You Have 2 Cancers?

As you know, I was diagnosed four years ago with Lung Cancer and had my entire left lung removed and have been in active treatment ever since. Chemotherapy, radiation, chemotherapy and radiation simultaneously, and now immunotherapy Opdivo every two weeks. During one of my every 3 month scans of my chest and abdomen, Bladder Cancer crept into the picture. More tests, procedures, trips to the hospital/doctor, and the list goes on.

Seeing both an oncologist and a urologist

In the case of Bladder Cancer, patients typically do not to go an oncologist for earlier stages. The urologist is the diagnostician, surgeon and administers the chemotherapy/immunotherapy.

This is a very important subject because in my case, I am receiving an immunotherapy for my Lung Cancer (which has worked going on 2 years and 1 month) and it was recommended I do BCG for my Bladder. Normal operating procedure. For me, though, it could have been a problem. While there are years and years of tests on immunotherapy, there has NOT been research to see if there are any effects in taking two immunotherapies at a time.

Two therapies at the same time

The medical facility I go to is one of the largest, and in the top 5 in the US for treating "cancer." But even the experts couldn't tell me if it was safe to receive two immunotherapies. So we tried another type of "chemotherapy," which I ended up with a reaction to - for nine days.

By this point, my Urologist was scrambling so he made many phone calls to our Main Campus and it was finally determined that I could receive two immunotherapies at a time.

Make sure your doctors communicate

The point is - if you have two cancers - be your own advocate. Make sure each doctor knows what the other is doing. Quite frankly, don't depend on them to look in the computer and see what others are doing, don't depend on them to talk to each other - do it yourself. Tell each doctor what the other says and when there is a question about something - while you're sitting in one doctors office, mention, "can we call Dr. C to make sure we are all on the same page?"

You are the most important person in your treatment. At initial diagnosis, you will be very confused and overwhelmed with information, but that's what we are here for - to help you manage all the twists, turns and flip.

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