I am interested in exchanging information with anyone who has a friend or family member who is being treated with Iressa (ZD1839). My friend has recently begun the drug therapy,and it would be really helpful to learn about the experiences of others. Time is of the essence.
My mother has just been approved for a phase II trial with Iressa. She has not yet started her treatment, but I would be happy to exchange information with you. Has your friend started treatment yet? What drugs has your friend taken? Mother has been on Taxol/ Carboplatin, Taxotere/ Carboplatin, Gemcitabine/ Carboplatin, and Navalbine/ Carboplatin. All have produced a remission, but the cancer keeps coming back. Are there others available that we havent tried that you know of other than Iressa?
My friend was diagnosed as stage IVb one year ago this month. She first had to deal with a brain tumor and underwent the Gamma Knife procedure. This was followed by several sessions of full head radiation to clear up any remaining spots. She then underwent a series of 6 chemotherapy treatments using taxol and carboplatin. Additionally, she has been taking certain herbal supplements for about eight months: MGN3 and Essiac Tea, and several others. She has been taking Iressa for about two weeks. She has experienced daily bouts of diarrhea, but reports that she is dealing with it by using Immodium and experimenting with what, and when, she eats.
[This message has been edited by richmoor (edited 02-20-2001).]
Six months ago my father was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcenoma. At first he responded well to the chemotherapy and the tumor began to shrink. Several treatments later the tumor began to increase in size again. He was then given taxotere which did nothing but make him weak and very prone to infections. Now his doctor asked if he would like to participate in the experimental treatment of zd1839. We are very torn since we have do not have anyone to ask that has undergone the treatment themselves and have been unable to find anything regarding the success rate of this treatment. If anyone has any information, please, please contact me as soon as possible. He is in stage IV now and I'm sure that would have alot to do with the effectiveness of the treatment as well. Thank you in advance for any information on this matter.
My husband was diagnosed March 8, 2000 with non-small cell cancer in his lower right lung. Since he had never smoked, he had been treated for pneumonia, brochitis, asthma, etc. etc. for 2 years as could not convince anyone he might possibly have cancer, even though his Father passed away from lung cancer on Christmas Eve 1976 and his Mother had recovered from cancer. Needless to say, we were devastated. Gary was 55 at the time. He ate healthy, excercised, and had never done anything to abuse his body.
Gary's cancer had spread to brain, but that tumor was removed 3/24/2000 and followed with Radiation Treatments. As of this date, all is fine there. After that, standard Chemo treatment was administered until December 2000. The tumor had been held in check and was considered less dense. A PET Scan was scheduled on 1/3/2001 to see that the cancer had not spread anywhere else, as doctor was considering using radiation. However, the PET Scan confirmed our worse fear, the cancer tumor had now grown to fill the entire right lung, into the liver, and also into the spine. Gary met criteria to be in Iressa Program being conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He has been taking Iressa since January 29, 2001. His 1st follow up was February 26, 2001 and no change --- which was good, as meant tumors had not grown during month taking Iressa. His 2nd follow up was March 27, 2001 and although the CT Scan showed a couple small places in spine not on previous one taken, Iressa appeared to have kept tumors from growing again. It was explained that the small places spotted this time possibly had been there and were same as previous month, but because of how CT scan takes pictures of "slices" of body, these might have just been between views. Gary has the side effects of a rash that we are in process of trying different combinations of things - both prescription and non-prescription - that have doctors approval to try to control mainly the itching. Gary uses Imodium daily, as the diarrhea is rather frequent as has been reported by others taking Iressa. Also, Gary has been sick at stomach at times, similar to car sickness, but that has been going away without taking anything to treat. (Possibly caused by nerves?)
When Gary was first diagnosed, we both hoped for an immediate cure. As all lung cancer patients are aware, this rarely happens when not discovered until Phase IV.
