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Palliative Treatment Question

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi all,
I just found this discussion board today! We are new to GB cancer; my Mom is 85 and was diagnosed in mid-April with Stage 4. It has invaded the liver and some local lymph nodes. She had 7 infusions of Gemzar since June to no avail. The CT scan on July 23 showed the tumor had grown about 1-inch all around. The good news is that there are no other tumors found (on the scan)and the rest of her bloodwork is very good. All other organs are also functioning well. We are at the GI Cancer Center at Mass Gnl in Boston.
She has lost alot of weight and has pains in her stomach area (we are pretty sure from gas build up) and lower back pain--both of which make her day to day life rotten. Her entire active life has changed and she only goes out of the house to Dr appts.

Her GB Cancer is too advanced for surgery. The other alternative of 5 FU infusuion has only a 20% chance of helping her (and Gemzar was so debilitating that we don't think another chemo is worth it).

The doctors said the most relief of pain would come from radiation to the tumor, but BIG BUT, they would need to do laparascopic surgery to insert "spacers" to push the intestines out of the way so they'd have a clear shot for the radiation. (It was explained that her particular anatomy would require this.) The radiation would be 5 days in a row after recovery fr the laparascopy. I've talked with an operating room nurse I know who never heard of such a thing. She consulted w/oncologists fr her hospital in NYC who also never heard of such an operation.
So, I'm wondering if any of you are familiar with any of this? Also, laparascopy on an 85yr-old? Radiation and its SFX on someone that age?

Thank you all for your honest sharing of your stories. It has helped enormously in getting perspective on this awful, disease.


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