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Will my sister live longer than ten years?
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Will my sister live longer than ten years?

My sister (age 39) has ovarian cancer stage 3c.  She's had a total hyst and now is under-going chemo.  She is doing great with the chemo.  Her CA125 test was in the 400s before surgery and 179 after surgery.  After the first chemo the CA 125 went down to 27, then to 12, and down to 7.  It's 7.9 now with one more chemo to go.  She will then have a port and three of those sessions.  She is feeling better than ever before.  (She also had 5 gals of fluid removed during surgery.)  My question is will she die from it?  The doctor told her there isn't a cure.  Will she battle this always?  She's under the impression that after the chemo she will never have to face this again.  I've read more on ovarian cancer than she has.  I worry for her and dread what a year may bring for her.
Is there anyone that has lived years after this type of cancer?
Please forgive me for being so frank.  I'm tired of skirting around my most dreaded question.
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There is a wealth of research regarding survival rates of ovarian cancer. I will outline some of what I know! When doctors talk about surviving cancer they talk in terms of a 5 year survival rate. This is NOT because people only survive 5 years and then drop dead but rather is is unlikely to recure after 5 years and therefore is the closest thing to "cured" without calling it cured. If cancer returns much after this time frame it is more likely to be another primary cancer rather than a recurrence. The chances of surviving ovarian cancer are related to stage of cancer, age and general health. There are some general stats but it really does depend on the individual. One person with 3c could be told it is 50/50 where as another might be much much less. Everyone responds initially to chemo but as you rightly point out in many cases it comes back, thats the problem. The prognosis is not fantastic for 3c but staying possitive is 'THE' most important factor in fighting the disease.

There are genenral stats about survival rates for each stage but I have absolutly no intention of typing them in here because I believe strongly that they are self perpetuating. If someone else wants to thats up to them but if you google you will have no problem finding them!

Anna x
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You could try this site:

www.ovariancancercentre.org/features/spotlight.cfm

These are the stories of three women with stage III and above cancer.  They have all been treated at John Hopkins but the tone of these stories are very postive and worth looking at.

It's a good site for ovarian cancer information in general.
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Thank you both for responding so quickly.  Each indivual is different and no two cases are alike.  My sister is a fighter and she proved it the moment she woke up from surgery saying, "I'm not gonna die from this!"

She has a really great GO and he has a terrific staff.  We drive 3 hours to meet with them and sometimes we have to stay overnight, so we just make it a girls' two day out.  My Dad's business covers all our expenses.  

She has tons of support from our entire family and we simply adore her.  My younger brother shaved her head when her hair was falling out then she shaved his.  
She worked at the hospital and doctors there still keep up with her health through my sister in law who works there as a RN.  It's a very small hospital.

I saved the best for last... she has tons of faith in our Lord Jesus.

Bless you all, I will be praying for all of you!



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I'm a year survivor diagnosed with IIIc and I intend to be around for a long time, God willing.  Your sister's faith, attitude and support system are very important factors in helping her fight this illness.  Let her know that it is not the end but in some ways the beginning as she will realize what is truly meaningful in life.  She will soon understand what living for each day is all about.  This really is a gift--one that many people never fully understand.  All my best and my prayers go out to you, your sister and family.

