Treatment for Stage IIIA Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
My 69-year-old mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with Stage IIIA (T3N1) non-small cell lung cancer. She also has emphysema with low lung volume but very good lung function. She is going to undergo 3-4 weeks of chemo (taxol and carboplatin once a week) plus daily radiation therapy treatments. The thoracic surgeon will then perform surgery. She has undergone a lung biopsy with CT scan, MRI of the chest, abdomen, and brain, a PET scan, mediastinoscopy, and bronchoscopy. The surgeon is a thoracic surgeon with a specialty in lung cancer. My questions are (1) is the above treatment considered appropriate, (2) is a second opinion necessary, (3) how do we determine if the surgeon is good, and (4) will the emphysema cause substantial problems in her recovery? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.