Depression is another battle we are fighting. So many of the survivors of other types of cancer (I originally thought all were just one disease.....have sure found out differently!) never gave up hope. Some days are harder than others. Iressa may be the right drug that does over-come Stage IV Lung Cancer, or it may be the one that extends life long enough until something better comes along.
Will be glad to exchange information with anyone in Iressa Program or considering it or any other aspect of fighting Lung Cancer.
God Bless. Elaine, Gary's wife
Glad to hear Terry will be given a chance to take Iressa. Gary is in middle of 6th series of pills. He has good and bad days, but is definately able to be out and doing more now than a year ago while on Carboplatin and Taxatere Chemo. There are side effects, but we have found combinations of things that work to keep under control. Gary's 1st problem was the acne (which has been totally gone now for several months.) He had a prescription for Clindamicin for it, but actually a prescription used for Shingles worked better to stop the itching, called Lidocaine Viscous 2%. The doctor advised us to use an over-the-counter antibiotic with it on the open sores to prevent infection. Another ointment that really seemed to work was Desitin (over-the-counter diaper rash ointment). It seemed to control the irritation as well as any of medications tried. The diarrhea has been the worst side effect. Gary takes Imodium (over-the-counter) for it, and has best results if just continues to take numerous doses. (Gary's Research Nurse has assured us that if needed a prescription drug could be prescribed but so far we have not requested.) For coughing, Gary takes little "sips" of Vicks 44 Cough syrup. At night, he sometimes takes the prescription Hydromet Syrup as it seems to help him relax in addition to relief of coughing. Gary goes thru spells of using a Nebulizer (breathing machine?) where he inhales the following drugs: Albuterol .83mg and Ipratropium .02%. They seem to help with lung congestion and Gary says he feels it is easier to breathe after using. For daily aches and pains, Gary takes 1/2 pill of Zyrtec Tab 10mg once a day. He takes Celebrex 100mg twice a day. [He stopped this one for couple days, and could really tell a difference so has taken every dose since]. If he has had a really bad day, he takes 1 or 2 Propoxyphene HCL 65mg at bedtime. He also has Temazepam 15 mg for sleep, but has only taken a couple times when felt uncomfortable at bedtime but not bad enough to think he should take a pain pill. At bedtime, Gary takes 1 or 2 Benadryl 25mg (over-the-counter) for lung congestion. [This also helped stop itching so he could go to sleep when acne was the worst]. The other drug Gary takes when needed is Megace 20ml for appetite. Gary was a body builder until diagnosed with cancer and weighed around 225. He ate large quantities of food every meal then, so now every once in a while we realize he is down to couple hundred calories and so he gets on the Megace for couple of days. Also, when he is just not eating much, he drinks Ensure Plus. Gary NEVER took pills/medications/prescriptions before getting cancer, so is over-whelmed with all the stuff stock-piled around the house for him now. He still tires out easily and gets depressed at needing so much rest. But after several bad days this month, we rode our motorcycles (Gary has a Gold Wing with Sidecar and mine is a Suzuki Intruder 1400) to breakfast one morning. We are enjoying sweet corn, green peppers, and tomatoes from the garden that Gary planted, tilled, watered, and takes care of on daily basis. I helped weed his watermellon and cantelope patch this week while he supervised. (He has trouble if leans over for long periods of time since the surgery a year ago to remove the brain tumor.)
We keep hoping for a miracle. Gary's tests during last visit to Houston showed that the tumors have not increased since taking the Iressa. All other vital signs are normal. Even if Iressa will just hold him like now until a complete cure comes along, we can continue to hang on. Would sure like to see our husbands beat this horrible disease. Our doctors in Houston have been very good to try to treat all side effects/symptoms as they arise. Also, they do not seem to be offended when we inquire about something we have heard about. They have explained why most of our suggestions are not the right course to take for Gary, but it has helped to know why. We will leave for Houston this weekend, as Gary has tests and doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday, 7/23.