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Side effect of Tarceva or metastases

My sister in law was diagnosed with non small cell carcinoma of the lung 14 months ago. She is only 53 and quit smoking 15 years ago. She has done very well with chemo and radiation until recently.  She was started on Tarceva about 3 weeks ago.  Recently, she has been experiencing a lot of confusion.  I cannot find anywhere that this is a side effect of Tarceva (it is the only drug she is on at this time).  Is it possible that she has a brain metastases?  If not, what are the likely causes.

  
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Avatar universal
Hi,

You are correct that the confusion is not a typical side effect of treatment. The usual is a rash and diarrhea.

The concern for brain metastasis is valid. This however, is usually accompanied with other symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

It would be best to have her examined. There would be some other clues that may raise consideration of other things. Other possible causes of confusion which may be related to psychological stress, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, drugs which may be taken for cough on an as needed basis.

Stay positive.
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365470 tn?1232747095
hi my husband has just started on Tarceva also.....dont understand thou why they are not doing radiation, he has one lung and the oncologist said that radiation does not responsd well to SCLC squamous cell, hang in there, I know its card.
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Avatar universal
Hi,

If the radiation has been used before, then it is not likely that a second round would be used. Radiotherapy is usually delivered up to the tolerance levels of surrounding normal tissue. There are some patients who may get a second treatment, like those with cancers in the nasopharynx (the part behind the nose, where air swings down into the throat) after 2-3 years from the first round. Lung tissue is not likely able to recover significantly enough to go for another round of radiation.

In the event of any bleeding that may be coughed up, a brief course of radiation would be done or a radiation delivered through small tubes into actual bleeding sites could also be explored.

Treatment plans may change depending on the situation at hand.

Stay positive.
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