Aug 20, 2012 - 11:59 pm
I wanted to ask for your kind help.
My mother is 87 years old and has had esophageal cancer for over a year and a half.
She was told that her cancer had spread outside of the esophagus to multiple lymph nodes.
My mother had chemo for about a year (Folfox), and that stopped the cancer outside the esophagus from spreading any further.
However, when they did an endoscopy after a year of chemo (in February 2012), it showed that the tumor in the esophagus had grown slightly larger.
At that time, (in February), she refused to get any more chemo cause it was making her so weak.
So in March they gave her 3 weeks of radiation targeting the esophagus. Apparently, the radiation worked well and many cancer cells died or became dormant.
After that she stopped having any treatment. She stopped chemo in February 2012 and radiation in March 2012.
So she has not had chemo for about 7 months and she hasn’t had radiation for about 6 months.
She had a PET Scan a week ago, and it showed that, although the cancer outside the esophagus still had not spread any further, the cancer in the esophagus had become a little more active.
Because of that and because of the fact that my mother’s weight has decreased (she has lost about 15 pounds over the past 8 months), her oncologist wants to start chemo again.
The oncologist told us that she has 3 choices:
1. Get the treatment she got before. That’s the Folfox treatment, and involves getting an infusion (about 2 hours) and going home with a pump for about 2 days.
Since the treatment was difficult for her, she received Folfox once every three weeks instead of once every two weeks over a one year period.
Apparently, this treatment worked in that the tumor only grew slightly larger after a year.
2. Another option is to get a new drug they never gave to my mother before instead of Folfox. (I’m sorry the oncologist didn’t tell us the drug’s name).
This involves coming to the clinic every week for a 1 hour infusion 3 weeks in a row with a 1 week break.
The doctor prefers this treatment since it involves a new drug but my mother doesn’t want it since she was told it would cause hair loss.
3. The last option the doctor gave was to take pills. This would require that she take 3 or 4 pills at home twice a day. (Again, I apologize but I didn’t get the name of the drugs). We were told that the major side effect of this treatment is diarrhea and redness in the palm of the hands.
I wanted to ask: Which treatment do you think would be best for my mother. I know it’s hard to give an opinion based on the few details listed above but I’m totally lost as to what may be best for her and I'm not knowledgeable about chemo treatments. And I'm very worried.
Any help, suggestions and recommendations would be deeply appreciated.
Thank you very much for your time and kind assistance.