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Xeloda follow-up treatment

Billy45
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2005

In April and May, I underwent chemotherapy (5-FU, administered through a PICC line and a continuous pump) along with radiation treatment to reduce the size of a large rectal tumor. I had surgery (Abdominal Perineal Resection) on June 3. The pathology report stated there was no evidence of cancer in the lymph or vascular system, so essentially, I am cancer-free at this point, thank God. My chemotherapy doctor told me I have a 10 to 20 percent chance of the cancer returning and wants me to take Xeloda to improve my odds. I'm looking for second and third opinions about taking the drug. Could anyone with knowledge about Xeloda give me some feedback? Is it worth taking? Thanks very much. Billy Haake

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Billy,

I am on Xeloda right now as a maintenance program. My last 3 scans came back "normal", so the doctor put me on Xeloda and Celebrex combination. I have had my dosage reduced a couple of times due to side effects, but overall, side effects have been very mild. I have experienced NO nausea, very little fatigue - so that is all good.

The primary side effect that I have experienced is rough peeling skins on hands and feet, mostly on the feet and my big toenails have come up from the nail beds. I had to have one nail surgically removed to keep it from getting infected. The other one is doing ok. Believe me I have been very vain in the past, having regular manicures and pedicures - right now my feet are a mess, but if this regimen keeps the cancer away - to heck with toenails.

Be sure to let your doctor know if your hands and feet get sore or peel badly - they can reduce the dosage to where you can handle it.

Good luck - Taking chemo in pill form is sure a lot easier......

Kerry

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Billy,
My background is similar to yours. Diagnosed with low rectal tumour, chemoradiation then surgery (APR). I did have one affected lymph node. I had postsurgical chemo -- 5FU based. I understand this was to kill any micrometastises (cancer cells undetectable by any method) which might be in the body. I was glad I did that. I was happy to put up with the downside, in order to significantly increase my chances of survival.
Unfortunately, 2 years after my original surgery, a very small tumour was found in my lung. I had surgery to remove that, and am now on 6 months of FOLFOX (oxaliplatin plus 5FU plus leucovorin). Xeloda is the "liquid form" of 5FU.
I'm afaid I don't have any direct experience with Xeloda. I coped very well with the 5FU after my first surgery -- had some mild nausea and mild fatigue but not bad at all. I'm doing fine with this current chemo too (other than low white cell count).
Good luck with your decision and don't hesitate to write again.

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Tara,

Xeloda is the PILL form of 5FU.

Kerry

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Personally, I hated Xeloda. I had the similar symptoms that Kerry described. I have been told that an anti-inflammatory such as Celebrex could have helped w/ these side effects. It was not the fact that I had ugly feet that upset me, it was just that I could not go backpacking and my feet would get blisters like really badly. I could still do day hikes, but it really diminished my "quality of life". I would not want to do it again and IMO if you did not have any lymph node involvement I would be reluctant to do chemo at all. See what the other two docs think. I think a second and third opinion is a very good idea. Ultimately the decision is up to you. Xeloda does not make you sick or anything like that, it just makes you feel kinda wierd and the foot thing. If you are not a runner or a hiker, then it might not be so bad. Good luck to you! Susan.

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shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

You could always give it a go, and if you hate it, then quit...... I am now on Celebrex as a maintenance drug because my tumor was "cox-2 dependant". I don't particularly like being on any drug, but in this case, I am willing to do it for now.....I don't know when I will go off it.
Maybe you would not have any side effects!

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