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Taxitol and Taxitere - sorry this is long

meredy
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2002

Hi,

I'm new to this board and have a question that I hope someone can answer. I've tried to search the internet for information but haven't had much luck.

I had breast cancer in 1983, no lymph node involvement, had a mastectomy and no chemo was required. Then, just recently, 20 years later, they found cancer in the other breast. Thank God it was not a reoccurence of the same cancer, was a total new strain so that meant I didn't have cancer cells floating around in my body for 20 years. All my scans came out clear but they removed 10 lymph nodes and found 2 positive for cancer. I began chemo May 2. Every three weeks I have a treatment of epirubicin and cytoxin - I have only one treatment left and then will start a 13 week treatment, once a week, of taxitol and taxitere. They will alternate these drugs, taxitol one week, taxitere the next.

I have not had too bad a time with the current treatments - just manageable nausea and some fatigue and occasional insomnia. My white and red blood cell counts go down a week after the treatment and they give me shots to bring these counts up. I get to a point that I have to stay isolated because my white blood cell count drops to nothing and I have no immunity. (My daughter who likes to tease me said that means I could get voted off the island. You would have to have watched the Survivor show to know what this means. LOL)

I am a little scared about the next round of treatments because of the few things I've read and heard and I would like to find out other people's experience with these drugs, side effects, etc. I did read that with taxitere, there is a possibility of scarring of the tear ducts, causing chronic weepy eyes. It's a permanent condition. And I know that people can have an allergic reaction to it. I asked my doctor about the side effects and he told me there can be nail changes, skin changes, and that there could be tear duct problems. Then he said he has two patients that had to be hospitalized because of skin and lung changes --side effects of taxitere. But he said they had missed appointments and not taken care of themselves and not reported to him when unusual symptoms arose. I'm really anxious about beginning these treatments. I've been really brave and haven't let myself worry too much and here I am now, halfway through my chemo, kind of wimping out!

If you or someone you know has used either of these drugs, please let me know what side effects were experienced. Or if you know of a good site on the internet that gives a thorough explanation, I would appreciate this too.

I appreciate any input you have.

Thanks so much,
Meredy

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Meredy,

I never heard of alternating TAXOL and TAXOTERE. I had four treatments of taxol after the AC - you are getting this extra because of the positive nodes. I had one positive node.

I did a lot of reading and never saw anything about permanently teary eyes. Are you getting treatment somewhere where they treat cancer all the time - not just occasionally.

Premedications are given to avoid allergic reactions etc. Type in 'taxol' and 'taxotere' on www.google.com and you will find a lot of references. Don't be afraid of this unless you have an oncologist who is not very experienced and you shouldn't have that!

Everybody gets some bone/muscle pain in the legs especially about the 3rd day after and lasting about 3-4 days. Be sure yourdoctor gives you good pain medicine- lortabs are good. I liked Darvocet better because it didn't make me as sleepy.

Keep us informed about your treatments. Good Luck! You'll find a lot of support here.

Hugs, Jean

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

Welcome to the site Meredy, glad it is here for you this time around and to find information you are looking for. I am 5 year survivor and was wondering why you say this is not reoccurance? I was wondering why you would say such a thing. Most reoccurances are not of the same kind of cancer instead comes in another form somewhere else in our bodies. I have yet to hear one of my friend with a reoccurance not think of it like that because it isn't exactly what they had before. Instead any cancer one has after the initial fight is a reoccurance of cancer just not breast is all.
I would be interested in anything you had to add.
thanks so much and you will be in our hearts as you go through your fight.
Be good to yourself,
Tara24242

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Tara,

Cancer returning in the same breast is a recurrence. Cancer from that breast spreading to another area is a recurrence and is metastatic cancer.

When a new cancer shows up in the other breast as in Meredy's case, it is a new cancer - not a recurrence.

She is quoting her doctor correctly.

Regards, Jean

jmears
Posts: 270
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Meredy
I took AC and Taxotere. AC every 3 weeks and I took the Taxotere every 3 weeks as well. I have heard of taking the Taxotere or Taxol everyweek but never alternating them. On an every week schedule you are probably getting a smaler dose at a time than I did every three weeks and you should have an easier time with it. It's different from the AC ... not necessarily beter or worse in my opinion. I understand what you are saying about the cancer being a new cancer. I have read a lot about recurrance and matestisis and it sounds like you just have another cancer and not a spread and that must be a relief like you said not having the cells floating around you body for 20 years. My breast tissue in each breast is supposedly completely different from each other even before the cancer treatments ... so I'm hoping myother breast won't be prone to cancer. I am curious to know were you are located ... because of the protocol and the medication terminolgy you are using (i.e. epirubicin vs. adriamycin). Let us know how it goes! Don't let them vote you off the island!!! Good Luck, Jamie

