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Mom starting Chemo

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2007

My Mom was diagnosed with Advanced Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. Both lungs, tumor on spine, rib, femer and liver. She received 10 radiation treatments for the tumor on her spine. It was narrowing her spinal canal and causing her great pain. The pain has now reduced tremendously, more just stiffness. My Mom 70 years old and in otherwise excellent health was a smoker. She goes to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL for treatment. Now the doctor wants to start her in a Phase II Clinical Trial of Combination Carboplatin, Paclitaxel, Cetuximab and Bevacizumab.
Any thoughts on this combination of chemo?
I am also hearing a lot about Tarceva? Is this more successful?
Has anyone heard of the Block Medical Center (Evanston, IL)? They provide nutritional planning.
My Mom is going to the doctor tomorrow 1/9/07 regarding starting this chemo treatment.
Thank you all.

reinstones1's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi. The last 2 drugs you mentioned are Erbitux and Avastin-- I've heard both mentioned, but neither was used for my Mom's chemo. Avastin is contraindicated for patients on bloodthinners (which my Mom takes). I'm not sure about Erbitux.

My Mom's 1st line chemo was with Taxol and Carboplatin, the first 2 drugs you mentioned (paclitaxel is also called Taxol). It's an aggressive form of treatment, very often used for first line chemotherapy. My Mom is now taking Alimta for 2nd line treatment.

I will have you and your Mom in my thoughts, and wish her the very best of luck with her treatment.

Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2006

How did your mother do on the Taxol and Carboplatin? My mom just started that chemo last week and I'm curious. Is your Mom's cancer in remission? How is she doing? I am so new to this and just trying to learn as much as I can from "real people". Thanks!

reinstones1's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi-- well, she did pretty well. She had all the classic side effects-- she lost all her hair, and had a reasonable amount of nausea which she said she was able to manage pretty well with Compazine (anti-nausea meds). She had carbo/Taxol from January-May 2006, and although it didn't shrink her tumors (R lung), she did remain stable throughout the treatment (meaning, no tumor growth, no worsening of symptoms). As soon as treatment ended, her pleural effusion returned, so she was started on 2nd line treatment with Alimta immediately. Alimta is supposed to be much more easily tolerated, with fewer side effects, but my Mom has found it worse than it was with the carbo/Taxol. It's possible that she just feels worse because she's had 12 straight months of chemo and the cumulative effects are wearing her down, but she thinks the Alimta makes her feel worse.

Her hair grew back after stopping the Carbo/Taxol, and we had a wonderful summer during the time that she started receiving the Alimta. She felt pretty good, had energy, and was able to do a lot of routine things.

Things haven't been so good in the last month-- she's been very sick, worn down, and absolutely NO energy or appetite. I'm very worried at the moment.

No, her cancer is not in remission. They've never used that word with my Mom-- only "stable". And "stable" is also a good thing to hear. At least you know that everything isn't going to hell.

I have you and your Mom in my thoughts.


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