Christa
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Thanks Christa.  Your words are very encouraging!
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I was 43 when diagnosed three years ago my case real similar to your sister. My Sister has been in such denial about my disease, I am gald that you are informing yourself about this disease and can maybe understand and help her along the way. Everytime I mention something about OVCA she immediatly changes the subject, I must admit that I find this hard to take and find myself angry at her sometimes even though I would never tell her so, I am not into hurting peoples feelings:). I orginally had 9 carbo/taxol, my ca125 was 444 when diagnosed stage3, it immediatly went way down to acceptable ranges and then I had 12 maintenance taxols (300mgs) for 12 months. Unfortunatly my cancer came back 6 months later 3 small spots, 6 more taxol/carbo and has been a couple of months now and it may be back I will find out Thurs. We will then go another chemo Doxil. I have been feeling so good I find it hard to believe but there are the symptons that cannot be ignored! It was alot easier coming off 6 chemos than 21. I do not take any sort of meds except for a pain killer here and there. I am lucky that except for numb toes and fingertips I feel great. I am sure yoou have read that OVCA is treated as a chronic disease now. I also know more people that their OVCA has not come back at all and there numbers are holding good and they have resumed their lives. I Pray that your Sis is one of the latter.   Good Luck and Hugs are the best medicine, they were for me. Kathy
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You have now given me a whole new perspective on how my Sister feels!!!  I know that she worries because her employees have told me. So maybe that is what she is doing too, not really wanting to show me how worried and concerned she is about me. I guess I really had never thought about her feelings and what she might be going through too, (she does have a younger daughter and is very protective and shields alot of things from her, Brianna still asks me to explain what happened on 9-11-01 and what does it mean, I finally told her) So Thank you for opening my eyes. She is my only Sis and is younger and we are very close and she is a Mountain Climber and every time she goes up I count the hours until she can call and tell us all she is safe, so I guess it is all good.......
Kathy
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I love my sister so much.  I worry probably more than she does.  I never allow her to know how much I do worry.  She has so much information to take in and also has to make important decisions that only she can make (as you already know).  I do my best to support her mentally and physically.
I'm sorry to hear how your sister is handling your situation. I know (from a sister's view) she must be very scared for you and can't face it.  It still isn't fair to you though.  I will pray for you and her.  
Let me know how everything goes Thursday.  My prayers are with you.
You're a fighter.
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Hi Nelpe  My best friend Sandra has OVC.  We are like sisters and I love her dearly.  She has had a constant battle for the past 5 years but like you we are both Christians and believe the Lord holds her in the palm of His hand.  He has definitely used her cancer experiences to draw others to Him.  She even led three nurses to the Lord last time she was in hospital.  Anyway what I wanted to say was that we decided that we would use humour, a positive attitude and strong support group to ger her (and me) through it - and it works.  Hang in there.  I am praying for you both.
Love
Freddiebear
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Hi Nelpe, my wife's case was very similar to your sister's.  My wife was also diagnosed with OVCA stage IIIc, had a total hysterectomy done more than 4 years ago and underwent a full regimen of chemo treatment.  Don't worry.  Advise your sister to follow the chemo treatment diligently.  Don't listen to people who advise against chemo bcos of its traumatic side effects. But you must also accept the fact that no doctor or treatment will guarantee non-recurrence.  And this is the difficult part.  More than doctors and medicines, she must have a strong will power and total family support.  Keep surfing the net to read a lot about OVCA treatment and new clinical trials etc. But don't go overboard with advise on diet control and additional supplements etc.  You just have to be sure she takes balanced nutritious food and her living conditions are generally healthy.  No need to make drastic changes to her lifestyle which will make her feel that everybody is controlling her life and that could make her feel stressful which is not good for her.  It's nice to know that you are a caring person and be assured that your sister shall be remembered in our prayers.
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Thank you for posting.  My sister is under the impression that after this chemo all will return to normal.  She will say things like "I'll be so glad when this is over with."  I secretly think, no let this time endure longer so we'll have more time together.  I know I must seem horrible!

Who is to say when this thing is over with that she won't resume many, many years of being cancer free?!

She does very well on the chemo.  She has joint pain a few days afterwards that may last a couple of days.  She drinks tons of water and does exactly what they tell her to.  She says she feels better physically than she has in many years.

We count our blessings every day.  There are women out there that have it much worse than she does.  

The reason why I mentioned B17 is because it really helped  conrol her sugar.  She had surgery in April and her wound is just now healed.  I had to pack it twice a day.  The B17 seem to help
her sugar which in turn allowed her wounds to heal.
    
Some days are better for me than others and this just isn't one of them.  Sorry!

How is your wife doing?
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My sister and I also use humor and tons of it!  God really does hold us in the palm of His Hand.

Psalm 73:26  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Revelations 21:4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have past.

We're just passing through.

How is your friend doing?
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Hi Nelpe  Thanks for the verses - I will share them with Sandra.  She is doing well at the moment although has just come out of hospital.  She broke her ankle in three places and it had to be pinned.  Dr seems to think her bones are very brittle now as a result of all the chemo.  Nelpe its fine to feel down. I have those days often.  Someone we get through though!  You also need support heh!  Sandra is much amused over the friends I am making through this forum.  You girls (and guys) have been a wonderful encouragement to me.  Someone said that OVC is classed as a chronic disease.  I believe that!  I doubt that Sandra'chemo days are over although she is doing well right now.  We will just face it when it comes and if she is prepared to keep fighting I am prepared to fight it with her.  Hang in there dear friend - you and your sister are much in my prayers.
Love
Freddie
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