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cisplatin vs erbitux for treatment

ephault54
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

i am newly diagnosed stage 4 r and l vocal cords and r glottic area. i am starting radiation jan 5th and chemo jan 11th. dr. will be using cisplatin and erbitux has not been mentioned. i was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this i am female 54yrs. and in otherwise good health

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

Welcome to CSN, I am sorry to hear about your Cancer, there are a lot of us here with all different types of Cancer and we help and support each other from the start to the finish. One thing you need is to stay positive, listen to what your doctors will be telling you, and just have Faith that you will overcome this Cancer. There are a lot of us here that have been down the road you are just starting, we stay behind for people like you.

Take care and may God continue to bless you through this new year

ephault54
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

thank-you for taking the time to reply

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

ephault- I was given Cisplatin and Flourouracil twice for 4-day sessions by carrying pumps feeding into my Port. Have no knowledge of erbitux.

As for the experience- get your pain meds in order, as you will need. Your C is lower than mine supposedly was, Nasopharynx, but mine showed with two left-side neck tumors, and the lower was near my thyroid, so the rads included my neck. Went thru full head and neck rads-got zapped in 20 places/session. Would assume that swallowing will get difficult, and your throat will get very sore.

Did they say you'll only be getting the rad in the larynx area? And has the Primary has been found, there? And nothing about surgery?

kcass

ephault54
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

i don't know where i'll exactly be getting the radiation i went for the simulation last thurs. i'm very new at this and don't really know what questions to ask. i had a pet scan also last week i have an appointment mon. with dr. to discuss these results i have been informed over the phone that it is only in the neck. what the primary site is has never been brought up either. i'm getting a portacath jan.8th and will get the chemo (cisplatin) once weekly. yes surgery was brought up i decided to have chemo and radiation first then talk about surgery.i have already had to have a trach on dec 3rd.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Only in the neck sounds very hopeful, ephault.

Chemo wil be the drips. Combination of Cisplatin with somewhat-targeted Rad just might rid you of this. That combo does appear to have worked for me. Hoping you will be able to claim the same. Shrunk my two neck tumors into oblivion, and worked so well that I only had 34 rads, instead of 35, and the last 3 were only partials.

Keep us informed, ephault.

kcass

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Very sorry to hear about your illness. This site has been good for information so please post your questions and thoughts here. I have squamous cell carcinoma of unknown origin (occult primary somewhere in my oropharynx, naso pharynx is suspected due to the presence of epithelial cells in the tumor of my neck).

I do not yet know what chemo drugs I'm getting but will let you know what I find out. In response to another thread of yours, typically surgery is considered for the removal of any known tumors, including areas that definitive radiochemotherapy is considered, at least that's my case. You are electing to not have surgery? Can you tell us what you process for coming to that was? Was it complications from the previous trach?

My understanding is if there is a known primary (your case) treatment can be better targeted and prognosis is usually good. it seems that there are a lot more people who survive this than not.

Warmly,

Mick

ephault54
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

that is the kind i have to squamous cell. i'm undecided on surgery. after the chemo and radiation i'll listen to what they have to say and hopefully it will be less involved than what they offered at first.this trach for live i don't know? ephault

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi E54,

I was given Erbitux for Epithelial Squamous Carcinoma in the tonsil. I gather it is relatively quite expensive and as you have probably read, works in a different way to Cisplatin. Cisplatin would generally be used for less aggressive cancers so it may have depended on your Biopsy result and how the cells look.

I would certainly ask your Doctor about Erbitux. The general idea I have is if Cisplatin fails, then they use Erbitux (more for if metastasis has occurred). THey can also be used in combination so as said - ask your Doctors.

I chose Surgery first as my tumor was fairly contained in the tonsil area and followed that up with the Erbitux and IMRT for 7 weeks.

Again you may wish to discuss further the implication of whether surgery is possible after Chemo/Rad treatment as I know some folks here had that option eliminated due to the effects of Chemo/Rads.

