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6th Treatment / Need Advice

nudgie's picture
nudgie
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

Was DX in July 06 with Stage II NO/MO Colon Cancer. Tumor removed by surgery on 10 July 06. Started the FLOFOX Treatments on 18 August 06 and have had 6 as of 3 November. Treatment is 5FU, Lec & Oxiplatin. I have had one WBC booster shot of Neulasta on 9 October which did not fair well with me. Ended up in the ER with a fast heart rate of 155. After several discussions with my Onc Doc, it was decided that I would begin a 20% reduction treatment of FLOFOX on my 20 October scheduled treatment. As of 3 November 06 my WBC (infection fighting cells) is at 1.6, so my next scheduled treatment of 17 November looks like it won't happen. WBC's will be low, I am assuming. Since reduction treatment not sure.

Question and advice: Since I will not be taking any WBC booster shots and I have completed by 6th treatment and maybe my 7th in 3 weeks (25 Nov), and from this point on it all depends on my WBC counts, would you continue on a every 3/4 week basis or stop at the 6th / 7th treatment. My husband wants me to complete ALL 12 but without the WBC booster shots and possibility of the RBC booster shots, I don't think I would beable to complete all 12 unless I went to a 3/4 week treatment cycle.

Had anyone else out there stopped halfway through?

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

Hi Nudgie,

You will probably receive lots of replies to this post from advice to STOP THE CHEMO to DON'T STOP!

The answer you are looking for cannot come from this site. You must consult with your medical team, your family and perhaps contact your local ACS chapter to talk to some cancer experts.

Many folks here have stopped their chemo early due to side effects but I think when they did stop early they completely changed their nutritional habits by contacting professional nutritionists and investing a lot of time and money in fighting this disease in an alternative way. Those who quit early and have not had a recurrance and did NOT choose to alter their nutritional habits, in my opinion, were pretty darn lucky.

I am currently finishing my chemo regimen and the side effects have been pretty rough this time around. I am planning to completly revamp eating and living habits once I finish my chemo. I'm a believer in covering all bases!!

It comes down to a decision that you must make with guidance from professionals and your family.

I wish you the very best.

Kerry

betina61's picture
betina61
Posts: 644
Joined: Aug 2006

HI Nudgie,we are both half way to the completion of our treatment I am stage 3 with one positive lymph node, they lowered my dose this last time by 20% due that my plateles were very low , I was already taking the Neulasta, that fortunately I have not experienced any side effects but now they are giving me Neumega that is to increase the platelelets, I have been going everyday since last Saturday for the shot, side effects for this one, swalling of hands and feet and flu like symtoms, I have experienced the flu like symtoms,but not swalling I have the Dr. appt. this coming Friday and I will ask him if I could stop the Neumega, not only for symtoms with runny nose but Is depressing going to the hospital every single day, another thing as the dose is 20 %down from now on, if is possible and advisible to maybe do an extra treatment to make up for that 20 % ,let see what he has to tell me but I am really determined to finish my treatment,so this is my situation but this is something very personal, and talking with your Dr. and believing in him I think is very important,so as you are stage 2 you are in a better position if you decide to stop. Hope that you make a decision that makes you feel confortable. Hugs, Betina

Sunriver's picture
Sunriver
Posts: 50
Joined: Sep 2006

Hi Nudgie,

As you may recall I am also stage II and getting Folfox. I can only tell you what I would do. I decided from the get go that if I was having significant side effects after adjusting dosage and switching drugs where possible I would stop chemo. I don't think there is good data on how much better 12 treatments are than 6, 7, 8 or whatever. Also, I don't want to reduse my quality of life in the future fighting something I may not have. This has been my thinking. As others have said, make the decision that you feel right about and go with it. All the best...Mark

