chemo or no chemo?

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chemo or no chemo?

by jei on Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

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My fiance has just been diagnosed with stage III-C Colon Cancer and he's apprehensive about getting chemotherapy because he might not be able to handle the side effects very well. He already is recovering from right colectomy and his doctor is highly recommending chemo. I personally don't know what to advise him because i don't know much about cancer either and am just reading as much as i can about it now. He's gearing towards holistic healing and healthy living (organic foods and such) instead but i doubt that this will take away cancer cells that are left in his body. We need help in decision making. I would appreciate any information I can get from those who have gone through this very same road, and have beaten the big C. Thanks in advance...

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Barbara_119 on Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

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The decision is for the patient to make. I had stage 3 colon cancer in June of 2004. I had surgery and 6 weeks later folfox 4 chemo therapy. I was told the same thing, I needed chemo in case any bits of cancer were floating around in my blood. The worse side affect for me was the taste in my mouth.....food tasted awful!!! Just about everything I ate tasted bad. I did not lose my hair, I did not have nausea. I was tired the three days following my treatment. If I had it to do over, I would still do the chemo. It is 2 1/2 years since I finished chemo and am cancer free. I think that BOTH can be done, chemo and good diet and supplements. I do eat organic foods, no processed foods, no transfats, etc Hopefully if more people start doing this, the prices will come down. It really is the only way to go for a healthy diet.Good luck and remember the decision is with the patient.Barbara 119

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Cptmac on Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

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I had Stage IV colon cancer.  I signed up for a clinical trial, so I had one kind of chemo going to my liver and another chemo going through my body.  They gave me drugs to combat my side effects.  I felt great through chemo.  I was able to walk 5 miles a day.  I worked 50 hours a week so that I wouldn't have to take vacation or sick leave for my time off to see a doctor.  After working until 5 PM on a Wednesday, I would drive all night (8 hours) and stay at a hotel.  Get my chemo on Thursday.  Stayed Friday to ensure I didn't have any adverse reaction, drove back 8 hours on Saturday.

So I didn't have any problems with the chemo. 

But it is a personal decision.  I know that chemo worked for me.  My CEA count went down to normal after my first session. 

Let us know if you have any further questions. 

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Stage4insk on Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

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You HAD StageIV ?  I have Stage IV and I am looking at all options on how to get the HAD stage.  My colon cancer has metastisized to the liver.  Currently on treatment 11 of folofox6 / Avastin. Making some progress.  What was the chemo that you were on especailly for the liver.  Thanks in advance for your info.

 

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Cptmac on Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

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I was diagnosed on July 22, 2004 with colon cancer with mets to the liver.  The doctors in my city said I had 18 months tops to live with treatment, but that I could die at any minute. 

So, I went to the U of Minnesota and they gave me hope.  I signed up for a Stage II clinical trial.  The trial is no longer open at the U of MN, but Sloan Kettering has an ongoing trial.  I had my colon resected on August 13th, 2004 (Yes it was Friday the 13th).  I had my liver resected on September 13th, 2004 and had an HAI pump inserted to pump chemo into my liver.  It was important that the surgeries take place at least 4 weeks apart.  I had a colon surgeon remove my colon, a liver sugeon remove my liver. 

After surger my CEA was 4. 

I then used Irinotecan (Camptosar or CPT-11) for my systemic chemotherapy and then had FUDR going through my pump. 

After My first chemo my CEA was in the normal range.  Thus far, knock on wood, I've had no recurrences. 

Here is a web site about my pump. 

http://www.medtronic.com/neuro/hai/physician/overview.html

Here is a site about my trial from Sloan Kettering

http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/63980.cfm

Here is a quick paragraph on it.

"According to Dr. Kemeny, studies are currently underway at MSKCC using HAI therapy in combination with newer drugs, and response rates appear to be even higher. Furthermore, the addition of HAI therapy is also being investigated in patients with primary liver cancer."

When I signed up, I could have gone to Mayo, their part of the study used Oxilaplatin instead of Irinotecan as the systemic chemo.

It's also important that when they do the surgery, they take out at least 16 lymph nodes. 

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you have any other questions. 

 

 

 You HAD StageIV ?  I have Stage IV and I am looking at all options on how to get the HAD stage.  My colon cancer has metastisized to the liver.  Currently on treatment 11 of folofox6 / Avastin. Making some progress.  What was the chemo that you were on especailly for the liver.  Thanks in advance for your info.

 

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by wisconsincancerwife on Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:00 AM

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Hi!

Your situation sounds very similar to where my husband was a while ago. Two years ago (July 2005) at 59 he was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer that had metastisized to the liver - 8 tumors of various sizes - inoperable. He was given 1-2 years with a recommendation of surgery on the colon and follow-up chemo. It took about 10 minutes to convince him that he should contact Mayo. We are fortunate to live about 2 hours from Rochester so distance wasn't a problem. We were there the next week and were given hope and a new plan - chemo (Folfax 6 ) with Avastin. After 3 sessions we waited a month (hard though he felt fine) and he was scanned. There was enough improvement in the liver that resection was possible. In early November he had 6 hours of surgery at Mayo during which various surgeons took out 9 inches of colon and 65% of his liver plus did RFA on one liver area that was inoperable. He had 9 sessions more of chemo and Avastin. His CEA went back to normal and everything was good until August 2006 when the area that had RFA was back. He had more RFA and things were fine again until this past April - same spot back. At Mayo they wanted him to be in a clinical for therasphere - radioactive beads that have FDA approval for primary but not meteatatic liver cancer. We researched the possibility of cyberknife treatment (not done at Mayo) and decided to go with it - St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, Mn. In preparation he had his a PET scan that showed a lymph node with cancer. In late June he had 6 sessions of cyberknife on the two areas. The process is non-invasive except for the insertion of markers which is done on an out-patient basis. The cost is high but the hospital is working with our insurance company and it will be paid as far we know ($234,000). His CEA is normal again and he is doing what he wants. It may be December before we know if it was successful or not but the doctor's there gave him an 85% chance of success - by far the best odds we've heard since he was diagnosed. The decision on whether or not to have more chemo will depend on his first scan - in mid- September. We've certainly learned to research on our own and seek other opinions. Good luck.  

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Oncrx on Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:00 AM

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in stage II it is possible to avoid chemo, but in stage III you have LN involvement and chemo is necessary to minimize recurrence.  If you dont get chemo it WILL recurr.

RE: chemo or no chemo?

by Hadassah on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:00 AM

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Please see my message on The CAAT Diet administered by the A P John Cancer Institute in Florida. I chose this treatment as an alternative to chemo and it was, thankfully successful. Please feel free to emial me with any further questions about how I experienced this treatment. It really is a real option to consider. All the best.
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