Small trial suggests the scans might help, but experts aren't so sure
by nomis on Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:00 AM
My brother is 42 years old. He has been diagnosed stage 4 of RCC. HIs cancer has spread to his spinal colum. He is taking sutent. From his last medical check, his cancer has shrunk to about 50%. T he doctor told us not to keep our hopes too high because my brother is on stage 4 already- terminal RCC.
Is there any medical hope for stage 4 RCC with sutent?
My brother wishes to see America before he dies. We are praying for a miracle to happen.
by JulieUK on Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:00 AM
My husband, too, has mRCC stage four, and is probably just about to start on Sutent following his op to take out the tumourous kidney last month.
The first thing I did when I came here to this site last month was to read as many postings as I could, and when I did, as I hope you will too, you will see that there are many in the same situation of having stage four - and they are still here, alive! Some are still going strong three/four years on from the original diagnosis.That gives me, and my husband, immense hope and reassurance, which we very badly need, as I am sure you do to for your brother.
You know, I have banned the term 'terminal' from my vocabulary - and I wish it would be banned universally! We are ALL 'terminal' in that we have a limited human lifespan, the only difference for cancer patients is that that lifespan may be shorter. But to say someone is 'terminally ill' is both defeatist and despairing - we might as well give up on life altogether, all of us, even those who may live to a 100, for what is a mere century in the eye of eternity?
To me, mRCC is 'currently incurable', that is all. We know that one day all cancer will be curable, and that, indeed, it won't arise in the first place! Our screening programmes will be as comprehensive as needed, and use upcoming techniques like genetic profiling and so on to ensure that no one actually ever 'gets cancer'.
Our strategy, my husband and me, and I'm sure it's the same for many other 'cancer families' is to adopt the attitude that cancer is a 'chronic disease', and that the aim is to keep going as long as possible, using as many of the drugs as work for us, and 'hop on' to the next one coming out of the clinical trials and research pipeline - this is the 'hitchhiker' model of survival (and there is an excellent article on this very subject here on the Cancer News on the home page - I will post a reference to is.).
I do think this is a realistic strategy to adopt. Cancer doctors are notoriously cautious - justifiably so! - of saying 'You're cured' because so often cancer can recur, even after the 'five year all clear'. The first thing my husband's oncologist said to him was 'I can't cure you, but I can extend your life and keep your quality of life as high as possible', and that is what we are going for.
I can understand why your brother's oncolgist has cautioned you, and yet it depends what you might have been hoping for, or what he thought you might be hoping for. If we hope for 'life extension and best possible quality of life' then that is not an unreasonable hope. If we hope for 'miracle cure and I will never ever for the rest of my 100-year long life never have another cancer cell in my whole body' - well, that's not likely for any of us!!!
From what you have said, it seems that Sutent has been doing sterling work in your brother's body! It's tackling the mets dramatically, and that can only be good. Now, yes, we know that Sutent, like other cancer drugs, can be variable in its impact, and that its impact can fade as well (although I also read here that sometimes it can kick in again!). But there are other drugs on the table, and yet more coming out of the trials.
So please, above all, do not abandon hope - modify it for what can, indeed, be done, and what, if you read all the wonderful postings here, we know from others further ahead on the journey, has been done and is being done.
All the very best to you, Julie
Here is the reference for the news article on 'chronic cancer' (it was posted on June l9th, if the link doesn't work)
Please particularly look at almost the last paragraph, which mentions RCC.
All the best, Julie
by Lee_G on Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:00 AM
by Trishpm on Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:00 AM
Your brother's disease can be treated. There are many new treatments available now.
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