Yes, different types of cancer (and even different treatments for the same type of cancer) take different amounts of time. For many types of cancer, there are multiple options for treatment and the oncologist picks one based on the specific case. Even the exact same medication can be given in a different manner.
For example, people on Taxol usually get a treatment once every three weeks. However, I've heard of people getting a much milder dose once a week. And, some people get 6-8 treatments of the stronger dose, some only get 4-6.
So, as you can see, there really is no "standard" length of treatment for chemotherapy.
Radiation, however, is a different story. Although here, too, the treatment can vary, it's commonly done 5 days a week for a period of from 5-7 weeks.
Also, if both chemo AND radiation are being done, sometimes the chemo is done first, sometimes the radiation is done first, and sometimes the chemo treatments are "split", with half the treatment being given, then stopped while radiation is given; chemotherapy is then finished after the radiation treatments.
What type of cancer does your Dad have? Also, when you find out more (i.e., what type of chemo), let me know and maybe I can give you some more info...depends on the type of chemo. I'm no doctor...just someone with way too much experience, lol.
Well, I had something called CUP (Cancer of Unknown Primary), but it had similarities to squamous cell and small cell cancer. I was treated with taxol/carboplatin, and then 5 weeks of radiation therapy. Carboplatin/taxol are both used for squamous cell cancer.
The taxol/carbo chemo was a bit weird. Because my oncologist is wonderfully proactive about preventing nausea, I had absolutely no nausea and no loss of appetite. In fact, I gained two pounds during chemo! (Then I went on a cruise and lost two pounds...my doctor has determined that my medical diagnosis is "weird syndrome", lol). At any rate, the taxol did cause excruciating pain, but not on the day it was administered; rather, the pain would start about 36 hours afterwards and last for about 3 days. I would spend those three days doped up on Vicodin, and then be okay for the next three weeks (until the next treatment). Now, I have fibromyalgia, so I'm pretty much in constant pain anyway...people without FM usually don't have quite so bad a response.
At any rate, I have been totally cancer-free for 3 1/2 years...and CUP usually has a terrible prognosis.
So, my ultimate advice? OPTIMISM!!! Don't count your Dad out yet! This may very well be curable, or if not curable, manageable. By that I mean that he may have to have some treatment periodically, but could still live a happy and productive life for many years.
Keep me posted, Kim, and have your Dad post himself if he'd like to "chat" about his situation.
I'm not familiar with Platinol...may be new since I was treated. At any rate, you can contact the American Cancer Society to get a fact sheet about any specific chemotherapy agent, or you can Google it and see what information you can find.
Regardless, just make sure he's treated with IV anti-nausea meds BEFORE the chemo is given (if that's a chemo that may cause nasea). Zofran is one; I believe there are others. Also, he should be given oral meds to take for 2-3 mornings after the chemo day, and also compazine suppositories just in case.
Hopefully, he'll do as well as I did, and this will soon be a thing of the past!
Ruth, thank you for telling me about the suppositories. I'll make sure to get a prescription from the doc for him. He was given a rx to get filled for pills and they are checking with the insurance company on another prescription that is expensive. Doc said they'd give him samples of it if the ins won't cover it.
All of that is well and good, but please be sure his doctor is planning to treat him with intravenous anti-nausea drugs immediately BEFORE the chemo is given. This is VERY important, as if the nausea is allowed to start, it can be difficult to stop and your Dad may not be able to keep the pills down. On the other hand, if treated with IV anti-nausea medication BEFORE chemo is introduced, he will most likely experience nothing more than slight queasiness the next day, and WILL be able to keep the pill down.
Okay, I'll call them and make sure. I do remember the doctor saying that he'll have anti-naseau meds along with the chemo that day. Said they'd start his IV and start hydrating him, then he has to go down for his first radiation. He'll go back up for the actual chemo and more hydrating.
I appreciate you visiting with me. I'm nervous how I'll handle it if he gets real sick. Hopefully he won't!