Stage III Cancer- How many Folfox treatments??

galba Member Posts: 4

Have been lurking a while and recently joined this site.  Looks like a great place for information and support.  In summary I am 47 y/o with 5 precious kiddos ranging from 5 up to 20 years old and a very supportive husband.  After following the recommendation of my ob/gyn I had a scope in April where I learned I have T3NbMX -stage III- colon cancer.  Surgery was 5/12 and we meet with the oncologist Thursday.  It looks like most people have chemo with Folfox.  My question at this time is how many treatments do most people get?


  • NewHere
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,427 Member
    Seems To Be 12

    Welcome to the boards, sorry you have to be here, but it is a good place to be,

    I am Stage IIIC and getting 12, which seems to be the common number from what I have seen, but of course it will vary.  My wife is going to unplug my pump shortly on my sixth session :)

    My Onc is using the Ox (part of the Folfox mix) in only 9 out of 12 in order to reduce the issues regarding neouropathy.  I started mine about 6 weeks after surgery.

    Best wishes for getting well far I have been real lucky with my chemo and I hope eveyone fares as well.  

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    9 for me

    I had 9 sessions, which is what was planned for me from the start. 

    I did go on to have radiation and a six week 24/7 hook-up to 5FU. 

    Welcome to the forum. We are a great bunch of people, and you will gain allot being here. 

    Sue - Tubrit

  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111 Member

    Twelve treatments total; every other week lasting six months seems to be the normal for most people.  You also may have the pump for 48 hours.  Your oncologist will explain all of this to you.   If you have any specific treatment questions, side effect questions, etc. don't hesitate to ask.  People on the board will be very honest.  When my husband was going through treatment we found it to be most helpful to know what to expect than be surprised which can lead to a lot of anxiety.  If you know what to expect you can say yep, that is a normal reaction.   I also want to add that my husband continued to work full time through treatment.  He had less energy and was very tired at the end of the day.  Just thought I would throw that in that you will be able to continue most activities but when your body says slow down then you will need to slow down and the kids will need to know this.  Be honest when you have the whole picture with the kids, they know and sense more than sometimes we give them credit for. 

    Best Wishes as you go forward - Tina

  • John212
    John212 Member Posts: 116 Member
    Cancer Treatment Guidelines

    The National Comprehensive Cancer Network ( includes a resource page showing the standard treatments (as practiced in the U.S.) for most cancers by body site (i.e., lung, colon, breast, etc.). You have to get an account (free) in order to see these treatment pages, but it's a fairly easy process to sign up. When you click on the link for Colon Cancer, you'll find several options. Guidelines lists all the treatments and is pretty technical, and Guidelines for Patients is much more general but includes a lot of really useful information about colon cancer, staging, and treatments.

    What you'll find is that for most cases of Stage 3 Colon Cancer the current standard is 12 treatments of FOLFOX. There is presently a study in process testing whether 6 treatments has the same efficacy as 12, and in fact some patients on this board have reported that their oncologist has recommended 9 treatments as a sort of compromise between 6 and 12. Chemo drugs can be harsh and one long-term goal in cancer research is to reduce the amount of systemic chemotherapy drugs being administered to patients so long as the treatment is equally effective. 

    I hope this has been helpful. If you're looking for more information, just ask. We're here to help.

  • MAliceR
    MAliceR Member Posts: 98

    Welcome. I am very sorry you have a need to find this place, but I have discovered it is a great place to come where you know people understand what you8 are going through.

    To answer your question. I think treatment varies a lot from situation to situation. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer nearly 4 years ago. I had a pretty major surgery where they took out 8 inches of colon, some lymph nodes and my appendix. Once I recovered, I started 12 sessions of chemo. I took an infusion followed by 2 weeks of pills, then a week off and started again. My oncologist felt going with 12 sessions was the best option for recovery. 19 months ago, my scans showed a very small 1/2 nodule in my absominal wall. I had more surgery and this time, was put on a different chemo due to the neuropathy from the last time and also because my oncologist felt it might be more effective. I had another 12 rounds. This time, an infusion followed by 48 hours on a pump, then a week off and then the next session. 

    So I guess to answer your question. My oncologist always goes with the most agressive treatment possible unless there is a major reason not to. I know different oncologists have varying treatment plans. 

    The first round, I got pretty severe neuropathy, but was helped by accupunture. So if you start experiencing it, don't wait until it is too severe. I got about 97% of my feeling back in my hands, legs and feet by starting acupunture early and I continue to have a tune up session every now and again.

    My 2nd session, I didn't get neuropathy, but lost 95% of my hair and was much sicker then the first time. The first time I worked through chemo, just taking the infusion day off. The 2nd time, that would not have been possible. I am glad I had retired by my recurrence. 

    Be sure to talk with your oncologist about neuropathy or any other major side effects you should expect, including level of nausea. Ask what the most sucessful treatment would be for your specific condition and if you don't feel you are getting all the answers, ask for a 2nd opinion. It is your life, you have the right to ask questions. Your Dr. should be working with you not at you. 

    I wish you all the best and hope you will find a home here as you go through your journey. 




  • Maxiecat
    Maxiecat Member Posts: 544 Member
    I had 12 treatments...

    I had 12 treatments... towards the end they had to reduce the oxaliplatin portion becuse of the increasing neuropathy.  Otherwise, I tolerated the treatments pretty well. 

  • Easyflip
    Easyflip Member Posts: 588 Member
    I had

    12. Number 11 the oxy was cut in half and taken out for number 12 because of neuropathy. It didn't work because 9 months later I had a liver met.