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi Nudgie,
I am also Stage 2 and have completed 9 treatments. I have decided to stop chemo due to side effects and also concern regarding the benefit vs risk. I am ever mindful of Pepperdog's husband's outcome and my body is telling me to stop. I am also reviewing the literature so I am armed when I see my oncologist on Monday. I have cancelled the chemo but am keeping my appt to talk with her. The last time I talked to her she admitted that there is no comparison studies with a lesser amount of chemo ( 3 months etc vs 6 months). It has been the standard to do 6 months. In my review there appears to be only a slight benefit, for Stage 2, with doing the chemo vs not. But for Stage 3 and 4 there appears to be a clear benefit, and it is felt that Stage 2 high-risk patients may have more benefit as well.
Thus, I am making some of the lifestyle changes and will be watched closely and if there is a recurrance will plan to do chemo. I will post a listing of the articles and results, soon I hope, in case it will help others with the decision.

Dick

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

Wow, I am just floored that all of you Stage II patients have been put on such a powerful drug. Things have really changed since I was diagnosed in '02 at which time Stage II patients were not even given chemo at all. When did this change I wonder? At any rate, there are other protocols besides FOLFOX. I was on FOLFIRI once I was determined to be Stage IV which consists of Xeloda and IRINOTECAN also known as Camptosar. I think they dissected my tumor tissue (this was at MD Anderson) and determined that Camptosar worked better for me.
I would ask your doctor if this is an option and maybe you could switch. While I was on that protocol, I had to decrease my Xeloda dosage due to hand and foot syndrome (swelling/blisters).
Honestly, I know cancer can return in a Stage II patient, but it is unlikely I would say.......I would ask what the stats are, what the advantage of being on chemo is (probably like 5%) and then maybe get a second opinion at this point.
I know your husband is probably thinking that since you've already done 7 you ought to go on and finish, you've already invested this much. But, is it statistically necessary?
Maybe he could go along w/ you when you ask these questions.
Good luck to you Nudgie with whatever you may decide to do!
Susan H.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

nudgie -

The good news is you were stage II with no nodes and no mets. Back in the day, they didn't even bother doing chemo on someone in that situation. I was somewhere between stage II and stage III due to my tumors' growth so I got only 5FU/LU. I think I'm dating myself!

The better news is that FOLFOX has incredible first line results for stage II folks.

Kerry, however, is right. You're not going to find your answer about STOP/DON'T STOP here on this board. And your husband loves you and wants you to keep pushing because he wants that assurance that you won't be missing out on something that will help you. It's easier for him to want it because he's not the one with his head in the toilet and his throat doesn't sieze-up when drinks a glass of iced tea. I am going to tell you the same thing I told Scouty a couple of years ago... listen to your inner voice. What's it saying to you? Get the facts - not the emotions - and let your inner voice be your guide. Only you will know what's best for you.

Know that, whatever your decision, there are dozens of people here who will stand behind you and support you along whichever path you choose.

Cheers

- SB

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Yes Nudgie,

I stopped chemo after 8 months of it (folfox with avastin since I was stage 4 with mets to liver and left lung). With the multiple mets, i was not a candidate for surgery so I started with the "full body attack of chemo". After a bout of acute peritonitis 4 months earlier that almost killed and losing 25 pounds during that 3 weeks in the hospital, my body could not tolerate any more of the chemo. I knew it inside just as SB says.

BUT, I also knew that I couldn't just sit and wait for the cancer to kill me so I made HUGE and SIGNIFICANT lifestyles and (knock on wood), I am NED today. My last chemo treatment was 2 years ago!!!!!!!

Get out a piece of paper and lists the pros and cons of each side, that will make your decision so much easier.

Lisa P.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Oh, sweetie, I cannot add much. But I want to share something one of my nurses said to me...

"Whatever your decision, it is the right decision. NEVER go back and second guess it. It is the best decision for you, for that time".

I was stage III rectal, but wierd cancer. I got NO post-surgery chemo, but my pre-surgical stuff completely eliminated the cancer. I have changed my diet to much healthier (with a little naughtiness now and again). And LOTS of WATER.

Hugs, Kathi

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Kathi -

How many times do I have to explain to you, daughter, that while beer is made WITH water, it is NOT the same a drinking water...

Sheesh... KIDS...

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