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TAXOTERE, TO DO OR NOT TO DO

LEEFOR
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2010

My husband is 72 and up to a couple of months ago was living a normal life in spite of having prostate cancer which was diagnosed in 1997. We chose primary external beam radiation which was given that year. His PSA stayed at normal levels until 2001 when Lupron was then used intermittently. Quarterly Lupron injections were used beginning 2004 when PSA rose to 30 along with the addition of Casodex. He was taken off Casodex January of this year when PSA suddenly rose to 184. For all those years he had no pain or outward symptoms. Since January, this year, all has changed. His PSA has gone from 184 in January to 2400 now. About two months ago he began feeling pain mainly in his ribs and lower back, which is quite severe now. A PET SCAN confirmed bone involvement. We are enjoying everyday, especially the ones when he feels less pain thanks to Vicodin. We are told our next option is Chemo. From what I have read of studies on Taxotere, it is not a cure and there is mixed reviews on whether it extends longevity or quality of life. Quality of life is now our greatest goal. He is quite weak and tires with the least bit of exertion. The Oncologist is over 100 miles from us. We live in the "outback." The trip is very hard on him, what with the bouncing on the highway for several hours round-trip. I am very concerned about the side effects of Chemo and if the treatment will become worse then the disease. Please tell us about your experiences, especially side-effects if you have taken taxotere or know of those who have. We would also be very interested in any other options of which you know.

LEEFOR

NCEllen's picture
NCEllen
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi - my husband (59) was diagnosed in 2002. Had Rad/Pros. Year later - radiation and hormone treatment. He became hormone refractive this past April and in May started Taxotere. His hightest PSA was 126, but that was from a doubling effect that started in January. He also takes Loritab to combat pain. He had a bone scan last Friday and we don't know the results of that yet. The previous ones have been clear.

After 3 chemo treatments, PSA is back down to 76. The theory at this point is to improve his quality of life. He will cont. with the chemo and get the PSA levels dropping until it reaches a plateau - then he gets a chemo break until....well, whenever and he'll do the next treatment. We know that Taxotere is not a cure. New treatments and options are becoming available so we've been told. So far, his only side effects from the chemo have been mild to somewhat moderate fatigue on or about the 3 day after treatment, maybe a little soreness in his back and his taste is a little off.
His hair is thinning, but no major nausea issues. He tells me he sometimes just doesn't feel 'peppy'. His tolerance to heat has diminished somewhat, but other than that we continue to eat healthy and walk when it's not too hot. He still goes to work daily and we're looking forward to a beach trip over July 4th although we have to come home early for tx.#4.

In Aug., he and my son have planned a trip to Md. to watch a ball game, we have a vacation with old friends from Texas scheduled in the fall in the NC mountains and are expecting our first grandchild around Christmas.

I guess what I'm saying is - we didn't want to hear that is was time for this step - but chemo can be done, hope is there for some positive steps and we are still making plans to do things. Flexability in life is a must, so we know when to give in and change plans for recouping purposes but also to take (as the 'older' ad says) all the gusto there is to offer when possible. Good luck to you all and blessings for the days to come.

LEEFOR
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2010

Ellen,

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your husband's experience with Taxotere. It really lifted our spirits. Our Oncologist told us it is well tolerated, but it is nice to hear that from someone who is actually taking the treatment.

You mentioned your husband is on Loritab. Is it stronger or weaker than Vicodin or about the same? How effective is it for the pain?

We are headed for a family reunion on the 4th. It is about a 200 mile drive from our home in Arizona. We are planning on arriving a day early and leaving the day after. Those days of making the round=trip drive in one day are over. Hope you enjoy your beach trip. We lived in San Diego for most of our lives. We do miss the ocean.

NCEllen's picture
NCEllen
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi - About the Loritab- he's never taken Vicodin although I believe it is really about the same make-up as the Loritab (5/500). It manages his pain quite well. We have found that the longer trips require some rest-stops along the way just to get out and move around, if not an over-nighter. I think one of the best things to remember for the chemo is to drink lots of fluids - it helps with any of the side effects and just staying hydrated will make the body feel better. He has an Rx for Zofran and Phenergan if needed for nausea, but again at this point it has not been an issue.
The only other side effect that he has experienced is a slight problem with taste - he says it feels like his tongue is coated, but if it gets too bad, there is an oral rinse the doc will call in for him. Have a wonderful holiday time with the family and have a safe trip there and back - Ellen

Noniu
Posts: 45
Joined: Apr 2010

Provenge is a vaccine that has been recently approved. My father is a healthy, active and younger looking that will be turning 80 in August. He was diagnosed late in 2001, had seed implant in January 2002. Because of his age he was recommended seed implant and hormonal shots every month for a period of 2 years. In 2007 his PSA started to rise, we changed Urologist, this new Doctor ordered a whole body scan, it was negative, and 2 negative biopsies within one month. The Doctor was hoping the cancer had not spread to freeze the prostate, but it was not possible to do because was out of prostate. Then he recomended to continue on hormone therapy, in August 2009 had another whole body scan and it had spread to his spine. He was referred to a Cancer Center in Hackensack Hospital, New Jersey.

My father refuses chemo, the Oncologist said he didn't chemo, there were other medication that would stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. He put him in low dosage of Casadex, his PSA was stable, not the level with we were hoping, so the Doctor changed it Nilandron, 150 mgs per day, it was killing my father. Then he put my father in Casodex again, but on the even day he would take 2 tablets and odd day 3. Being a higher dosage is making him tired, and twice he had faint. Last visit the Oncologist put him on the list for the Provenge, we still waiting for the insurance to accept full payment.

According to the Doctor my father is a good candidate for Provence due to no symptoms and never given chemo. My father has been waiting to be called to start the new vaccine. We hope to hear from the center soon.

I suggest to consult with your Doctor before chemo, and ask for more options. I do not know whether or not Provence will be good for your husband, just have other opinions before making any decision.

Lots of luck to your husband.

Noniu

P.S. My father beside taking Casodex still on hormonal therapy.

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