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Recurrence, that dreaded word

Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi all,

Sorry my question on vaginal bleeding got posted 3 times - don't know what happened there. Anyway, turns out my Stage IC cancer has recurred only 3 months after finishing chemo. My doc feels it was resistant to the carbo/taxol, and the tumor (walnut-sized already) is wedged in between my bladder and my rectum. For this reason, he's recommending 4-5 weeks of daily radiation therapy. I know this is not a standard treatment for OVCA, but he feels it's warranted here to save me from having to undergo re-sectioning surgery. Then maybe chemo after, with another drug, of course.

Anybody have any experience with radiation? So short a recurrence time?

You are all such role models for me in courage and determination. This is just devastasing news - I weathered the original dx much better. I just have to get more years for my 11 and 14 year old boys. . . .

Also, do any of you belong to a live support group, and does that help any?


Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

No experience but thoughts and prayers go out to you. I have a cancer parent going thru probably the last weeks of his life. As he has always been strong to me a hero to me...when my parent got cancer is when I was scared he would appear weak to me as he got sick.....since he got cancer he has never been stronger...and more of a hero to me. My heart goes out to you. MAKE YOUR KIDS SEE YOU STRONG. MY PRAYERS ARE FOR YOU TO BE STRONG.

Posts: 650
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Jeanne,

You should be able to remove postings that you didn't mean to make-if you look at the icons at the lowere left corner of postings you've made, you should see a trash can-if you click on it, it will eliminate the message.

I belong to a support group and find it helpful. Just the thought of having cancer is scary, so talking with other OVCA women is a comfort, because they'll know just what you're feeling. I haven't seen any tears in my group, other than my own when I confessed to them how scared I was. I think all of them had higher stages than me, also, so I've heard discussions about different treatments they're having, or have had. I highly recommend you get in touch with one!

A uterine cancer survivor could maybe give you some views on radiation, if you have questions about it. Although I had uterine in addition to ovarian cancer, it was never suggested for me.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

My mom is in the same boat I think. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in Feb 03. They eventually decided it was stage one--only in one ovary, no where else. Now, it is Sept 04 and they have found that she has recurrent ovarian cancer in her lymph nodes in the abdominal area. In addition, it is causing her kidney to be enlarged and she is now on a morphine drip because her pain is so great. It seems difficult to get any answers. We have waited all weekend to hear from her oncologist. She had a bone scan this am and is supposed to talk to the oncologist today. We all thought we were so blessed to have caught it so early. We never expected this. My prayers are with you

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 538
Joined: May 2001

Patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, it is often difficult to select an effective treatment because the tumor develops resistance to many drugs. Currently, physicians select a drug and must wait about six months to see whether it is effective on a particular patient. For many cancers, especially after a relapse or when a particular treatment is ineffective, more than one standard treatment exists.

All the rigorous clinical trials that have been identified are the "best" treatments for the "average" patient. This has been referred to as the lowest common denominator theory of cancer treatment. But cancer is not an "average" disease. Cancer is far more heterogeneous in response to various individual drugs than are bacterial infections.

The heterogeneity of human cancer is shown both by the fact that some patients derive great benefit from treatments which fail to help (and often harm) the majority of patients who receive the treatment. And many patients fail to benefit from 1st line chemotherapy, only to derive great benefit from 2nd or even 3rd line chemotherapy. These patients should have received the correct treatment the first time around. The earlier in the course of the disease that the most active treatment is given, the better the result for the patient.

Chemosensitivity testing can help physicians predict whether a patient will respond to a specific drug, much like they test bacteria for sensitivity to antibiotics, called Bacterial Culture and Sensitivity Testing. Chemosensitivity testing is an attempt to do something similar for cancer. Fresh samples of the patient's tumor from surgery or a biopsy are grown in test tubes and tested with various drugs. Drugs that are most effective in killing the cultured cells are recommended for treatment. It is highly desirable to know what drugs are effective against your particular cancer cells before highly-toxic agents are systemically administered to your body.

It is true that what happens in the lab is not necessrily what happens in the patient. Individual testing of patients are not scale models of chemotherapy in the patient, anymore than the barometric pressure is a scale model of the weather. But it's always more likely to rain when the barometer is falling than when it is rising, and chemotherapy is more likely to work in the patient when it kills the patient's cancer cells in the laboratory. It's no different than any other medical test in this regard.

Assay-testing is based on a biological principle that when a drug is effective, it will induce apoptosis (cell death) in the cancer cell. If the cancer cell is resistant to a drug, apoptosis will not occur. Assay-testing for apoptosis will determine whether a drug kills the tumor. Chemosensitivity testing (assay-testing) can take the guesswork out of cancer treatment. Patients with refractory cancer and have very limited time left, six months can feel like an eternity when they may have to start a whole new course of treatment if the original treatment proves ineffective.

The cell culture assay tests provide much more powerful prognostic information. They tell you that a given form of treatment has an above average probability of being associated with a clinical response and/or with being associated with above average survival. Likewise, they indicate that given treatment is associated with a below average probability of response and/or survival.

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2003

I am new to this area of the internet. However, I've been battling this ovca since Sep '98. I've been put on most of the drugs available for this cancer. I've had my 2nd surgery in Feb. While removing a mass in my lower abdomen, the Dr found an invasive cancer within the abdomen walls. This cannot be removed. I can feel the mass which fells very hard. There is pain at times but nothing I cannot cope with. We are now waiting to see what my Dr can put me on to slow down this growth.The surgeon apologized for not being able to remove this "orange". From the time I was diagnosed I have told everyone that this is something I'll beat. It's not going to take me down. To all the survivors, I wish you well.

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