May 29, 2012 - 3:22 pm
My father has stage IV esophageal cancer. He is in his late 50s. He went through four rounds of 5-day continuous infusion chemotherapy, which was a combination of 5-FU, Cisplatin, and Docetaxel which significantly decreased the size of his cancer. So, his oncologist switched him to a less aggressive treatment of Avastin for several weeks. It was also to let his body recover from the chemotherapy. When his PET scan came back, it showed that his cancer was back to the level it had been at in the beginning, 6 months before. Now he is back on the 5-day continuous infusion chemotherapy. However, his oncologist wanted to also keep him on the Avastin, but my dad's insurance refused because it was ineffective. His oncologist said that he can't appeal their decision. I did some research, and found that the combination of chemotherapy and Avastin seems to increase the patient's chances of survival. I don't know if using Avastin alone, unsuccessfully, beforehand would change the result, but his oncologist seemed to think it was worth trying. After two rounds of infusion chemotherapy, my dad will have another PET Scan. If it is not effective this time, it will be very bad news.