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gene mutations (and rad w/chemo)

legendsdaughter
Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

After 3rd chemo treatment, PET showed spread in the paraspinal area & as well as other masses increasing in size/uptake. Onc decided to send dad to Rad. Onc. & he had his 2nd of 10 radiation treatments this morning. Dad is also seeing Onc tomorrow & he thinks that she will be changing his chemo & start it tomorrow. He was on Carbo & Alimta,possible change to cisplatin (which we were avoiding due to the harsh side effects).
Would she start a new chemo when he just started the radiation? What does anyone know about the genetic markers/mutations(?) kras or alk? I know dad was negative for egfr. I don't know if it would be useful to check for these if egfr was negative.
It seems that at stage IV, when the prognosis can be very grim, an awful lot of time is wasted. When the dr. needs an MRI "stat" b/c there could be cancer in the spine, why can't the Imaging office change appts around so that an MRI of a knee or something else can be movedso dad doesn't have to wait 24 hrs. Although I guess we could have gone to the hospital, (but dad didn't want to go there).
I sometimes feel that we should have stuck with the high profile cancer ctr. (MSKCC)as opposed to the local groups where dad is going. Although they seem to be like big business, they really know what they are doing & what all the next steps should be w/out too much guesswork.Dad does like his doctor here & I think that he has to be happy where he is going & it is not up to me or mom. I don't want us to reach the "we should have done this or that...". I want him to get the best possible care & "I" don't feel he is getting it.
This is all very frustrating. When are they going to find a cure?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

There is a pertinent article in the current issue of CURE magazine that speaks specifically to the uses of targeted therapies (including Tarceva and Alimta, among others). The article and accompanying sidebars may not be for the faint-hearted as they also include some rather somber statistics about current survivability rates, but they offer much hope.

You can probably find the articles in the online version of CURE (which is affiliated with ACS, by the way), at curetoday.com.

As for wasting time, one only has to drive in traffic on busy highways to discover that nearly everyone seems to think that their needs are more important than the needs of others. Left to our own devices in such situations it seems that many of us become uncivilized, refuse to share, become defensive, become aggressive, so that we all end up in one giant snarl. In that regard, it is good, I think, that our healthcare facilities insist on a bit of decorum most of the time.

The thing is, this cancer fad has really taken on a life of its own, and, joined with a bunch of other illnesses and plaints that affect in particular the older among us (and there are more of us now than at any time in history, if I am not mistaken), this makes for a lot of traffic. If Mr. Bad Knee got bumped for EVERY cancer patient, he would never be seen, I do not believe. And if they gave your dad special treatment but not the rest of us who have cancer, well, then, the rest of us would have a case for becoming uncivilized, wouldn't you say?

As for the timetable for a cure, there is clearly more optimism now than there has ever been. The genetic and epigenetic research that your questions touch on are truly exciting those in the field, it is evident by the nature of their bold predictions, some of them suggesting that cures for SOME cancers, at least, will be realized within the next five to 10 years. Just as important, in the present tense, is that some of the treatments they are finding useful for extending life are also making treatment more tolerable, as the abovementioned article indicates.

One lady on this very site commented once that she wants to live for five more years, so that they can find something that will allow her to live for another five years, so that they can find...

You get the idea. For some of us, the nature of our cancer and its staging make that the most credible way to go forward.

I for one admire it greatly as both courageous and reasonable.

In any event, I have great respect for caregivers, as well, and am aware that you are very concerned about dad and that sometimes it is difficult to understand why doctors do the things they do, why they do not do some thinks you think they should be doing. (It is good that dad likes his current doctors, better if he also trusts them, by the way.)

I wish your dad and his loved ones the best during these trying times.

Take care,

Joe

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