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trinick
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2007

I was diagnosed with NSCLC Stage 4 on Feb 2006. I've had the Taxol/Carbo/Avastin rounds, then was on Avastin alone. Am now on Tarceva. I've tolerated my chemo pretty well, I've had more side effects with the Tarceva than the IV meds. My cancer is inoperable and has mets to both my lungs. Anyone has any suggestions for complementary alternatives?

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Trinick,

I'm gathering from your second-line of treatment with Tarceva there was no reduction in your cancer? How long have you been on Tarceva? Did you have any nose bleeds from Avastin?

My suggestion about complementary supplements would be such in no particular order (with the caveat you should research and read up more about the supplements and talk them over with your oncologist):

1. Since you're not on standard chemo anymore, I don't think you have to be concerned with the antioxidant counter-effects to chemo. So try eating a raw, minced garlic clove (after letting it rest for about 10 or 15 minutes) daily. At a minimum, have 5 garlic cloves a week. Be careful if you're scheduled for surgery. Garlic has an anti-clotting effect and may affect bleeding post-op.

2. Walnuts have two apparent anti-cancer components: melatonin and ellagic acid. I'm not too sure about melatonin's effects. With ellagic acid, it inhibits growth of cancer cells and promotes natural cell death (apoptosis). It may prevent the formation of new blood vessels, which cancer cells are dependent on for growth. Ellagic acid is actually most prevalent in raspberries. It isn't affected by temperature so any processed raspberries will have the same potency.

3. Capaicin (in chilies and hot peppers): This component starves cancer cells of oxygen, resulting in apoptosis, and interferes with the energy source of cancer cells.

4. Cruciferous vegetables have a multitude of ingredients that are powerful against cancer initiating apoptosis and sparking phase 2 enzymes that inhibits tumor formation. Radish and broccoli are two of the vegetables in the family with the highest concentrations of sulfurophane and isiothiocyanate. Heat does weaken those components so cook them lightly (steaming and stir-frying are good cooking methods, with microwaving the most destructive). And eating the cruciferous vegetables with a selenium source is 13 times more potent than the vegetable alone. Tomatoes are also a boosting combination, too. (You can drink a cup of V8 with your meals.)

Recommended minimu is 2 or more 1/2 cup servings a week.

5. Maitake mushrooms stimulate the immune system and resists some of the chemo side effects. It reportedly also activates cells to attack the cancerous cells. MD-fraction is supposedly the most pure extract of maitake mushrooms, but D-fraction will do.

6. Turmeric (curcumin) increases apoptosis and blocks cancer-causing enzymes. The recommended dosage is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day.

7. Soy has genistein that prevents new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and reduces tyrosine kinase which activates cell growth. There is a lot of literature that warns against non-fermented soy products (e.g., soy milk, tofu, etc.), which ends up confusing me. You'll have to decide if soy is for you or skip it altogether.

There are a lot more other food and supplements reported to aid in the fight against cancer. You may want to search more on your own. Again, please research further on the cancer-fighting foods I've listed for your own consideration. I don't want to come off as a snake-oil salesperson selling a cure-all potion.

Much luck to you and I hope Tarceva and any complementary treatment work for you. Best wishes.

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:

CinciRick's picture
CinciRick
Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi TriNick,
I can't offer much help, but it is interesting to hear from someone almost in the same boat. I was diagnosed NSCLC Stage 4 April 2006. I did the Gemzar/Carbo, Tacreva, and Taxol/Avastin. I reacted so bad to the TARCEVA I was only on it for 9 days. I did a lot of research and found they think they have a fix for the TARCEVA side effects but it may not be ready for sale until 2008. Here is a link to the company that thinks they have something to help with the side effects. If you are on TARCEVA for a long time you may want to keep up with their progress.
http://www.hanabiosciences.com/press-releases/101606.pdf
They are testing a topical cream with Vitamin K3 (Menadione). I wasted countless hours searching the internet for a source of this man-made vitamin but could not get any. Apparently it is safe in a topical cream but if taken by mouth it is deadly so it is banned in the USA.
I have read great things about Tarceva but it only works for some people. My reaction was the worst case of acne and sunburn at the same time. It hurt just to take a shower. If your side effects from TARCEVA are really bad, there is a test a lab can perform to determine if your tumor is a likely candidate to benefit from TARCEVA. The test was expensive, $1600 I think, but the insurance company approved it. $1600 is cheaper than a month of Tarceva.
If anyone is interested I can look up the details about the test. I think there is only one lab in the country that can do the test, and they would require a sample from the lab where they did your original biopsy. I don't remember very well now, but I think they said they needed a sample from before you started chemo to be able to do the test.
News article about test: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=18419
Sorry for rambling on so long. I hope the Tarceva works for you. Bye

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi all,

I want to add to the laboratory testing for the effectiveness of Tarceva. Specifically, they look for the EGFR mutation, which shows the tumor has the growth receptor that Tarceva blocks. Those with the EGFR mutation have a significantly higher chance of responding to Tarceva. The test is best done when the biopsy is performed from which the samples of the cancer cells are obtained. For my mother, the test was routinely done without an explicit request. But her biopsy was performed by a thoracic surgeon affiliated with a major cancer center in the city. So, I'm not sure if the test would be routine with other surgeons.

I would definitely recommend requesting a test for the EGFR mutation for anyone. I'm getting the impression that insurance companies are more inclined to pay for the test as it would save them from paying for needless treatments; but on the flip side, there has been discussions that insurance companies may use these tests to refuse treatments for those who may not be genetically suited for certain drugs or chemo. I'm not getting that is the actual case for now.

I would also suggest if a patient goes under major surgery where a large enough sample size can be excised, ask for the testing of the cells for chemoresistance. That test refines further to what drugs and chemo the cancer cells respond to. It'll save you needless anxiety of wondering if the therapy you're receiving is actually working (since not many actually do). The chemo testing was advocated by another member (whose name I can't remember, sorry) who lost his wife to cancer and he wished she had undergone those cellular tests.

Be proactive. Learn what you can and talk with your doctors.

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