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different chemo treatments

Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2004

Hi All- I am a new rectal cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Stage II rectal cancer on 10/19/04. I had a lower bowel resection 11/9/04 and had about 7" of my lower intestine removed. All is going well. I have questions on the different ways that chemo is administered and wanted to get feedback.
When I met with the Oncologist yesterday, he said that we will either do chemo 5 times a week, for about 30 minutes each day, then be off for 3 weeks--then start the same process again; or do it for 2 1/2 hours once a week for 6 weeks, then be off for 2 weeks, then start over again.
Can anyone tell me if they have tried both, and what the difference or preference is? I am 43yo and plan on going back to work soon. I am looking for the schedule that would work best.
Any info is appreciated.

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Tomoco -

Sorry to meet you under these circumstances, but glad you're here. Welcome to the semi-colons!

I didn't do both. I did the weekly. I have to tell you this, that 2.5 hours usually goes longer than advertised. It typically took me 4 hours once a week. I was usually in by 7:30 and out by noon or 1 pm. Of course, I was being treated at a military hospital (Bethesda), so that may have impacted how quickly they worked, I don't know.

anyway, I tell you this since you are discussing going back to work. I found I usually didn't get back to work on chemo days - not that I was sick (that typically waits a day or so if it affects you that way), but it was just a hassle getting back to work for only a couple hours. Besides, I dedicated the rest of the day to dong something for me - made me feel better.


- SpongeBob

Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2004

thanks SpongeBob. What side effects did you encounter with the treatment? I know that everyone is different, just curious.

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

I had diarreah, nausea and fatigue. I lost some hair (I asked my onc if we could confine the hairloss to just my back... he didn't get the joke)

Like you said everyone is different. I found keeping a regular workout schedule actually helped with the fatigue. Remember that side-effects are cummulative; you'll start oput feeling like it's no big deal and then as timeprogresses, the chemo will build up in your system and you may feel pulled down more and more. Just remind yourself that you feel like you do because the drugs are doing their job.

Keep a good attitude, visit here often and hang in there! Slay that dragon!!

- SpongeBob

Posts: 758
Joined: Jul 2004

hi tomoco,
welcome to the semi's, sorry we have to met like this. i was dx may 04 with colon cancer stage 11.i have clean margins no lymps involved. having chemo just a precaution, once a week leuv and 5fu for 6 months. only 6 more left. i am very tired the next 3 days after treatment and a small rash on forehead, lucky they are the only side effects. you have come to a great caring compassionate board of survivors and caregivers.
keep posting and asking away.
all the best

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Tomoco,
Welcome. I was diagnosed with Stage III rectal cancer 12/02, age 44. I didn't have both regimes you describe, so I'm afraid I can't compare. For my postsurgical chemo, I had the first regime you describe (5 times a week for one week, then 3 weeks off - then repeat). The side effects will depend on the exact "cocktail", as well as your individual reaction. I had 5FU + leuco. My side effects were relatively mild: mild nausea (there are lots of antinausea drugs out there), mild fatigue, and mild diarrhea. I tended to be tired and nauseous the week of the chemo itself and the week after, but then usually had 2 good weeks. I kept working but flexibly and partly from home (I was lucky to have that luxury). Good luck to you .


Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Hit there, I'm 31 and had Stagge 3 rectal cancer removed this year and am on six months chemo on the Mayo regime (chemo each day for a week then three weeks off). I get nausea during the week I have it and get tired the following week but otherwise tolerate it fine. I feel fairly normal the other two weeks. I work full time through it which is not a problem.
The evidence is that the two reegimes are equivalent in efficacy and side effects so ti is up to individual centres and patients to decide. We went for this as it is more convenient for work and life in general- we can at least go on holiday during hte two weeks I feel normal each month.
If you want more info feel free to email me.

PS I am on 5FU and leukoviron- not oxaliplatin which is being added in some regimes now so can't give and opinion on that drug.

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