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Missed Chemo Treatments

JenniV
JenniV Member Posts: 10
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Hi everyone! I have a question about Chemo treatments and I hope that you can help me. My mom is currently undergoing Folfox (4- I think) every other week for 4 months to treat stage III rectal cancer. She had surgery in May to remove the tumor and was found to have 9/16 positive nodes. Anyway, we had her treatment schedule mapped out on our calendars, but now have found this was the wrong thing to do. Due to low counts (something different every week) she has had to hold off on several treatments. At one point she didn't get a treatment for 5 weeks.

My question is this: How does this "break" affect the effectiveness of the chemo? Is the chemo still working in her system even though she is not getting it? Or will it be less effective?

Thanks in advance for any info you can give.

Comments

  • spongebob
    spongebob Member Posts: 2,565
    Hi, JenniV -

    Quick answer: yes and yes.

    It is not uncommon at all for folks to either have to skip one or more treatments - especially as the regime wears on. that's because the meds tend to build up in the system and exacerbate the side effects.

    Since the meds have built-up in the system they are still working.

    Of course, if you don't keep adding to the meds, their relative strength is diminished and they are not delivering as much of a punch as they would had you not missed a treatment or two (or five) - BUT, the meds are working.

    Sometimes the dosage can be attenuated down to better match a person's size/frame or their tolerance to the meds. Other times they can give other meds that help mitigate the side-effects (neutrina, procrit, transfusions, etc)and sometimes they can change meds to something that is not necessarily weaker, but better tolerated by the patient.

    Rest assured the chemo is still busy at work working on getting your mom better.

    Hang in there.

    Cheers

    - SpongeBob
  • SpongeBob said it all. I was asking the same questions months ago when my mom had to miss several treatments in her clinical trial program for lung cancer and was assured that it's not at all uncommon for people to skip treatments, get adjusted doses, etc. and that yes, the meds are still working...in some cases, for quite some time after chemo stops.

    Monika
  • kangatoo
    kangatoo Member Posts: 2,105
    unknown said:

    SpongeBob said it all. I was asking the same questions months ago when my mom had to miss several treatments in her clinical trial program for lung cancer and was assured that it's not at all uncommon for people to skip treatments, get adjusted doses, etc. and that yes, the meds are still working...in some cases, for quite some time after chemo stops.

    Monika

    Hiya Jen--ditto to the above. It is also worth remembering that they monitor bloods to not only determine how things are progressing but also to allow them to deal with side effects and other possible complications. Chemo puts us in a position of a real risk of infections--simple things like a common cold "could" play havoc with a person on chemo.
    That is why hygiene is important and personal contact with anyone with ilness is to be avoided.
    lotsa luv n huggs--kanga n Jen
  • JenniV
    JenniV Member Posts: 10
    Thank you all so much for the information. That is pretty much what I thought, but I just wanted to be sure. We found out that she had to miss another treatment yesterday. So, it has been 3 weeks since her last one. They had decreased her dossage by 25%, but the numbers keep going down. Hopefully by next week her body will be ready again.

    It is a little tough on us all as we are all looking forward to getting past this. She really just wants to get the treatments done and move on. With her numbers so low, she hasn't been working (She works with the public).

    Anyway, again, thanks so much for the information. It is much appreciated!