be rushed to the ER. She looked horrid.

Well, today, after a week or testings that all came back clean, we learned the cancer has moved to her spinal fluid. We were just celebrating the last good report. We are shocked, scared and saddened.

They had already injected chemo into her spinal fluid and are moving her to a larger hospital with large cancer center. We felt she only had a week or two, now above it sounds better. Gosh, I wish I knew how long we had. I know everyone is different.
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replied November 5th, 2010
My mom has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that recently spread to her spinal fluid...I'm shocked, scared, and angry. I'm not ready for my mom to leave me, I'm 27 years old, but the more I think about it...it wouldn't matter how old I was...I would never be ready be ready for her to go. I just don't know what to expect, or where to go from here...I guess this news just has to sink in...
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replied October 4th, 2012
I know you wrote this two years ago but I am in this same place. I'm 25 and my Mom is my life, we're best friends. She had breast cancer was cleared cancer free for ten years then all of a sudden this past few months the cancer is now in her bones. All of a sudden two days ago she fell down, her legs just gave it out. She then began walking hunch over and could not stand up straight. We thought she hurt something falling, so she goes to her oncologist this am who says it seems like something in her brain. He ordered an MRI which came out ok and then said maybe it's spread to her spinal fluid. Well he set up an appt for a spinal tap tomorrow am she came home and suddenly out of nowhere experiences what I would call delerium. She did not recognize me, and thought my niece was sitting next to me where no one was sitting. We finallygot together, my brother aunt an i, and called her oncologist who said to take her to er. We let her know and she flipped. It was not my mom. Her eyes were pure ev il. I was called a b word told to get out of the house, and my mom is the sweetest person in the world but that was not her. My dad convinced her to go to the er where she is now. Theyre admitting her but thats all we know. Her hands are shaking too and shes incoherent. Im scared to death because I dont know whats going on. Im not ready to lose her, especially this suddenly.
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replied November 18th, 2010
I am 14, and my mom has breast cancer that has recently spread into her spinal fluid. She has had breast cancer for almost a year now and it previously spread into her lympnodes, and ovaries. She had a full masectomy and hystorectomy and her lymphnodes are clean. She was in recovery for a few months, but she started having seizures and the doctors realized she had cancerous brain tumors. After about 6 weeks she developed bacterial meningitis and cancer cells were found in her spinal fluid after she recieved a spinal tap. The doctors believe the cancer cells had spread into her brain and spinal fluid since the beginning of her diagnosis, but they never found them until now. She responded to chemo and radiation EXTREMELY well before, but now the doctors are telling us she has a maximum of 9 weeks to live. she is continueing doing chemotherapy once a week and radiation on her lower spine. The doctors arent answering any of my questions.. but if she responded so good to chemo and radiation on her lymphnodes, ovaries, and breast's.. shouldnt she respond well to this chemo and radiation??
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replied November 29th, 2010
Cancer cells in the Brain and spinal fluid Outcomes
Hi! My husband was diagnosised with stage 4 cancer of the stomach, which had spread to the liver. He started chemo and after 3 rounds of the chemo they said that the cancer had shrunk by about 50%. We were really happy about that news!!! the doctor wanted to do 3 more treatments of the chemo and we agreed. After the 4 treatment, my husband started to complain of headaches. They did 2 CAT scan and 2 MRI all came back clear. but the headaches persist. They actually got worse. They got so bad that we rushed him to the ER. they did another CAT scan which came back clear again. and said maybe he had meningitis based on the symptoms he explained. Well in order to diagnose the meningitis they must do a spinal tap. The results of the spinal tap showed he had cancer cells in the brain and spinal fluid. So now he has to recieve chemo directly to that area. Im so confused and afraid by this all. Does anyone know of any positive outcomes of this type of cancer?
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replied February 24th, 2011
Long story short: My husband has leptomeningeal (cancer in the layers of tissues that surround the brain as a result of cerebral/spinal fluid cancer. His doctor was suspicious of the condition for quite awhile before it was diagnosed due to his symptoms: nausea and headache daily for several months even though he had completed chemo for lung cancer. The doctor had brain MRIs performed a couple of times that were clear, then finally "enhancement" showed where the cs fluid flows--with his others symptoms, this MRI was enough to start chemo while waiting for the results of the spinal tap. He had an ommaya reservoir placed in his brain--it's a type of port surgically placed under the skin on the head. A dime sized piece of skull is removed. The port has a "tail" that goes down into the brain's ventricle where there is more fluid in which the chemo can be placed. The first couple of spinal taps showed no cancer in the fluid. That is common. He had a second tap that also showed no cancer in the fluid. It finally showed in the fluid they removed from the ommaya reservoir before his third chemo treatment. Since them, he has had whole brain radiation to relieve the pain. The radiation worked well and he does not have pain. Without treatment cancer in the cs fluid takes a person's life quickly. It is HARD to get a definitive diagnosis.This type of cancer is very difficult to treat.While is a not suffering from pain he is far from normal.Very weak and often confused. I am grateful that he is not suffering!!! There seems to be a lot of us whose loved one has this awful disease. May God be our comfort.
