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Chemo question

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I've just been sitting here thinking about how I have to go back on chemo in a few weeks and thinking about how it just spreads throughout the body with the hope that it will kill as many cancer cells as possible while doing so. But it also kills healthy cells while its there because it can't just seek out cancer cells and that's why we get so sick from being on it. Actually, I was rereading one of Jihn's posts where he explained how cancer works in general and how chemo works. I'd copied it and have it as a document in my computer.

Anyway, my question is this. Why don't they take a needle with the chemo in it and just inject it directly into the tumour? My met is in my lung, it's likely fairly easy to get at. They can do ablation this way. Wouldn't it be better than just having it poison us everywhere? Or is the idea that it might get some rogue cells as well? Or does anyone on here know of a way to directly ask cancer researchers this question?

And where has John been, anyway? I haven't seen him on here for some time and I think he's got an amazing grasp of cancer and treatments and how they work. I love reading his posts.



Posts: 172
Joined: Aug 2015

Chemo is one of the most confusing things for me.  What I understand is that is why you get chemo every other week.  That way when your good cells are hit with chemo, they are 'repaired' the next week.  Another thing that is confusing to me is why can't you just 'up' the dose if you spot any new growth?  Dr told us if chemo stops working you cannot do this and have to go to the next chemo in line.  Also, you cannot go back to the chemo's you have had.  Hard to understand!

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5399
Joined: Jan 2013

I know they can plant radioactive beads into tumours, and I think they can do that with chemo, but wouldn't bet my dinner that I'm right. 

I've been in touch with John. He is having a rough time right now, and could do with prayers and good vibes from the members.  He is such a wealth of knowledge, and missed terribly here on the forum. 

I'm so sorry your going back on the chemo. What a nightmare!

EDIT: I just found this on the web. I haven't got time to read it myself, so go take a gander.



JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thanks Tru, that one seems to be for lung cancer when the pateint is having issues breathing and it goes along with another treatment. Intersting, though.


JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Please let John know that I'm thinking of him. I say a prayer for everyone on here every night but I'll say a special one for him. I thank the Lord  pretty much every night for another day here on earth and being relatively healthy. I have to admit that some days I just can't bring myself to be grateful and then I feel bad. There are so many people so much worse of than I am, I have no right to be angry sometimes.

I really miss John's words. He'd educated himself so much on cancer and how it acts and what treatments are useful. He's mentioned that some people didn't like what he had to say but I think he's awesome!

Sending John a healing virtual hug.


lizard44's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Apr 2015

I saw this article about current research at the Mary Crowley Cancer Center at Baylor University. The article doesn't mention what particular types of cancer the trials have been conducted on, and does mention that it will be years before the treatment is generally available, but it sounds promising. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/121077/20160104/new-cancer-treatment-r...


JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

This one does sound promising. Unfortunately, here in Canada it takes years longer to approve a drug or treatment than it does in the States. My onc act like ablation is some new technology so their definitely not up to date on new things. The only way someone here gets any new treatment elsewhere is to pay for it themselves so I often see people posting a GoFundMe thing to pay for it.


Posts: 1278
Joined: Apr 2012

I don't understand Chemo off and on.  When I had it, they gave me a pump pushing FU5 24/7 during the five weeks I was getting radiation.  Then a six week rest, to let it work before the resection.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2156
Joined: Mar 2010

I had intra-peritoneal chemo for my appendix cancer.  By infusing it directly into my belly and not my bloodstream it 1) only was in the area where the cancer was localized and 2) could be done at a much, much higher strength (300x) than can be done with systemic chemo.  They also have a direct chemo system for some liver cancers - the HAI pump.

There also is directed radiation - either focused or brachytherapy.  It would be wonderful if chemo could be directed specifically at a tumor, and not have to be systemic.

Canadian Sandy's picture
Canadian Sandy
Posts: 690
Joined: Jul 2016

I haven't any answers for you Jan Just wanted to let you know that your in my thoughts. You have been through so much and are an inspiration to many of us. 

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Aw, thank you. I kind of feel anonymous on here. So many people on here are my heroes and I don't feel like a standout in anyway. I just try to keep peoples' hopes up and give what I think is good information. It breaks my heart to know how many people are diagnosed and come on here so scared. I want them to know that they have a fighting chance and to never back down. But sometimes I need to be reminded of that, too.


NewHere's picture
Posts: 1296
Joined: Feb 2015

Sorry to read about John, I know he had mentioned some issues cropping up towards the end of last year.  Had not seen him post since the beginning of the year I think.

Some of it depends on the type of cancer, the chemo and efficacy.  Some drugs for tumors have issues getting to the brain (a friend of mine was in a trial, cleared up everything but for the brain tumor because of blood/brain barrier).

"cytotoxic medicines delivery methods" is something I just looked for to see what I could find.  A lot of big words I don't understand :)  

Wiki (grain of salt) has some information that is fairly straight forward and is my general understanding of things.


Most chemotherapy is delivered intravenously, although a number of agents can be administered orally (e.g., melphalan, busulfan, capecitabine).

There are many intravenous methods of drug delivery, known as vascular access devices. These include the winged infusion device, peripheral cannula, midline catheter, peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), central venous catheter and implantable port. The devices have different applications regarding duration of chemotherapy treatment, method of delivery and types of chemotherapeutic agent.[54]

Depending on the patient, the cancer, the stage of cancer, the type of chemotherapy, and the dosage, intravenous chemotherapy may be given on either an inpatient or an outpatient basis. For continuous, frequent or prolonged intravenous chemotherapy administration, various systems may be surgically inserted into the vasculature to maintain access.[55] Commonly used systems are the Hickman line, the Port-a-Cath, and the PICC line. These have a lower infection risk, are much less prone to phlebitis or extravasation, and eliminate the need for repeated insertion of peripheral cannulae.[citation needed]

Isolated limb perfusion (often used in melanoma),[56] or isolated infusion of chemotherapy into the liver[57] or the lung have been used to treat some tumors. The main purpose of these approaches is to deliver a very high dose of chemotherapy to tumor sites without causing overwhelming systemic damage.[58] These approaches can help control solitary or limited metastases, but they are by definition not systemic, and, therefore, do not treat distributed metastases or micrometastases.


Topical chemotherapies, such as 5-fluorouracil, are used to treat some cases of non-melanoma skin cancer.[59]

If the cancer has central nervous system involvement, or with meningeal disease, intrathecal chemotherapy may be administered.[1]




Other methods

Medicines usually do not get into the brain or spinal cord very well from the bloodstream. So, to treat some cancers of the brain or spinal cord, medicines may be injected into the fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This is done by a lumbar puncture when a needle is inserted into the space next to the spinal cord in the lower back.

In certain situations cytotoxic medicines may be given:

  • By injection into a muscle.
  • As a cream which is rubbed on to skin.
  • As an injection into the chest cavity.
  • As an injection directly into a cancerous tumour.
Joan M's picture
Joan M
Posts: 411
Joined: Oct 2016


My doctor is going to use the ablation to get rid of a tumor in my lung.  At least that is the plan for this summer, after he finishes working on the tumors in my liver. 

I am having the radioactive beads injected through my femoral artery to kill off the remaining tumors in the right lobe of my liver on April 27th.  I had microwave ablation on a tumor in the left lobe of my liver in January. He said he can do chemo through the same artery for liver tumors, but said the radioactive beads are more effective at killing the tumors, and there are less side effects than with the chemo.   

They do directly inject tumors with chemo as  mentioned in the above message from NewHere, and my doctor actually does that too.

I hope these options are available to you in Canada!


JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you Joan! I'll see her in two days and I'll ask about all of it.


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