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Abdominal fluid build up, now on Gemzar

Sarah for mom
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

I just joined this network and am wondering if anyone has any insight or experience with Gemzar chemotherapy and whether it works on abdominal fluid build up.
My mom was diagnosed with advanced primary peritoneal/ovarian cancer 10/08. She initially had fluid build up in abdomen and around lungs, which is how she was diagnosed. She had paracentesis at the time to drain the fluid, but the chemo she was started on at the time(Taxol/Carboplatin) took care of the fluid. She had an excellent initial response, and after undergoing chemo, surgery, chemo again and then Intra-abdominal port chemo, she was cancer free for almost a year. Disease came back in mid to late 2009. Since then she has been on Doxil, Taxol again, and most recently Topotecan. She took a break from chemo for several months as the disease was minimized in her stomach/abdomen. A few months back, she had a great deal of fluid buildup, and scan showed growing disease. This is when she was started on Topotecan, but despite this therapy, has had to have 5 paracenteses, draining 3 liters a fluid approx every 2 weeks. Her doc seems to be remaining positive, but obviously we are concerned! She started on Gemzar this past Friday. We have been told Gemzar is similar to Topotecan ( a little slower working and gentler on the system). Has anyone had similar sx, experiece with this fluid buildup or with Gemzar as a drug? Thanks for any help!


karen1951's picture
Posts: 103
Joined: Oct 2011

hi sarah...im so sorry your mom is going thru all of this. i was dx stage IV in aug of 2010...had a remission of 6 or 7 months after carbo/taxol...my ca125 started to climb so my onc put me on tamoxifen which did nothing. then we switched to topotecan and it did nothing as well. by now my ca125 was almost 1400. i did two or three rounds of gemzar which made my ca125 drop nearly 1000 points. in spite of that, my onc told me my disease was progressing. i really think the gemzar was doing more than they think....almost wish i stayed with the program, but now i'm doing a clinical trial with rad001 and avastin. fluid is building up in my abdomen and lung again...ugh! i hope your mom has success with the gemzar....it was very easy to take with minimal side effects. good luck.....xoxoxo karen

Sarah for mom
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

Thanks for your caring words, Karen. Such an awful disease that so many wonderful women are facing. I wish and hope for success with your treatment as well. My mom's ca125 is elevated over 1000 as well, so hopefully the Gemzar will have positive result on this. I will say some healing prayers for you.

JoWin615's picture
Posts: 148
Joined: Feb 2011

I don't have a fluid-buildup problem, but I am just finishing up my 6 rounds of Gemzar/Carbo for a recurrence back in January. This chemo combo has been much easier on me than the Taxol/Carbo of last year. My hair only thinned, which I'll take any day over bald (!), and of course there's the ever-present tiredness and fatigue.

Gemzar is known to have a dramatic effect on platelet levels, so your mom's blood work will be monitored carefully. I had to have my dose adjusted after the 1st infusion, which I was told is very common. And, in my case, it seems to be working. My CA125 went from 112 to 13 after one treatment. Then to 9, then to 8.

I hope your mom has an easy time of it, with good results.

Please keep us updated. This board has many very knowledgeable women on it, who are here for you with any questions.

Cheers, Jo

lovesanimals's picture
Posts: 1364
Joined: Sep 2011

I don't have any experience with Gemzar but I'm hoping and praying that it works for your mom.


Sarah for mom
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2012

Thanks to all for the encouraging comments, and for the prayers. I will pray for all of you as well. Hugs!

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