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replied April 11th, 2011
Reply
How is your husband? My family too has been affected by this awful disease and I am praying for a treatment/cure that will allow the person affected to live a much longer life. I hope this finds your family well.
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replied February 24th, 2011
Has someone else had cancer of the cerebral spinal fluid and rad
Long story short: My husband has leptomeningeal (cancer in the layers of tissues that surround the brain as a result of cerebral/spinal fluid cancer. His doctor was suspicious of the condition for quite awhile before it was diagnosed due to his symptoms: nausea and headache daily for several months even though he had completed chemo for lung cancer. The doctor had brain MRIs performed a couple of times that were clear, then finally "enhancement" showed where the cs fluid flows--with his others symptoms, this MRI was enough to start chemo while waiting for the results of the spinal tap. He had an ommaya reservoir placed in his brain--it's a type of port surgically placed under the skin on the head. A dime sized piece of skull is removed. The port has a "tail" that goes down into the brain's ventricle where there is more fluid in which the chemo can be placed. The first couple of spinal taps showed no cancer in the fluid. That is common. He had a second tap that also showed no cancer in the fluid. It finally showed in the fluid they removed from the ommaya reservoir before his third chemo treatment. Since them, he has had whole brain radiation to relieve the pain. The radiation worked well and he does not have pain. Without treatment cancer in the cs fluid takes a person's life quickly. It is HARD to get a definitive diagnosis.This type of cancer is very difficult to treat.While is a not suffering from pain he is far from normal.Very weak and often confused. I am grateful that he is not suffering!!! There seems to be a lot of us whose loved one has this awful disease. May God be our comfort.
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replied December 13th, 2011
I am following up to my post of September 3rd, 2010. Sadly, we lost my mother on December 9th of that year after a roller coaster ride that left all our heads spinning. My mom continued to receive chemo through her port for the lung cancer we THOUGHT we had under control while we began delivering a second chemo through a shunt they had put in her head. Somehow, her spirits remained in check and the doctors felt they could shut down the cancer in the spinal fluid or at least had a shot at it.

This went on for weeks. We would have her in rehab with the goal of getting her home if the treatment was successful. Then, she would get a shunt infection and end up back in the hospital to clear it up and then back to rehab. Finally, in November the doctors discovered her spinal fluid was clear and because of infection decided to remove the shunt. We were thrilled but little did we know how wrong things could go.

Within a week of this upbeat report things went terribly wrong. She returned to rehab and became very lethargic suddenly. We rushed her back to her main cancer center/hospital where they could not find a cranial pressure or other issue.. but an MRI revealed growing tumors in her brain no one had mentioned to us before. I spoke to my mother in the ICU the Saturday after Thanksgiving and she was sharp as a tack, upbeat and ready to head back to rehab. Then, on Monday after breakfast she told her nurse she was a bit sleepy and never again woke up. She slipped into what appeared to be a coma her doctors discovered that her "brain was surrounded by cancer cells" and in a meeting told us there was nothing more to be done. She was made comfortable (remained totally out except for twice opening her eyes for seconds) and a week later passed. While I was very aware of how serious the cancer in her spinal fluid was... I will never grasp how we went from good news to hospice in the space of 7 days. A year later I have about a dozen unanswered questions that in the blur of making her comfortable and being in shock I never got to ask.
