This forum is for questions and support regarding ovarian cancer issues, such as: Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Clinical Trials, Genetics, Hysterectomy, Immunotherapy, Ovarian Cancer Types, Radiation Therapy, Risk Factors, Screening, Staging, Surgery.
As previously posted, I went on a vaccine trial at MSKCC which took me away from systemic treatments for several months. Well, the trial was unsuccessful and resulted in a partial bowel obstruction around thanksgiving. After a visit to the urgent care center, scans and x-rays - things appeared to resolve themselves. We then immediately went back to Alimta. While the treatments seemed to reduce the rising markers, the complications of the partial obstruction have become more prevalent. We were told that the treatments might be making the complications worse but without the treatments I will slowly lose my battle anyway. At the moment i am having regular Bowel movements but cannot resolve the gas and pain from the gas and i am distended. I am on a very simple diet at this point - In your professional experience how often do you see these issues become the end game for patients like myself. After a nearly 10 year battle with stage 4 OC and every treatment option experienced - I need all the honest opinions -thanks
thank you for your very hard question
You are an expert at what you are going through and you are asking the right questions. I am so sorry you are experiencing this.
There can be alot of pain with bowel problems
also there is the loss of enjoying a good meal
and the loss of freedom to choose whatever it is you want to eat
finally there is the loss for your family who can't enjoy eating with you.
prognostically there is a range of possibilities
you are a long term survivor.
we think some women live with their ovarian cancer for a long time because they have chemo sensitive disease.
as you have experienced, people with chemo sensitive disease can continue on chemo for years
so the big question for you is: has your cancer changed and is no longer responding (shrinking or not growing) with chemo
you can answer that by looking back at the last few chemos and ask what happened, how long were you on that drug, how soon did the cancer progress?
if the cancer progressed within 3 to 6 months of your last few chemos, I would call that chemo resistant.
it that case, there is data to suggest that people with cancer will survive longer off chemo than on chemo. In the setting of chemo resistant disease, chemo actually shortens your life due to side effects
The bowel obstruction per se is not an endgame. It is only an endgame in the setting of 2 things:
1-it cannot be treated by surgery and you develop a bowel perforation
2- chemo resistant cancer
if your doctor fears that chemo will set you up for a bowel catastrophe - then it may be better to stop
I know that is a very , very hard transition to make
but I would suggest you bring these questions back to your doctor : about chemo resistance and surgical resectability. That may help guide you both
I have learnt that my patients guide me at junctures like this as much as I guide them. There are no wrong choices.
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