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Anyone w/Stable liver mets??

midnte0708
Posts: 166
Joined: Jul 2005

My dad has been on FOLFIRI + Avastin for 16
months with his Aug 2005 dx of stage IV Colon cancer w/inoperable liver mets (many of them on both lobes of liver) .
He had a little bit (20%) of shrinkage in March 2006 cat scan but since then it has been "no change..."no change"..."no change"..."no change"

He has gradually been regaining his strength from initial dx and is still working full time and able to have normal life.
Doc initially gave him 1 year to live in Nov 2005 and he already surpassed that and I have a couple questions:

1: how long can you take chemo non stop with no breaks? (he goes every other week for infusion and wears chemo pump for 48 hours)
2: Does the chemo do any long term damage to liver or other ogans while trying to kill the cancer?
3: how long do people usually stay "stable" with a stage IV diagnosis w/ liver mets???
4: could his cancer be "dead cancer tissue" that was not reabsorbed into the body..since there was so many tumors in the beginning? (He has never has PET scan only CAT.)
...seems unusual that he is feeling better and better or am I being to optimistic????

Any info greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Sue

MarksKerry
Posts: 34
Joined: Oct 2006

Sue - I don't know enough to really knowledgably answer your questions, but my business partner's wife has been battling inflammatory breast cancer for 6 1/2 years now -- she has had a couple of two week breaks from chemo in all that time; routinely has weekly treatments. She has a lot of mets right now and they are using Avastin to try to keep her stable and hoping for approval of a new drug in January. At any rate -- after all this time she still works 3 days a week!
Best,
Kerry

midnte0708
Posts: 166
Joined: Jul 2005

Wow...6 1/2 years on chemo...I'm glad the chemo is helping your business partners wife stay stable....I love to hear these stories!
Thanks!!

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1973
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi Sue,

First off, I don't think you should compare breast cancer chemos with colorectal ones. Breast cancer research and the subsequent treatments have come lightyears in the last 10 years versus colorectal treatments. We get one every few years and they get new ones yearly. It's all about money. Pink is bringing in loads of money.

1. How long totally depends on the patient and how much they can endure.

2. Absolutely chemo impacts and does long term damage to other organs in the body. There haven't been many studies done on it for obvious reasons. We are supposed to be appreciative of the chance to beat the beast and accept the consequences if and when we do. Luckily there have been some studies done recently on chemo brain. Chemo has been shown to not only kill brain cells but also shrinks parts of the brain (focus and concentration in particular). The results of the study then begged the pharmaceutical companies to come up with less toxic drugs.

3. Liver mets can be "stable" forever. Mine became less conspicuous first and are now considered to be treated mets (dead cancer cells for the almost a year and a half) that are getting smaller over time as the liver does it's thing cleaning them out.

4. See above. I have to tell you that my oncologist tried to say I never had mets to my liver or lungs after my recent testing until I reminded him we did biopsies.

Positive attitude and feeling better is huge!!!!!!

Give my best to your Dad and tell him, it can be done!!!!!!!!

Lisa P.

MarksKerry
Posts: 34
Joined: Oct 2006

Lisa - I was only commenting that someone had been on chemo almost continuously for 6 1/2 years -- and IBC is NOT breast cancer of the 'garden' variety. She got that 4 years into the mess. IBC starts in the lymph system and the 3 year survival rate is abysmal -- because IBC is so rare, many oncologists never see it and because it presents as a mastitis it has many patients mis-diagnosed and mis-treated for WAY too long -- just like with CRC. At any rate -- I was only addressing how long someone could tolerate chemo -- and how she has withstood this, we don't know! Tenacity, ground up rattlesnake and a belief in God!

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1973
Joined: Apr 2004

I misunderstood, I thought it was like the preventive chemo one of my friends is getting for 5 years. Your friend is awesome!!! And I love your last sentence and how true it is. Where do you get your ground up rattlesnake?

midnte0708
Posts: 166
Joined: Jul 2005

Thanks for your detailed response.
I was afraid of that...Chemo is a double edged sword. It may help and kill you at the same time. Well for now I am glad it has helped my dad and I am sorry a friend of mine died last week of colon cancer with mets and she wasted a year trying chemo with it only to make her sicker and sicker.
That's a shame about the fact that CC cancer does not have it's own catchy "pink slogan ".....someone needs to start one.....and soon!!!!

pink05
Posts: 553
Joined: Mar 2006

Sue,

I am surprised that they never gave your dad any type of break from chemo. As my dad was going through his treatments, the onc told him that he could get about a month break at some point. I think it is amazing that your father has endured chemo for all of this time and has retained his strength. I have heard of people who have been stable for many years. I know breast cancer differs from CRC and as Lisa said, the treatments for breast cancer have been much more advanced than treatments for CRC, however, my friend's mother had breast cancer and had stable liver and lung mets for about 6 years. In addition, she had very extensive lymph node involvement.

Also, chemo is very toxic and can do damage to other organs, especially the liver. There are ways to keep the liver healthy, though. I know we have talked about changing diet and supplements. I really think that it has helped my dad a lot. If you want, I can e-mail you what my dad's naturopath recommended for him.

-Lee-

sandyjg
Posts: 71
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi there, my husband was dx July 05, he has been on some form of chemo non-stop except when he had his colostomy reversal surgery last Nov 05. He was off chemo during the healing from that surgery for about 2 months. The healing was slow because of chemo. He tolerates the chemo well, is currenly on xeloda at home and avastin, very high dose every 3 weeks. He is almost identical to your dad, shrinkage and same stability. I hope and pray every day for him to remain stable until a new drug is on the market to take him to the next level. I also worry about a reoccurance in the colon, that is why we are trying so hard to change our diet. My husband also feels very well, a bit off at the beginning of his xeloda, but no one else would ever know. He still is more active than most people his age not on chemo. He is 54 years old. FYI, he is selling his small business and we are selling our home, we are downscaling and moving to a small resort town into a small condo on a golf course. Life is too dang precious to waste working. We are fortunate to be able to downscale and allow him to retire. I will have to continue working, but I feel that if he does not have the pressures of work he will only do better and better. Material things mean nothing to me now.

I will keep you posted and add your dad to my prayers.

Sandy

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1563
Joined: May 2006

I don't know if my husband's liver mets are "stable" again. We are suppose to have scans again soon.

A comment about chemo: Our onc said that hubby could be on the current chemo (includes Avastin) as long as the drugs work. There is no life time limit for these drugs. My huby was dx'd June 05. He took chemo from July 05 till March 06 and mets were considered gone. Three months later they were back and we were back on chemo as of july 06. Currently continuing chemo with scans most likely after new year.

How long someone is stable - it is individual. You will hear from many here who were dx'd years ago. Do not dwell on the one year thing. Our doc never mentioned dates or time to us and I am glad. He said that with new drugs i.e. Avastin, the old stats on survival rates are changing. the stats that doctor's quote and research reflects are from years ago when these drugs were not around. Sometimes the spots can be seen on the CT scan but without a PET it is hard to determine if they are still active cancer cells or not.

My husband feels better than a year ago and works every day except when he goes for treatment. I take that as a positive.

Since Avastin and other drugs are so new, it is unknown what affects there will be in the future.

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