Everyone is different. My wife stage IV metastatic breast cancer to the bone and liver (spleen is questionalble since there was no biopsy to spleen). She began with Zometa and Xeloda. The xeloda was not effective but we had to try. This treatment is easier on the patient if it works. We gave the xeloda 4 weeks before switching to taxol and gemzar.
The cancer blood markers my wife used, CEA, were 5700 in June and now are 888. Our oncologist said it best----the xeloda will be effective slower if it works and the intervenous taxol will work faster. It's best to try the Xeloda first.
I was on top of the blood tests to make sure we switched as soon as possible when we knew it wasn't effective. That doesn't mean it won't be effective with your Mom. If your Mom goes to an intervenous chemotherapy which there are many choices I suggest she speak to your doctor about a port so her veins are not effected. This is a minor surgical procedure.
My wife had a CT scan a year before the cancer showed up and she showed lesions on her spleen but the lesions were not seen as cancer. Unless they have a test or truly know the spleen has cancer lesions this might not be the case. I am speaking about my wife's case.
I was given Xeloda for my metastatic breast cancer after treatment with Taxol and Carboplatin didn't work. I have to say on a personal note that I had to stop the Taxol after the 2nd course because it caused the blood supply to my fingers and toes to slow to the point where they went purple and then black and I lost all feeling. I was afraid I would lose them! I continued with the Carboplatin but unfortunately that ceased to work the minute they stopped giving it to me.
Without going into my situation I was eventually given Xeloda at 50% because of the damage caused by the Taxol. The change was amazing. Within 3 weeks the swelling caused by fluid in my abdomen was gone altogether, the other symptoms of my cancer had gone or decreased to be almost negligent.
The dosage of Xeloda was increased to 75% and I continued with this for another 6 cycles (2 weeks taking the drug, 1 week off). My bloods were checked each time (3 weekly) and it was only on the last cycle that my bloods had dropped to such a point that I couldn't have it. It's my belief that Xeloda is given in 8 3weekly cycles so I didn't miss out much. I have been told that should the cancer return I can be treated with this chemotherapy again. This is very comforting because most chemo's can only be given once.
I did get hand/foot syndrome in that both my hands and feet went red and hot and they itched like mad. However, I treated the itching with Daktarin because I have a fungal nail infection. Other people used things like Lancane etc. I must admit it got rid of all my hard skin on my feet, not that there was a lot but there was some I had never been able to remove succesfully. Small mercies! When the itching was really bad I used freezer packs (those you put in picnic/lunch bags) they were brilliant. Since stopping the Xeloda and the effects wore off I have had no further hand/foot problems.
I also had tumors in my liver,stomache and intestines in my spine and ribs. The CT scan after the Xeloda showed the main tumors , stomache, breast and intestines had gone altogether. The ones in my liver were only traces too small to measure but I still had some cancer in the bones. I am now taking Femara and so far so good!
I hope this information is helpful to you. Different medicines work for different people, not to mention that cancer is a really tricky disease and I sometimes think it is an intelligent alien life form the way it moves, changes and grows. However, I have declared war on it, enlisted a lot of help and so far have been winning the battles since May 2000. I wish the same success for your mother.
Sorry, it's me again. I meant to tell you that I didn't lose any of my nails, nor are they damaged. I believe that this is due to treating the symptoms as soon as they showed. Good luck in whatever you decide.
As for why you have to be the one to find out what treatments are available etc. You are not the only one, they sent me home from hospital 2 days after xmas 2007 with enough painkillers to poison an army and said "There is nothing more we can do for your cancer, just go home and take as much pain relief as you need!"
Thank God for web sights like this one, that was how I found out about Xeloda.
Be grateful that you have the intelligence and will to find out and not just give up.
Thank you for the hope. I just started Xeloda because it was the only chemo my onc would give me. My bilirubin was 7.7. I am on a very low dose (two 500 mg tables daily). I have a lot of cancer in my liver and an enlarged liver. I hope that Xeloda will give me some relief from my swollen belly (ascites) as the pressure can be very uncomfortable. Also, I am jaundice with yellow glowing eyes. I'm auditioning for CATS next week. At any rate, how are you doing? I hope all is well and am sending health your way. Take care.
Your info most helpful. Been on Xeloda 3 cycles; during 1st had 3 pint red cell trqnsfusion; developed hand-foot syndrome day 10 of 2nd cycle, so stopped treatment and the very next day could walk and turn the bottle caps witoutexcurciaing pain but did not resume treatment to next cycle + extra few days & at reduced rate (2 500mg 2x). The lanacane suggestion is great & will add to my arsenal: neosporin, desitin,lotion w/shea butter, aloe gel, aloe w/tree tea oil. I also have ulcerating erythema that started
with series of Faslodex .
So if Xeloda doesn't work we will discuss possibility of a taxane or carboplatin--recently read about aq newly approved in July 2012 call Afinitor that shows promise...
.have been dealing w/breast cancer since Jan 1994 (I was 52) w/a sojourn into large diffuse b-cell lymphoma in 2006. started Arimidx in 2003 when metastisized; started Faslodex in 2009; then Gemzar in dec 2011 with discovery of small tumor in pancreas(biopsy inde of type--we now assuming metastasized breast c as give more treatment options than if primary pancreatic c) suffered alot of edema; stopped Gemzar Aug 2012 & got my "3-6 month "termination notice".
So if Xeloda works my actual end-date could stretch to 3 years---we cannot accurately tell-- there is always new treatment But can I tolerate these side effects: pleural effusions becoming more frequent transfusions more frequent; skin problems; every day is a gamble what new sise-effect will appear. So we laugh & enjoy black humor!
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