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replied December 20th, 2011
I am so sorry about the loss of your mother....My little sister has stage 4 breast cancer, which has spread to her lungs and brain...she did radiation to the brain and is recieving chemo every month right now...She just had the port put into her brain last week and she got so much better the next day...but that didnt last long...she is back to being confused and not able to walk. Today we got the news that she does have cancer of the spinal fluid also...i just do not know what to do anymore...she had fought so hard...I wish she could go home for christmas...this is the most unfair and uncaring desease....We lost our mother to glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer in 1998....I HATE CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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replied February 29th, 2012
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 44 years old in 2004 my little sister at the time was 7 and had jumped up on her lap and elbowed her breast on accident so after a few weeks of the pain still being there she went in to have it checked out and that was how they found it the first time and she did intense chemo and radiation with lumpectomy and was considered cancer free and we were very excited and thought the nightmare was over but in 2008 she found a lump under her arm and immediately went to have it checked out and they found a new breast cancer different than the previous so she had been cured but now with a new breast cancer they decided she would be safest to go with a double masectomy and more intense chemo and radiation which she responded well to again minus the side effects of the chemo they said she was healthy again and with monthly blood work they would moniter to make sure another cancer didn't come up again so this past August 2011 she was having severe back pain and had been to see her primary care doctor and also been to the ER for the pain and they said it was muscle spasms and it should be better in a few weeks well it didn't get better and finally one night she was walking down the hallway in her home and her legs just gave out and she fell down and could not get up so my sister 14 at the time called 911 and I met them in the ER where they did all kinds of testing and said she looked fine aside from the pain and acted like she was a drug seeker and she was lying or something and kicked us out and said sorry nothing we can do unless we have proof so we took her home and had to carry her in the car and into the house while in excruciating pain and the next night called 911 because she would rather be dead than in that pain anymore and the EMTs good her if they kicked her out of the ER and didn't find anything to just stay home and take extra pain meds then the next morning my moms oncologist called and said he seen she was in the ER and he had reviewed some of the testing and seen a few tumors and to come in right away for an MRI and pet scan where they found breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones, liver and a few other places including lymph nodes throughout her body and so they said she would probably have cancer for the rest of her life and they found a fracture in her spine! I threw a fit and said after all these months of pain it room this long to find this out!! So they started her on hormone therapy and found it wasn't working through blood work and a pet scan and decided to do some lightweight chemo that would slow down the progression and put her on some stronger longer acting pain meds that finally gave her enough relief to function and then some chemo to her spine so the bone could heal but it rebroke about a month later and she is now hospitalized with the flu and low platelet count and liver malfunction they gave her a platelet transfusion because after a month of no chemo and labs still not improving so today we are awaiting the results of a spinal tap and at 30 years old knowing my mom is slipping away from my 15 year old sister and I is excruciating and hard to include all the details of what we have been through over the past 7 months would be impossible I was thinking I could have been journaling because it doesn't feel real its hard to tell if the time passed has been too fast or long and grueling Sad but by faith in god we get through each day and just pray for the next.....I always tell people to be more than proactive with thier health the sooner the better with cancer especially I could go on and on about this experience and how doctors and hospitals could improve I'm sure most people already know thats why I share out story because it helps to hear what others have been through and to know what kind of signs to watch out for and always request second opinions and screenings it could mean your life and I pray for everyone else that is going through this and I'm very happy for the people who win the battle but those that are losing or have lost the battle with cancer we still have to go on and make the best of each day <3 I'm hoping you can pray this spinal tap does not show any cancer cells and we can keep our mom a little longer.....it would be nice for a doctor to give us atleast a guess of how long we will have her but nobody can helps us Sad
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replied March 3rd, 2012
Cancer in Spinal Fluid
Sounds like everyone is having experiences similiar to mine. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago, had a masectomy and went through chemo and radiation. Two years ago we found out it metastized to her spine. She got back on treatment and was functioning normally(well normal for my mom haha)until last October(2011) she suddenly had tingling in her legs and said she felt "wobbly" when walking. Within a week she went from a cane to a walker and then to a wheelchair. Apparently it had gone into her spinal fluid and traveled up in the fluid around the brain. The doctor gave her six monthis to live and said it was only a matter of time before it actually went into her brain. They said even if its in the spinal fluid and they keep it below the neck theres a chance but once it travels above the neck then the odds drop considerably. In the meantime she did radiation for three weeks, which didn't do anything at all. After a few weeks she needed help transferring from wheelchair to bed etc. a month after that none of us could transfer her anymore because she was dead weight. We then called in hospice, who where wonderful. On January 30 she passed away. Worst day of my life, I'm crying as I type this, my mom was only 57 and I am only 31. Even worse then her passing away I think is seeing her detoriate so fast. No one should have to see their mother in that condition, it was like watching her slowly turn back into a child. I loved taking her of her don't get me wrong but every week you could see it getting worse and worse, she was talking less and less, she moved less and less, eventually we had to feed her because she couldnt hold a fork and so on. Six months ago she was up, walking around, the funniest, most positive person and know she is gone. Someone said before me it doesnt even feel real and thats the truth. If anyone has any questions on what to expect I would be happy to answer them the best I can. This is a horrible thing to go through but you'd be surprised what you can handle when your actually in a certain situation.