Don't just listen to your Doctors, you get in and ask the big questions. Make a list before you go in and write down the responses or have someone with you as this is not an exact science and there may be choices you have to make.

Wishing you all the best with your treatment.

Scambuster

jeff21
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2009

I had both cisplatin combined with Erbitux. I was diagnosed stage IVa tonsil and a few nodes on my right neck over 3 years ago. The Erbitux seemed like a very good thing at the time and I still feel that way. I fathered a beautiful baby girl two years after treatment so I can't complain:) One thing about Erbitux... if you end up getting it... it causes sever acne like rash over most of your body. I was given some meds by a dematologist that helped with the rash. I would seek another opinion if your doctor doesn't want to give it to you. Good luck!

ephault54
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2009

i want to thank every one for replying. it really helped. as i said before i'm very new at this. and its very scary thank-you ephault

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1231
Joined: Aug 2009

My chemoDoc told me Cisplatin was still the gold standard. I think erbitux is fast gaining ground on this and will someday be the new gold standard. They are both very effective and work in differrnt ways. One argument against receiving both is that in case of recurrence you may exhausted chemo options.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Your response to my last posting included the question of whether or not I chose to have surgery. I was the one who brought-up the possibility of surgery, and my Oto said that he could do that and remove my two tumors, but he thought the better option was to let the c&r take care of them- which they did. I'm unknown primary, NPC. My Oto told me there was the chance that my C would return in the same area, but didn't regard it as probable. Got Cisplatin and Flourouracil while getting full h&n rads. It never came down to my making a decision on whether or not to have surgery. My Oto advised that just the c&r would be enough.

Ratface- glad to hear your Onco told you Cisplatin is still the gold standard, as that is what I had. Thank you.

kcass

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

I too never did the surgery it was an option only if the rad/chemo did not work. The lymph node in the right side of the neck still sticks out a little but the PET showed nothing there but scare tissue.

I am starting to have a lot more problems with the numbness and pain in the tongue, its starts right under the Jaw in the neck possible nerve damage. Pain is sometimes worse then a bad Charles horse. I am going to start looking for someone who can do disease management acupuncture

Take care

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Hondo- mine is on the left side, and I can see and feel it. Not like the initial mass, though. Been there at the same size for a number of months. My last PET showed nothing there, also, and I was aware that it existed, so maybe it is just scar tissue.

Brother, I hope you find the solution to your nerve problem. As is, my tongue sensitivity is large, but is not pain. I am getting a kick out of cutting-up onion and red bell peppers and putting on my salads, with French dressing. And the roadhouse chili in microwave cans I eat at lunch during work- oh, I do feel that meal, but so far is only a semi-agreeable sensation. Hear/read about the wonders of acupuncture, and what it can do for symptoms, but I would urge you to focus on the cause of said symptoms. I know where you are in regards to treatment, Hondo, and I don't want this thing to go south on you- though with your recent PS it would seem all is okay. You know the mass is still there, though not growing, but I would advise you to be wary of it creeping, on the molecular level, elsewhere. I sure do hope is only a phase, Hondo, and will pass.

Believe.

kcass

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

I know what you mean this stuff is something that must be watched everyday, you can never let your guard down.

I want to tell you what the doctor said about the numbness but I can’t put it here on the post I will send you and e-mail as you will need a good laugh

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Kent. Just a question about why you did not choose surgery. My Dr said he could remove the tumors and biopsy them for a final pathology. This would accomplish removing the only known tumors in my body, give them a lot of tissue to work with to determine type, and reduce the amount of rads I'd need because we wouldn't be trying to melt the tumors.

He also said there's a better chance of salvage if the primary returns if there has not been radiation (he suspects NPC, but still cannot find the primary).

