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Gemzar chemo - to take or no to take?t

Posts: 4
Joined: May 2011

I am living with ovarian for the last three years. Had Taxol, Carbo,Doxil, and now they are suggesting Gemzar. Doxil made me horribly sick and the tumors worse, so stopped after only two courses, and now, after two months, am still recovering. Read on Gemzar that it may makes you even sicker: Kidney and lung infections, white blood cell deficit, swollen body, flu-like fever and more such goodies. I gfeel like I may die from the Chemo itself.How about refusing any more? Are people out there who live with cancer without chemo? I am 80 ys. old, feel good and am fully lucid.

carolenk's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

I don't feel qualified to answer your question because you haven't provided much information about your condition.

Based on what you have shared, I would be seeing an acupuncturist to help detoxify from the chemo FIRST. Then consider how aggressive your particular cancer is & how symptomatic you are w/ ascites & your risk of bowel obstruction, weight loss, etc.

You may be able to take a chemo break & allow you more time to make your decision.

There may be other options for you to consider but your oncologist is the best one to advise you.

Take care,


Mwee's picture
Posts: 1341
Joined: Nov 2009

I had carbo, taxol, doxil AND gemzar and for me gemzar is the easiest to tolerate. I have been given carbo/gemzar and then the next week just the gemzar. The gemzar week is a breeze next to the combo week. You can refuse chemo. I often feel as you do that I'm "better" when not taking the chemo. Would you be willing to try the gemzar, see if it stabilizes you and postpone the decision to stop the chemo?
(((HUGS))) Maria

Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2009


I also didn't mind the Gemzar. I have had two 6X's courses of Gemzar/Cisplatin and I didn't have much problem at all. Maybe give the gemzar a shot?

Absolutely YES you can refuse chemo! You need to decide how you want to live out your life.

Good Luck with your decision.


lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I am in a similar position; I've tried so many chemo drugs and nothing seems to work for me anymore. Gemzar and Topotekan are still left for me to try, but my bone marrow is shot from all the treatments and I know both of these are hard on blood counts. I also am unwilling to take any chemos now that make me sick, as I am convinced that my cancer is completely chemo-resistant now. BUT, and here's the BUT, if the radioembolism I am trying to get approved falls through, I am willing to at least TRY each of these remaining chemo drugs. You won't really know until you try it whether it will make you ill. If it does, you can stop.

Do you know if your cancer is estrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive? If so, you may be able to take the VERY easy megace/tamoxifen hormone blocker pills. I am taking those pills now (I'm in my 2nd week) even though I am ER-, PR-. My plan is to try and hold myself stable with the pills until we know whether I am a candidate for radioembolism for my liver mets. & if I'm not, I plan to TRY Gemzar or Topotekan, but quit either one if it makes me feel ill. I want to have a nice spring and summer, and can't see taking chemo when taxol, carboplatin, doxil, avastin, and cytoxin all allowed disease progression.

Good luck with your decision. It's hard to seem to 'give up'. I don't feel I'm giving up. I just am trying to be realistic and want to enjoy the time I have left, and hopefully EXTEND the life I have left with any treatment I take. (((Hugs)))

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Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

was the easiest of all to tolerate. I am a 4 year survivor next month and have been on a lot of chemo.
Wishing you the best,

LPack's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Oct 2008

I have had carbo/Taxol, gemzar/cisplatin, doxil and now Veliparib/TMZ and gemzar was by far the least invasive. I became allergic to cisplation.

We are each made differently yet somewhat alike. And each of us will respond somewhat differently to chemo. And all chemos seem to have a ton of side effects - they have to name all!

I have been on chemo for over 3 years. I would love not to be on chemo!

There is a lady at church her lung cancer came back and she took treatment again and then decided she would not take any maintenance after she was told she had no evidence of disease. She now has another spot.

I do believe the body can only take so much chemo after awhile, but again our bodies are wonderfully made and seem to be able to withstand much! But how much is too much - I ask myself that question too and I am only 55.

Living forever with Him!
Libby ☺

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