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replied March 10th, 2012
Recent Dignosis
Hello and God bless... I have been diagnosed with AMML that has been discovered in my spinal fluid. I have a ammoyra reservoir put in today and will begin chemo therapy for the spine/brain as well as continuing chemo induction. A tumor had also been found in my nasal lymph nodes which also had cancer cells and has since been removed. I have been told that "without" treatment I had 3-6 months. I am finding it very hard to get an answer of my longevity and quality of life "with" treatment. Anyone here can give me a clue. If it is bad I need to prepare and make decisions as to further treatment as with bone marrow transplant. I do want my family devastated financially by my cancer. Any thoughts???
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replied March 28th, 2012
Different ways to treat cerebrospinal fluid metastasis.
My mom is in the same situation, it's been 1 year and 7 months since she was diagnose. Her doctors doesn't want to do as much as they can because they think is terminal cancer, but we took her to an alternative med clinic in Tijuana, which combine both types of treatment (chemo and alternative), she's responding well and she's taking chemo through pills.
What I found (and I don't really know is 100% true) is that in the USA the only way to treat cerebrospinal fluid metastasis is with intrathecal chemotherapy which is not a successful treatment. Since this is a pretty hard type of cancer to treat because there's no way to cross the spinal cord other than chemo (for USA doctors), there're many medications to treat that type of metastasis but the FDA hasn't certified those.
We talk to other doctors in mexico and there're other types of treatments and medications that cross the spinal cord and goes far to the spinal fluid. Those medications are certified in Latin America an Europe and we have had met and heard about many people who had same problem and they survived.
We are trying everything to save my mom's life and we are very thankful because we have options and there's a hope.
I just wanted to share this because I'm sure many people will read this blog and will need this information.
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replied April 15th, 2012
brain/spinal fluid cancer
to shidahabod,
What are those alternative treatments that you found other countries using on your family member??
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replied April 27th, 2012
Worst disease ever
My prayers out to all! My mom has stage 4 lung cancer that moved to her brain. Recently we found out that it has now moved to her spine. Through this battle I have learned that chemo does not go to the brain. So if you have cancer in any part of your body and have chemo it will look for a safe place to grow (brain). This is what causes brain metastasis. My mom refused to have chemo but has had radiation to both her brain and lung. She no longer has any Tumors on the brain and the tumor on the lung seems to be shrinking. The doctors are now talking about radiation to her spine. Just wondering if Anyone knows if the cancer goes straight to the spinal fluid? Or does it start in the bone first? Also she was rushed into er last week and they told her she has a blood clot in her lung. She is now on blood thinners , could the blood thinners cause the cancer to spread faster? 4 days ago get back hurt. Today she can hardly walk. I'm so scared and worried it hurts to see her in such pain. If anyone has answers please share
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replied May 3rd, 2012
metasises to eevrywhere from BCancer
Hi lovemymomma. That's a great name! Blood thinners make cancer grow slower if any difference at all. Clots form from sticky platelets. Cancer can cause platelets to stick together and build nice little nests for cancer to grow protected. So, when I had a blood clot in 2009, I was thankful to be put on blood thinners and will remain on forever. I am so sorry for her pain. Please make sure her oncologist knows the pain levels she feels.He will have to relieve her pain! That is the one thing they can do well. Cancer patients deserve to be pain free. I am. I have breast cancer in my brain also, and bones, lungs, and liver. Docs are planning now to radiated the brain tumor again after it was done 15 months ago. The cancer doesn't go straight to the spinal fluid. If it ios there she will probably have menengitis like symptoms. Hugs and gentle wishes.
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replied February 27th, 2013
My husband 53 years of age was diagnosed with lung cancer ( non smoker) Oct 2012. Spread to pancreas and bone and a spot on his liver. Tomorrow spinal tap because of severe headaches daily for the last 6 weeks. ( feb 28 2013 ) Two MRI's later they have showed nothing. Nervous about spinal tap results. He's in such pain from day to day, it's painful for me his wife his care keeper. He's had 5 chemo treatments with some shrinkage. Just waiting for the next curve ball. Thanks
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