How Long Can You Stay on Chemo

deneenb Member Posts: 130
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Seasons Greetings,

I hope this e-mail finds evryone feeling well and in the Christmas spirit. My Dad is scheduled for a PET scan this week and the results will determine our next course of action. The oncologist previously talked about stopping the Camptosar and possibly continuing just the Erbitux if the scans show improvement or stable disease. My concern is this: Last year when my Dad was doing Folfox he had NED. I asked the Dr. if we should keep him on some maintenance program at the end of 6 months and he said "no". He felt that if the cancer returned my Dad would do just as well on Folfox the 2nd time as he did the 1st time. Well, he was wrong. The cancer returned in 6 months and this time my Dad was not responding to Folfox - the tumors were growing in size and number. He has been on Camptosar/Erbitux now for 6 cycles. I want him to stay on this program for as long as he can. He is tolerating it very well and I'm just afraid that if we stop and the cancer returns, he will then be resistant to this treatment and have nothing left to try. How long have each of you been on continuous treatment? How long can you be on continuous treatment? I hear some Dr's say that they have patients who will stay on chemo as long as the results are still good and some stories I've read talk about people who will be on chemo for the rest of their lives. My dad has stage IV colon cancer with mets to the liver and peritineum. Should we insist on continuing both drugs as long as they are working? I don't think I'm being overly cautious, I just want my Dad to have the best chance possible and I don't think in his case that means stopping one of the treatments. What do all of you think? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You and Best Wishes,


  • markatger
    markatger Member Posts: 314
    Hi Deneen : )

    I unfortunately don't have answers for you. I am wondering about the same thing. I have been undergoing treatment this past year. It has been short rounds of chemo interupted by surgeries and radiation. I asked my Doctor how long I would be on chemo after my final surgery for liver mets. He said only two months!!!

    I am very surprised by this and anxious as well. I need to get more information from him and others as to why he is not recommending some sort of maintnenace program for me.

    Hopefully someone will answer our questions.

    Best Wishes,
  • rthornton
    rthornton Member Posts: 346 Member
    Hi Deneen.

    I was stage four with liver mets, but recently had clean PET scans.

    My oncologist told me last Wednesday that I might be using some manner of chemotherapy for jthe rest of my life. Cancer cells mutate in responce to anti-cancer drugs. They effectively build immunities to drugs, so it is most effective to rotate drugs or discontinue various combinations and replace them with new combinations. In this way, the cancer may recur but he thinks it can be controlled with the introduction of new drugs and new combinations of drugs, and even new vehicles of existing drugs and then be treated as a chronic disease rather than a terminal disease. I wonder if this is now the goal of cancer research, as a total cure seems to be elusive.

    Not being a professional, I can only tell you what has been told to me. Best of luck to you and your father.

  • optimist
    optimist Member Posts: 51
    I am in the same boat as your dad with liver mets and nodes in my peritoneum. This came back after five treatments of FULFOX, in June '04, and a liver resection, March '05. Since June '05, I had 15 sessions of Avastin and CPT 11. When the liver mets progressed, I was switched to Erbitux and CPT11. I have done 10 sessions of that. I am going for more scans and second opinions this week to see if the treatment will be changed. However, I have been told that I will be on chemo forever. It's still hard for me to accept that because I feel weaker after each session and when I start feeling a little better, I have to go back for more.
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064 Member
    hi deneen,

    "...nothing left to try."

    Those words make me so sad. There is A LOT your father can try. Maybe that's all that Western doctors have to offer is drugs drugs and more drugs to "manage" one's cancer. But remember there are plenty of Alternatives that he can be doing RIGHT NOW to heal the cancer. Alternatives that will not mutate cancer cells and make them resilient to "cures" but will allow the body to resist the cancer cells!

    I wish you and father all the best.

    peace, emily