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Why change chemo when it worked?

Posts: 68
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi guys, quick question- probably an obvious one but il ask anyway.

My mum had chemo to get rid of spots left in abdomen from surgery to remove and obstructing large tumor. She was on ... i think... avastin and xeloda ( oral xeloda?) and it got rid of the spots = remission

She has had a scan and oncologist sees small specs in the same area, and one on lung. he is now going for an infusion and folfori - on a take home pump.

Why go to this if the first worked so well??? or did it not work well because its back???

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

In my understanding, probably something more like your second option.Except I wouldn't say the Avastin/Xeloda didn't work well -- obviously it worked very well, got rid of the spots and she was in remission (congratulations). But, my understanding is that IDEALLY chemo wipes out all the micro-metastases that we can't see -- as well as those spots that we can see. And her oncologist may feel that a different regime might do a better job now. Many of us have moved from one chemo 'cocktail' to another...

Wishing your mum every success


Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Did she have a break in treatment when the spots were gone?? If so for how long before they reappeared. Is she still going to be getting avastin. I don't have any advice on why the switch I'm just curious if they came back while she was off chemo.

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Is hard to really be cetain and is a question to put to the oncs. Different chemos do have different theoretical uses. Avastin as something that stops new bllod vessels forming seems more for stopping tumours growing larger and stopping new micromets from getting root and growing. the cytotoxics such as 5fu and irinotecan seem more to kill cells that have rapid turnover- that may be why the change in approach.
In truth there is a trial and error approach to chemo rather than it being an exact science. But I think you have a valid question especially as to why no avastin when that seemed to work and was by what you say well tolerated.

Put the question to the oncs and don't leave till you have your question answered in a way you understand and accept (then tell us so we can learn more too!)


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