Hi. My father was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer a few months ago. He has since had a fairly large tumour and 18 inches of his intestine removed. Small traces of cancer were detected by microscope in one of his lymph nodes. He has been told that if he does not enter a chemotherapy program that there is a 40% chance of the cancer returning.
His current chemotherapy regimen includes 5 days straight of treatment, three weeks off, then 5 more days, for a total of six months. However, his side effects are so debilitating that he is considering ceasing his treatment program. Obviously, my family and I are very concerned about what he is considering and are trying to encourage him to have his chemo once a week, every week, for the remaining four months of his program.
Has anyone here changed their regimen from five days to once a week, and if so, did you notice a reduction in the severity of your side effects?
I am sorry you have had no responses to your question and I cannot offer much advice myself. However, my husband has just had surgery for rectal cancer stage 111 and my impression from his oncologist is that once he starts chemotherapy, his reaction and tolerance to it will be monitored and treatment will be adapted according to this monitoring.
It must be so hard on you and your family but I would speak to his oncologist to see if the regimen could be adapted or some medication given to help him feel better.
It seems that people react to chemo very differently as I know 3 people who have sailed through and been able to work full time. It is encouraging but, as I say, every one is different. I hope you get some more helpful advice.
Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.
I was 45 when I was in chemo with exactly the treatment regimen that you describe your father as receiving(5FU and leukavorin(sp?))
Ask about a drug called maxeran. They gave me it to combat the weakness and fatique. Immodium(generic is a LOT cheaper and can be prescribed by the doc) for diareha and another for dypepsia(heartburn) as well as a special mouthwash for mouth sores. Does he suck on ice during the treatments? It helps keep the chemo away from the mouth area and reduces sores.
I got tonsilitis during chemo due to the immune deficiency. He should wash his hands a lot to combat infections.
They postponed one round of chemo(the whole week) for one week due to my red blood cell count being too low. I was dissapointed since that meant the time would extend one week past the normal 6 months.
I usually felt OK the week before the next round and arranged to do the things that needed doing at that time.
It has now been 2 1/2 years since my operation and I feel fine. My heart goes out to your father and I wish him all the best. It is a very tough slog but it will end and life will return to normal.
I just finished 6 months of chemo (CPT11,5FU,Leuc.)for stage 4 colon cancer.I was also on (ALVAC) a clinical trial vaccine. My schedule was once a week every other week. My side effects were mild (diarrhea,nausea and sore mouth). The fatigue was the most annoying. I was told this schedule was just as effective but the side effects wouldn't be as severe. I had 4 tumors on my liver now I only have 1 and it's 1/2 cm so it must be true. The dr. in my home town was going to give me chemo every day for 3 weeks straight then 1 week off. But thank God there is a large cancer center 60 miles from my house. My new dr. told me he was not going to kill me with chemo. I think it has made all the difference in the world on how well I have went through treatment. Talk to the dr. because they can change the schedule. Good Luck!
Well, to anyone else going through this: my father started his once-a-week treatment on Monday of this week, and (knock on wood) he's had no mouth ulcers to speak of at this point. The fatigue is there, but it's nowhere near as severe. In fact, he was out raking leaves the very next morning! I gave him jaydees advice about chewing the ice during his treatment, and that may have something to do with it, of course ... we're all just hoping that this is a regimen that he can stick with ... chemo makes for decent insurance and he's far too young to succumb to cancer.
Thank you to everyone for your replies and kind words. This has been a scary time for my family, but hopefully the worst is behind us now.