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trying out Tarceva

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Old 02-07-2007, 10:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: va
Posts: 4
xyz1 HB User
trying out Tarceva

I'm new here. Stumbled on to the site and thought I'd give my 2 cents.

I was diagnosed this time last year with stage 3B NSCLC. It's an adenocarcinoma. I have a couple of tumors and a lot of spreading in the lungs. If you looked at my PET scan, instead of the usual distinct tumor, it was spread out as if someone had spray-painted on the resulting pictures. That meant it was inoperable.

So they started me with the most aggresive treatment - Taxotere + Cisplatin. Once every 3 weeks. I was wiped out that first week. But then recovered well enough to work from home the next 2 weeks. I did this for 3 months (5 cycles). They took a CT scan in May (2006) - no change.

So my doc switched me to a better tolerated treatment (Carboplatin + Gemzar) so that I can work. I was on this regimen until December. Added bonus was that my hair grew back. In August, my doc got me on Avastin (added to my treatment) even before it was FDA approved for lung cancer. Only real side effect was minor bleeding in the phlegm I'd cough up. Nothing major. I still worked about 40 hours a week.

I took a month off all treatment mid-Dec to mid-Jan to visit my brothers and other relatives on the other coast. My PET scan (Jan 10) showed no significant change either. Which was extremely disappointing since I have practically no signs of disease.

My aunt has been pushing me to try out Tarceva for months. She knows someone who benefited from the drug being a young, non-smoking asian female. (I also fall in that demographic.) My doctor was not very enthusiastic about it. She says there's not enough evidence to back up Tarceva. But since we have tried other regimens and it has been a year, she finally gave it to me. Now, I'm on Tarceva and Avastin. (And hoping for the best. Please pray for me.)

I started Tarceva last week. The rash in my face has just started to form. My face stings. (Any suggestions anyone?)

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Old 02-14-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: massachusetts
Posts: 10
malai HB User
Re: trying out Tarceva

XYZ1 - That is weird that your doctor was a little reluctant to put you on Tarceva with you being asian. My mother is asian and she is a non-smoking asian woman with NSCLC Adenocarcianoma. This is her first line of defense. This is what her Doctor said and another Dr. @ Mass General in Boston. She has not started any other drug to treat her cancer. She has a tumor in her left upper lobe and the pet scan showed signs of cancer in her lymph nodes on the right side. She had a really bad cough and we later found that this cough was caused by the tumor in her lung. Since she has started Tarceva that cough that she had is very here and there compared to how she was before where she couldn't even get more than 3 or 4 words out before coughing.

There is a Dr. William Poa at Sloan Kettering in New York who does a lot of research trying to find why Tarceva works better in Non-Smoking Asian woman than anyone else. If you go to the Sloan Kettering web-site and look either the drug Tarceva or Dr. William Poa, you will be able to read some of the research he has done on Tarceva.

Let me know how everything is going.

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