I'm just curious because your case and mine are so alike (TxN2bM0, right?). What options were you given and was your Dr an oncologist chem guy, radio guy, surgeon guy ??? Did they radiate the nasopharynx? Did they take any other gland, like a saliva gland?

Thanks Kent and sorry to hijack this thread.

Warmly,

Mick

Clearblue
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

Hello Jeff,
I am happy you wrote this.
What meds did you receive for the acne rash?
I am desperate to know if this helped?
Thanks

MomOfThreeGirls
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi, there! I felt compelled to let you know my experience with Erbitux. I have had three weekly treatments and have another three to go. I haven't been horribly sick to my stomach and, although my hair has thinned, it hasn't fallen out. That's not to say that it won't, but so far, so good.

The acne-like rash is something to really steel yourself for if you get Erbitux. In my case, it is almost more like a very severe case of chickenpox. The first week I had just a couple of spots pop up, but by the second week, well, let me say that I do not remember puberty ever being so painful or embarrassing. I really suffered with the rash over the Christmas holiday, but thankfully, my chemo doctor prescribed an antibiotic that has halted the progression of the rash. The rash is not nearly so painful now, but it still is very visible.

My chemo doctor said that in severe cases, the rash will spread over the palms of a person's hands and soles of their feet. I am sure glad that has not happened to me. I hope this information helps. :)

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

Glad to have you here with us on CSN, thanks for your post. I too remember the rash problem but it did not last too long. Had it only for a few weeks then it went away, can’t remember what I did, it was something the Chemo doctor gave me.

Take care of the Girls and may God take of you

MomOfThreeGirls
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks, Hondo. Have a peaceful night. :)

lyolan1
Posts: 95
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi, The Dr. In Boston said that the reason I recovered so quickly (by their standard), was directly related to the erbitux. I am out of treatment since the end of October. The rash wwas very painful for 2 weeks and then subsided. Used doxicycline and clindimycin cream to control it. I heard that cisplatin has long term kidney ramifications? Today I feel glad I used it. Look into it further. good luck, fight hard and win. Alex.

ForFreedom
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2010

I was diagnosed with SCC stage 4 with a primary tumor at the base of my tongue. One oncologist gave me a copy of a study of the standard drugs, but for other reasons, I chose another doctor who recommended Erbitux. This was partly due to the fact that I'm deaf in one ear due to a childhood accident, and the standard chemo has a good chance of hearing loss. But my research also indicated that Erbitux was a more targeted drug, so wasn't so hard on the rest of the body. My treatment ended 2 years ago, and my cancer is still in remission. Relatively speaking, I responded very well to treatment (my better half works in the hospital as an interpreter and has seen several patients who've not done as well as I) and my lasting side effects include loss of saliva and damage to my teeth. But I can eat anything (some things, e.g. a peanut butter sandwich, still require a drink to swallow) and am doing well.

I'd also recommend you look at using glutamine. And after treatment, I recommend using supplements (you'll have to research this as most doctors just aren't aware since they aren't "educated" by the pharmaceutical reps). You might take a look at the info on lef.org and search for the specific type of cancer you have.

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

HI FF,

Great to finally hear someone else suggesting Survivors and those about to go into treatment to look at using Glutamine Powder. I have posted the article from LEF.ORG into the thread on Glutamine (See main page).

Have you regained any salivary gland function at all ?? My Oncomen said my Left Side I would never recover and I 'May' get some use back over time from the Right side.

I had Cancer and in the Left Tonsil, surgery and then 7 Weeks of Radiation (IMRT) and Erbitux. I completed treatment October 9th 2009. Am eating Ok now but it is still hard work at times. I have lots of salads now and lightly cooked vegetable and I avoid meats, processed foods and sugars. I am on a hefty regime of supplements.

Physically I feel pretty good and am doing light exercise now though finding it hard to regain much of the 44lb I lost during my treatment.

Glad your are doing well 2 years out. Your refreshing and realistic approach is very welcome on the forum.

Cheers
Scambuster

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