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Cancer not responding to Carbo/Taxol on initial treatment plan?

BobbieAnn
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2010

Mom had her 5th Carbo/Taxol treatment after clear CT in Oct and lowering CA125 only to find out this week that she has a recurrence in the pelvic lymph nodes (found out as she had abdominal pain and found out that a swelling lymph node was pressing on her ureter). Obviously, this treatment is not working. Has anyone had this experience during their initial treatment? If so, just curious what chemo was recommended for next option. This was certainly very upsetting as she was doing so well.

Her diagnosis was USPC Stage 3-4 as it was found in 7 of her lymph nodes during surgery.

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Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

Lots of us have had recurrances and there are a number of options. Did she have a tissue assay? This helps determine which chemo's work best. Perhaps they could biopsy her recurrant tumor. I took doxil/avastin second line and had very good results. Linda took weekly taxol, doxil, and I believe is not on carboplatinum. Some women have had great results with gemzar. Some repeat the series of carbo/taxol. She is not alont in her recurrance and there are a number of options you can discuss with your oncologist. I am sorry you have to deal with this at the holidays. I hope she has something for pain. Sometimes they put stents in the ureters to open them up.

Love to you at this difficult time. prayers coming to you!

Diane

BobbieAnn
Posts: 11
Joined: Aug 2010

The oncologist bascially told mom that Topetecon(sp?) was too harsh and she may not be able to handle Doxil as she has congestive heart failure (well controlled). He basically said anything that was done from here out is palliative. He will do an ECHO after radiation and I guess we will determine chemo option although he certainly did not appear to be too optimistic. She was referred to radiation oncologist to see if they can shrink the tumor by her ureter. The radiology oncologist ordered PET and said that the recurrence is contained in the pelvic area and did not show activity elsewhere so he thinks he can help with pelvic radiation.

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Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

Radiation can be a good option. I know that I have a hard time with chemo but breeze through surgery or radiation. Your mother is lucky to have a daughter like you. I know how much my daughters have helped me. We have developed a new closeness; even laughing over her taking charge of my medication! She is bossy and I can't help giggle at the role reveral. And let me tell you I do listen to her!

Love,
Diane

Always Hopeful
Posts: 234
Joined: May 2010

I am so sorry to hear about your mom's experience. Carbo/taxol did not work at all for me. I opted for the protocol of 18 weeks of Taxol and 6 treatments of Carbo within the 18 weeks, starting in April and ending in August with no breaks. Well, after all of this, the CT scan showed profuse tumor growth throughout my abdomen and pelvis, including on my vaginal cuff and sigmoid colon. I also developed a blood clot in my gonoidal vein that was treated with daily anticoagulant self-injections.

The vaginal cuff tumor began to bleed quite heavily and I underwent 10 sessions of external radiation (IMRT). The primary goal was to stop the bleeding hoping also to shring both the cuff tumor and the one on my sigmoid colon. During this time, I had no chemo and the anticoagulant shots needed to be stopped.

During all of this, a "think tank" of oncologists, including a consult with Memorial Sloan Kettering (not a good experience, at all), discussed and narrowed down my next chemo treatment to Gemzar administered once a week for three weeks, followed by a week off. I just started my 3rd cycle yesterday. I also resumed taking the anticoagulant shot.

My last CT scan taken in early December, showed no new tumor growth, shrinkage of the radiated tumors and an absence of the blood clot (I am still on a maintenance shot though for 6 months). So, in addition to the radiation doing its job, it seems that even after only one completed cycle, the Gemzar was effective. I have not really experienced many side effects from the Gemzar either. In fact, on Dec.22nd, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, a urinary tract infection and a sinus infection. Thanks to the Gemzar not destroying my white count, I did not have to be hospitalized and responded so well to the antibiotic, Levaquin, that my lungs were clear by the 27th.

In addition to Gemzar, my chemo doc wanted to add Avastin but my insurance company has refused to pay for it. So for now, we are sticking with the Gemzar and she will continue to pursue approval for a possible future use. By the way, some of the other drugs discussed were Topotican (spelling?)and Doxil. So, there are other possibilities for treatment. I have also come to understand and accept the fact that UPSC is basically a chronic cancer that requires treatment on and off for the rest of our lives...hopefully more off than on.

Know that your mom is not alone in her journey and that the women on this discussion board provide unbelievably valuable information and support. Do try your best to think positively and appreciate each day you have together, although I know how difficult that can be at times.

My best wishes for a new year filled with much hope and progressively good health...my thoughts and prayers are with you, your mom and your family.

Peace and hope, JJ

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