cthip
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2001

I took FEC(5fu,Ellence,Cytoxan) 6 treatments then I was suppose to take 12 weekly Taxotere with 35 radiation treatments. On my 6th treatment of Taxitere on the 3rd day my hands felt like they were closed in a door . They hurt so bad I could hardly use them. That was on a friday night and I call the office that monday morning and said I was stopping the chemo. By that morning I was getting use of my fingers and the pain was less. The nurse said that was a reaction and to come right in .They said they would not have given me anymore Taxitere after that reaction anyway. I said that I would do the treatments as long as I could and if anything bad happened I would quit.I was stage 3 cancer (4 positive lymph nodes & mastectomy) and my last chemo was nov 27th and radiation was dec 18, 2001 and so far whole body bone & cat scan last week show cancer free!!!!

bdean
Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2001

Dear Meredy:
In 2000, I had 6 infusions of Taxotere, and it did make me very weepy eyed. I felt like I was walking under water some times, but the oncologist's nurse looked up other patients who had the problem, and told me they took Tylenol Sinus & Allergy tablets - they helped me. Thank God it was not a permanent problem - I never heard that at the time. The skin around my eyes also had a scalded look - I was miserable on the Taxotere, but when they changed me to Taxol it wasn't so bad. The bone pain and fatigue were my worse complaints. I am now back on Taxol and they have changed the amount of the dosage. Each of us respond differently to any type of medicine - even aspirin. I pray that these drugs will have only minor side effects for you. Please tell the nurse immediately when a problem arises because they have treatments to counteract most of the side effects - especially mouth sores: Diflucan. Don't suffer needlessly.
Good luck and think positive.
Brenda

shirlann
Posts: 235
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi, Meredy I can't help with the info you need but I have a good friend who had BC in one breast and then 11 years later a totally new cancer in the other breast, boy was she pissed. But, the doc and the onc said, hey, you aren't immune from any cancer anywhere. So okay, any more good news? Just so you know you are not alone. Hugs Shirlann

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Meredy:

So sorry that you're going through this a second time. But, hey, 20 years is amazing and so now, you're simply going for another 20!

I have not previously heard of alternating the taxotere and taxol. (I didn't have any taxanes)

You can find some info about both at:
www.nci.nih.gov (the national cancer institute & national institutes of health website) Hope it will be helpful to you.

Most of the women I know who had the taxanes, experienced mostly bone and muscle aches for several days following each treatment and some have continued to have the bone and joint pains, months after completing treatment. It takes time for our bodies to fully recover from the insult of such powerful drugs and everyone's body is different, so no one could say for certain what your particular reaction may or may not be. Just get all the reliable info you can find and make your personal decision based upon how you feel about it. This is the best we can do for ourselves...getting solid info.

You're doing wonderfully well, so just keep up that great positive attitude! Having real, legitimate concerns just doesn't equal "wimping out"! It's normal and it motivates us to find answers and information
which we all need in order to make our best decisions.

Just wondering if you've had a second opinion regarding treatment, since diagnosis?
If not, it can be beneficial to get one, as it can reveal whether another oncologist recommends the same treatment or something different.

Whatever else you do, you MUST stay on the island. If a 20 year survivor can't teach them anything, then who can? Ha.

Love, light and laughter,
Inkblot

P.S. For what it's worth, I developed dry skin just from the chemo (AC and Cytoxan) and for several days, following an infusion,
my eyes would tear off and on. So, I guess that's not a response limited just to the
taxanes.

pamtriggs's picture
pamtriggs
Posts: 408
Joined: Sep 2000

Hi Meredy
I am a 21 year survivor of BC. My recurrence of original was DX 2 years ago. Since then I have had 3 types of hormone treatment - which did not work & then had Adriamycin for 6 cycles. Like you had nausea etc but coped. Then when that had no effect (I am stage 4 by the way) they tried Taxotere. I finished 6 cycles of that in April.. The weepy eyes is not permanant. It gradually clears up & is no longer a problem for me now. The long term side effect (maybe permanant) is the weakness in the leg joints. The Taxotere was tough but a lowering of dose helped a lot. I had bad stomach cramps & the "trots" every time for 4 days. I still have a lot of trouble with my legs. They are weak & painful swollen. Still the Taxotere has given me a partial remission where nothing else worked. Don't want to scare you but a good therapy for the pain & weakness is steroids for 10 days after each IV. Just keep positive & you can survive. Best of luck.
Love & hugs from an old hand.

Pam

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