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Brachytherapy

waltersaegir
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

I underwent IMRT and Erbatux in May-June-July and the pain went away in June and returned mid September.
They did an MRI and biopsy verifying live cancer cells.
They did a PET/CT scan and the tumor is there, but has not spread.

Now, I've had a Med Port installed and they commenced Wednesday to start TPF chemo:
Docetaxel(Taxotere) 75mg/m2 iv over 1 hour d1
Cisplatin (CDPP) 75 mg/m2 iv over 1 hour d1
5-FU 750 mg/m2/d civi d1-4
Repeating every 3-4 weeks.
So far so good, I will go home sometime on Mondaty and future cycles will be outpatient.

My ENT Doctor wants to remove my tongue.
My Radiology Doctor has performed Brachytherapy and since he has not performed one in several years, he highly recommends Dr. Demanes at the UCLA Medical Center. He has FedX'd (Overnight)the PET-CT scan to Dr. Demanes and he previously sent the other records and Pathology reports.

The description that my Doctor provided on Brachytherapy sounds impressive:
X-Ray image to guide insertion of catheters to the edge of the tumor and software controlled treatments with machine inserted radiation wire inserted into each catheter for a given amount of time.

Won't know if I'm approved for the treatment until Dr. Demanes review and contacts me.
Anyone have experience with Brachytherapy for Base of Tongue Cancer?

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

But I KNOW that someone on this site does have experience - sorry, can't recall who. I recall hearing good things.

I also had Base of Tongue cancer (stage IV, two lymph nodes involved), and I had the same chemo regimen for induction that you're having - my 5FU was five days, though. I had three rounds, 21 days apart, all outpatient. My cycles also started on Wednesdays - on Mondays, I got the 5-FU pump off.

My biggest chemo complaint was mouth sores. Early on, I had GI tract pain that was juicy (like someone hit me in the chest with a broom handle from the inside - I feared I was having a heart attack for a few moments, but the pain started moving down my GI tract, and I had no history of heart issues, and no other signs). It only happened a few times over a couple of days, and I didn't get that pain again. When I told the doc about it, he said that while that type of pain did sometimes occur, it was pretty uncommon.

I don't need to tell you to chug the water - I know you know. I do want to let you know that my kidney function was fine throughout treatment, and to this day (over three years later).

Are you going to follow the ENT's recommendation, and have the tongue removed?

Hope things go well for you (you know what I mean - as well as they can go for a head and neck cancer patient going through treatment).

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mar 2010

I have not had brachytherapy, but people come through here from time to time that have. It is a very reasonable modality for selected cases, of which yours may be one. It offers the advantage of a super hugh amount ofnrads delivered with great precision, to only the necessary area, while sparing the surroundingntissue from additional rads. Check back often, others will be by who have experienced this, ut it may take some time.

Pat

ooo's picture
ooo
Posts: 107
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Walter,

I had brachytherapy to the oral tongue (not base of tongue) in June 2012 and I had a reasonably good experience with it. Surgery on a Monday to insert the catheters, then three days of brachytherapy and I was home by Thursday night (four days in the hospital and yes, I had to stay there the whole time). The good thing about having catheters installed is that the radioactive material is removed after every session, so that you won't be radioactive during the day and people can visit you. The catheters where pretty uncomfortable (e.g. I could not talk, only drops of liquid food would go down and no tooth brushing allowed) but it lasted only three days. It can definitely be done for a few days (but not much longer ;).

I had surgery prior to the radiation treatment, so for me it was more of a safety net than a way to eliminate the main tumor. What I can tell you is that I'm now a bit more than four months out and I just got my NED. I wish you the same and I'll try to check the forum more often than usual in case you have further questions.

Dre.

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