Sep 24, 2012 - 2:26 pm
Loved one Dx Stage IV, SCC BOT with 2 lymph nodes involved to neck (left side for both tongue and nodes). No surgery planned. Tx is Chemo/Rad. We are getting prepared for our October 8th treatment date. Must make a decision by this Friday (Sept 28th) as to what Chemo we'd like to do. Need some input and experience here please!
Do we take the standard Chemo or do we go with the current Protocol(Cetuximab/Erbitax) which will be administered once a week for 7 weeks? Our understanding is the Protocol has fewer side effects than the standard Chemo(not sure what the standard really is). But, will get medication prior to the Protocol to help eliminate or decrease the fewer side effects.
Here's the info given to us regarding the research study (Protocol):
1. High success rate in getting rid of oropharyngeal cancer in patients who have not smoked, or only smoked a minimal amount, and also HPV patients (better prognosis)
2. Keeping in mind the better prognosis, it is possible that reducing the intensity of therapy will not affect the high rate of tumor control, while reducing the side-effects of therapy.
3. Investigators plan to reduce the intensity of treatment by replacing the currently used chemotherapy drugs with this FDA approved drug, Cetuximab, which is a monoclonal antibody to a growth factor which helps cancer cells grow. By opposing the effect of the growth factor, Cetuximab may help radiotherapy kill cancer cells without a lot of effect on the normal tissue.
4. It differs from chemotherapy in its more selective activity against tumors compared to normal tissue. Cetuximab has the chance to preserve the high rate of success in killing the tumor but may reduce the side effects and complications of therapy in comparison to the chemotherapy drugs.
So...it just cuts the side effects down? Tell me what you've used if you were diagnosed to anything similar. What was your experience? Why did you choose it? If you didn't choose it, why? Or maybe you weren't offered it.
Also, if anyone has used this drug, do you know how long it's been available and any positive or negative feedback you've gotten from it yourself or from doctors?
Thank you in advance for your answers and suggestions. Really looking for some help here.