Wife with cheek carcinoma

Wife was diagnosed with cheek cancer stage 4 (2 nodes involved). At age 80 decided against radical surgery and decided to go the chemo /radiation route. 6 weeks chemo followed by 7 weeks of chemo/radiation. Just finished week 4 with no significant side effects--according to her. No feeding tube but mainly Ensure diet. Anyone else gone this route and when do you know whether it's working or not. Any tests etc.? She is also a Crohns patient.

Comments

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    how to measure progress
    Vandyike,

    As best that I can say, they generally do not check (absolute) progress until anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks after the completion of treatments. The use of PET scans and CT scans is the normal path to detection of areas of concern. A scan conducted during the middle of treatments would really light up, possibly give many false positives. I am sure in many cases; positive progress is measured by the reduction in size of known problem areas. I have heard it from people here, on this site that tumors are shrinking, I suppose it is their doctor telling them that.

    Best,

    Matt
  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    CivilMatt said:

    how to measure progress
    Vandyike,

    As best that I can say, they generally do not check (absolute) progress until anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks after the completion of treatments. The use of PET scans and CT scans is the normal path to detection of areas of concern. A scan conducted during the middle of treatments would really light up, possibly give many false positives. I am sure in many cases; positive progress is measured by the reduction in size of known problem areas. I have heard it from people here, on this site that tumors are shrinking, I suppose it is their doctor telling them that.

    Best,

    Matt

    Tests
    My ONC said they do not do any tests until 12 weeks after chemo/rad because there is too much interference. My surgeon moved mine up to 10 weeks out of treatment when I will have a CT with contrast.
    During the treatment you just pray & trust it is working. God bless your wife in her recovery.
  • Tim6003
    Tim6003 Member Posts: 1,514 Member
    hwt said:

    Tests
    My ONC said they do not do any tests until 12 weeks after chemo/rad because there is too much interference. My surgeon moved mine up to 10 weeks out of treatment when I will have a CT with contrast.
    During the treatment you just pray & trust it is working. God bless your wife in her recovery.

    Hi Vand ...
    My lymph node (I was base of tongue stage III with one lymph node involved) started to shrink right at the end of treatments (if her lymph node is swollen you can feel, monitor that for results) ...my BOT tumor was 1.5 cm they said, and my lymph node was under 3cm...

    I too did not have sugery (was not offered that as a treatment plan) I only had radiation and Erbitux.

    You did not say if your wife's cancer was HPV+?

    As others stated, they will not do another scan until 3 months out from her last radiation treatment.

    I'm sure you have been told this...but radiation is worst (everybody is different) towards the end and for about a month or two after the last radiation ..so just be prepared for that and be sure she does her swallow exercises and eats all she can while she is able to do so to keep her weight on...

    Bless you wife and you ...we are with you as you take this journey!

    Best,

    Tim