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Stg IV - Any Luck with Paclitaxel & Carboplatin?

molse
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2007

My father is newly diagnosed with Stage IV Non-small cell carcinome/lung cancer. This is inoperable, but he is looking to start chemo early next week. Was hoping someone had some success with the same combination of Paclitaxel & Carboplatin. Also, any advice to offer on dealing with side effects?

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

Paclitaxel & Carboplatin, plus Tarceva was my treatment. I had very good results. You can live with this disease. Many on here are proof of that. I sent you a private message.

Stay positive,

Ernie

mamasgirlbx
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2006

Hey Ernie.. did you take the Tarceva at the same time? My mom just finished 2 (6 week) cycles of chemo (carbo/taxol) along with radiation. The radiation therapist says I should speak to the onc about Tarceva as well.

Also, I am getting some conflicting information about testing after treatment. (My mom's insurance has her with some terrible docs). The oncologist originally told us that they have to wait 3 months after chemo to do a CT/PET scan to see if it worked. Then another doc in the same office scheduled her to have a CT Scan next week. What gives? I'm so confused...

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello molse,

My mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 NSCLC - adenocarcinoma. The cancer metastasized as far as to the hip bone. In 6 months of treatment with strictly Paclitaxel (Taxol) and Carboplatin, the primary tumor shrunk by two-thirds, cancer cells were eliminated from the lymph nodes and the hip and the cancer presence in the lung linings was reduced. She's now on Avastin with Taxol and Carbo every 3 weeks from my request.

With the side effects, they took a little longer than most with the loss of hair, the slight numbness in the fingertips and toes and the low blood count. No nausea though. All in all, the side effects aren't too bad. The red blood and white blood cells are boosted with shots.

For most of the chemo treatments, my mom's therapy was supplemented with garlic, selenium and vitamin D - along with regular consumption of cruciferous veggies.

I've read that D-fraction, which is a maitake mushroom extract, helps in boosting the immune system and preventing some of the side effects. My mom has started on D-fraction recently and she has reported that she feels better (when the effusion has been the lingering presence). Should you like to give it a try for your father, get the MD-fraction instead. It's supposed to be the more pure form of maitake extract. I got the D-fraction before I realized that.

Be proactive in your father's medical treatments and condition. Learn what you can of the latest news about chemo combinations or medical options so you can to discuss with your father's oncologist.

Good luck to your father. There is hope.

molse
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2007

Thanks Kaitek -

Your advice couldn't have come at a better time. My father received his first round of chemo this AM, and our entire family was holding their breath. He's been getting so sick, and feeling so crumby lately that we didn't know how he would react to a blast of chemo. Much to our surprise, his attitude has been absolutely amazing since the chemo treatment ended this afternoon. I will pass this note on to him as I'm sure it will cheer him up. I'll continue to post updates until I can get Dad up to speed with how to use this website:)

Thanks!

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Molse,

That's wonderful to hear your dad has felt better with just one chemo round. Keep up the good attitude and support. Your father having a strong support system will greatly help him get through the treatments and ease the fear of the disease. Always stay positive and never let him sense you're worried. He will feed off the optimism of everyone around him. I read somewhere recently that survival is bolstered by the love and support around a cancer patient. I don't know how factual that supposition is but it definitely helps in the emotional health of the patient.

My additional advice is to keep a record of how your father is progressing - physically and emotionally - so you have concrete evidence that the chemo is working when you have absence of any immediate CT or PET scans. The clinical observations may even trump CT scans that may not show any significant improvement, which was my mother's case. (PET scans are much more precise.) It won't be in your father's head when he knows he is coughing less or he feels less pain in wherever the cancer has metastasized. Those improvements will indicate the chemo is working. Other conditions to look for is his energy level, weight stability, appetite (loss of appetite as you may know is symptomatic of cancer), etc.

Encourage your dad to join the chats. This board has dropped a lot in activity but I'd think the chats should be still active. Sometimes he may want to talk to others in the same boat as he.

Yes, please post updates and feel free to ask any questions.

scarlet25
Posts: 12
Joined: Mar 2007

My mom was diagnosed on March 3 2007, with uterine cancer (adenocarcinoma), metastases to the vagina, lungs, pelvic bone and tail bone. She was treated for sciatica, 5 days later returned to ER, at that time was diagnosed . The only symptoms she had was hip/groin pain. She hasn't lost any weight, and otherwise, looks very healthy. We are all shocked and just now starting to get used to this diagnosis. I am trying to learn as much as I can about her cancer and searching for any stories of hope. My mom is amazing, and so positive.

