A little confused

Cornelius57
Cornelius57 Member Posts: 4
edited July 2015 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

I had my first consult with my chemo and radiation docs. Im to have 30 treaments of rad, but they offered me 3 treatments of chemo and said it was optional. Thay said the chemo only offered 5% effectiveness. My iniatial reaction is to take the 5% and be happy. Im looking for other opinions and comments. See my profile for history , sugery etc.

Comments

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    welcome

    C57,

    You need radiation to kill the cancer but it is often said here that the chemo sets the cancer cells up for destruction.  Also, in many instances chemo alone will reduce the size of tumors

    you may also want to seek out a second opinion. At minimum, your doctor should be able to explain everything to you in layman’s terms.

    Once you get over this hurdle you’ll be on your way. It may be confusing at first but you get smart fast.  Many people take an extra set of ears to all appointments, I know I did.

    Good luck,

    Matt.

     

  • rcaulder
    rcaulder Member Posts: 70
    Chemo

    I just finished 35 radiation to my throat  Wednesday and 5 Erbitux. Erbitux is not technicaly a chemo. It does bind to the cancer cells and enhances the radiation destruction to the cell. I really didn't have an option of not having a chemo or Erbitux. I had mets to a lymph node. Sometimes they want to use chemo to get any cells that have escaped the primary site. If your gut is telling you something. Get a second opinion. Personaly my second opinion was full faith and trust in God and what He was telling my gut. I then Trusted that He lead me to the right Dr's. I wish I didn't have to do the Erbitux. Radiation kicked my butt by itself. I am still sick from it. I still have Erbitux side effects.  But, if you are a prayer. Give it to God. He will help you make a decision.   I like to say, I had three things working on my cancer. God, radiation, and medicine. It may take one or a combination of all three to beat it. But one of those will never let me down. 

  • fishmanpa
    fishmanpa Member Posts: 1,227 Member
    It Depends....

    On whether or not you have nodes involved and if they're extracapsular or not... at least from my experience. When I went for my 2nd opinion at Johns Hopkins, it was recommended that I get a selective neck dissection to remove the cancerous nodes. If the nodes were encapsulated, then radiation would be the treatment. The results of the surgery showed otherwise so chemo was added to the treatment regime. I ended up with 30 rads and 6 weekly Cisplatin treatments. I'm NED two+ years from treatment. If there's a 1% chance that the cancer is traveling through your body, then chemo is added insurance that they get any minions that may cause you issues down the line. Three treatments is not that much more to deal with in the big picture.

    Positive thoughts and prayers.

    "T"

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    They gave you good advice

    I only have one question. Were you HPV+ and if so I would do the chemo as it works better with HPV+ meaning you get better results. It worhs with HPV- as well, just better with +. If you do go with the chemo see if you can do the low dose and just more of them. It seams to have lower side effects.

    Bill

  • ratface
    ratface Member Posts: 1,337 Member
    wmc said:

    They gave you good advice

    I only have one question. Were you HPV+ and if so I would do the chemo as it works better with HPV+ meaning you get better results. It worhs with HPV- as well, just better with +. If you do go with the chemo see if you can do the low dose and just more of them. It seams to have lower side effects.

    Bill

    What are your staging numbers?

    Ask your doctor for your staging numbers, it's a little formula with letters and numbers. It will tell you all the charectreristics of your particular cancer. My guess is that it's a favorable diagnosis as far as this stuff is concerned. You then make a risk/assestment decision based on treatment vs. side effects and long term side effects. What type of chemo is also important to know as Platnium based chemos have more side effects long term. All that said I would personally acceapt the risks of any chemo for a 5% chance increase in survival. You also have to take your present health into account. It sounds like you can stand the chemo and that they think you can stand it becuase of the dosage frequency planned. All the best in your decision making.

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
    i absolutely hate it when a

    i absolutely hate it when a doctor, the medical PROFESSIONAL, leaves such a decision up to us, who have no medical knowledge!!!  now, with that said, if it were me, I'd do chemo.  I was told the first time that it would be overkill and therefore not needed.  Well, 2.5 yrs later, RECURRENCE!  I will always wonder if it would have come back had i received Chemo.  so, my opinion, why take the chance, hit it with everything.  but, like i said, i'm just a patient with no medical training.........lol.  Good luck.

    God bless you,

    dj