She started chemo, taxol and carboplatin this past Monday, 3/19/07. She will have a 2nd cycle on April 10 and be re-evaluated at the end of April. She didn't feel so well Wed-Friday, but started feeling better on the weekend. Her appetite decreased, but in the past 2 days she is eating more. She had acupuncture today to help her w/ anxiety, and sleeping. She isn't nauseaus but has heartburn and seems to burp up everything that she eats. She is very tired and her groin area is causing her much pain. She vomits from the pain meds, so after trying about 6 different ones, she has decided to stop the pain meds. The doctors are hoping the pain will decrease as the chemo takes effect.

All of your info is interesting and helpful. It is helpful to read that you are positive and seeing results. My mom has much support and love around her. She hasn't felt many side effects yet, hasn't lost her hair, or experienced tingling/numbness in her hands/feet.
Where do you get the MD fraction? Have the doctors said it is okay to use during chemo? I am researching all I can about my mom's cancer and learning so much. For now, we will wait to see how she reacts to this chemo combo. We are praying it is working. We'll know more at the end of April. If anyone knows of anything to help with the heartburn, please post, this information will be helpful for my mom.
This site helps me to not feel so alone and to have hope for stage IV cancers.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Scarlet25,

Your mother is a real trooper battling the metastases she has.

People's reactions to chemo are different. I was told that if there was any nausea, it would come on from the night of to a few days after chemo. My mother has never been nauseous or felt awful after chemo. This brings up an approach to chemo dosage and frequency you or your mother might want to discuss with the oncologist. My mom receives her chemo infusion every week. I had read a news article that a study found lower dosage but with more frequency had better survival rates (don't hold me to the exact details or specifics). The weekly frequency is enough to keep an ongoing attack on the cancer cells without time for their recovery. Plus, with the lower dosage, it can be better tolerated. I think that is the case for my mom.

In light of the news about Elizabeth Edwards, other cancer stories have been published. I read of a cancer patient battling pancreatic cancer (the most deadly cancer) who was given only 6 months to live. He went to a cancer center that took the novel protocol of lower dosage/frequent treatments in combination with naturopathy (diet management). From that therapy, he has survived pancreatic cancer for 2-1/2 years so far. The main theme of the article was the newer approach, which hasn't been embraced by the mainstream yet.

For me, it makes sense with the frequency such that I wouldn't want to go several weeks without chemo. If I weren't tolerating the chemo well, I'd go for a lower dose.

You say that your mom is receiving acupunture for the anxiety and sleep, but has she considered it for pain management? Acupuncture isn't well-received (or I should say hasn't been completely embraced) by the medical establishment, but it's indisputable acupuncture is effective to relieve pain. Just be sure you go to a well-qualified and skilled acupuncturist.

It is important that your mom eat well with enough intake of protein and nutrients. Staying well nourished will help with her energy and stamina.

I got D-fraction from an online vitamin supplier. I won't cite the company so as not to violate any spamming. But you can easily find one in a search, especially with those shopping comparison sites that will find the lowest prices. I'm very satisfied with the online purchase: the cost was affordable and the shipment was fast.

I haven't discussed the maitake mushroom with my mother's oncologist. He's pretty open with our supplements (with the last time our discussing about soy milk, which he wasn't opinionated about). The maitake mushrooms don't interfere with the chemo, from what I read. It's supposed to enhance chemo.

It's good you're learning as much as possible. It'll lessen any feelings of helplessness and distress you might have from dealing with such a formidable disease.

This site lists the latest news on chemo drugs and studies that helps you stay informed about treatment options, from where you can discuss further with your oncologist. It has been extremely helpful to me to not only have more confidence about the conventional therapy my mom is receiving but be abreast of more effective drugs or treatment combinations. I have it bookmarked to cancer news on NSCLC, but anyone can click on the other links for the webpage more related to your cancer type.

http://www.ufscc.ufl.edu/Patient/cancernews.aspx?section=cancernews&cid=70

Offhand, I don't have any suggestions to relieve the heartburn. If nobody has any recommendations, there are a lot of sites on the web that addresses the other symptoms. You may be able to find a solution there.

Good luck to your mom. She's lucky to have you support her.

ernrol's picture
ernrol
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

I was diagnosed in July 2005, stage IV lung cancer with a pleural effusion. I was told it was inoperable and that there is no cure. I take most of the things that Kaitek talked about plus some others. I have no bad side effects and I feel great. I never had a sick day through all of my treatment. Maybe you would be interested in the things I did. I took a lot of supplements and other things, and still do you can read my story posted on Lung Cancer Support Communitys web site along with a lot of the things I did and still do. This link will take you to the web site:

http://lchelp.org/l_community/viewtopic.php?t=25376

After you read my story you will be able to contact me through that web site.

Stay positive,

Ernie:

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