Hi. Around 15 to 35% of women with stage 3 ovarian cancer survive five years after the diagnosis. The wide variation in survival statistics is due to the variety of disease presentation in Stage 3 ovarian cancer. Women with stage 3 disease who have greater tumor spread beyond the pelvis and into the upper abdomen have a poorer survival rate.
My sister was diagnosed in Dec. 07 with stage 3 Ovarian cancer. She does not really know what questions to ask her dr. nor does she have a computer. She completed her chemo treatments in May and is feeling very tired still and complaining of her bones aching specifically in her arms and legs. I heard this was normal. How long does it take for all the chemo to actually leave your body? Thank you.
Hi. The symptoms of fatigue and body aches that your sister is experiencing may or may not be related to her previous chemotherapy. She needs to be checked first by her oncologist to discount other possible causes of those symptoms (e.g. chronic anemia, electrolyte imbalance). There is a possibility that those symptoms are due to the cancer itself. This also needs to be investigated. Taxanes (example: paclitaxel or docetaxel) which are commonly used for ovarian cancer, can cause fatigue and body aches which could last for a few months after chemotherapy has been given. The side effects of taxanes (example: neuropathy or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves) may last even when the drug has been totally eliminated from the body. Docetaxel has an elimination half-life of 11 hours while Paclitaxel has an elimination half life of 50 hours. This means that it takes 11 hours for the body to eliminate half of the amount of Docetaxel given, and 50 hours to eliminate half the amount of Paclitaxel given.
As a women who was diagnoses with stage IV ovarian cancer in Nov 2005, I feel I must say this. It is probably a good thing that your sister does not have a computer. Most women I know of that started investigating their disease on the internet, came away even more scared and depressed than they were originally. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good info out there and a lot of good support groups. But much of the info is from testing that took place at least 5 years earlier (this is where they come up with the 5 year statisics) and things are slowly begining to look better.
Another thing to think about. Those of us that are fighting ovarian cancer do not look survival rates. We know they are low, but we also know that each and every one of us has the same chance to be that 1 in 10, so that is what we look towards. Hope is a very important part of the fight along with a positive attitude.
It does take several months for the effects of chemo to wear off. But I am curious, is your sister still under Drs care? I would think that she would still be going at least every 3 months for a general check up and blood work. The questions you have asked here are very good questions for her Dr. It helps very much to take a list with you when you go. Write down any thing you may want to know or do not understand. It is also good for someone to go with her, that way between 2 of you, you will be more likely to catch and understand what he is saying.
There is a very active ovarian cancer forum at medhelp and we would be glad to hear from you and your sister and try to help in any way that we can.
Please tell her to try not to worry about suvival rates and concentrate on living and enjoying life.
Thank you for your comments. So far, my sister has not made any comments about survival rates. Actually I am inquiring about that. Her dr. had told her boyfriend the day of her surgery that long term average survival is 5 years. I was curious because often times you hear some doctors say how long a patient has and others do not. I realize there are a lot of variances they have to deal with. With that being said, I wanted to do everything I could within the next 5 years to be with her and to be there for her. My sister was out of our lives for a good 10-15 years and recently contacted us. Then a few months later, she found the cyst and was diagnosed with the stage 3 cancer. Everything happens for a reason right? I feel as though it is to be supportive and for us all to be together as a family again. I'm embracing and taking this opportunity while it is here. She has had a lot of changes since she was diagnosed in Dec. 08 and is now dealing with a lot of stress from her life changes. She is currently involved with a support group also. I have and will continue to consider going with her to the dr. Maybe I will suggest it to her soon. She goes back today or tomorrow for another cat scan. Is there any additional knowledge you can offer me, as her sister, that could help me? I just don't want to say I wish there was more to do and I didn't do it. Now that she is past the chemo for now, I tend to forget how much she is still dealing with. Thanks again for reading my comments and responding. I appreciate it and have hope that you will both get thru this difficult time.
My sister has since gone back to her dr. and now the cancer is back. Only this time it is on her bowel. The dr. said they cannot operate and suggested chemo every wk. for a 21 cycle which is chemo for 3 Fridays and then the last Friday, no chemo. He also indicated she had 2-3 years to live. What does a dr. see to provide such information to a patient. If it is true, I would want to know however drs. have been wrong with such diagnosis on survival rates in the past. Why do they continue to do it? I guess she should get prepared, be strong and hope for the best. She is scheduling a second opinion to see an ovarian cancer specialist in Phila. soon. How concerned she we be knowing the cancer is now on the bowel and the ovaries have been completely removed? Should we be concerned about the stages? She is worried that it is now stage 4. From what I have read, it is not. The cancer needs to spread to a major organ outside of the stomach. Is that correct? Isn't stage 4 worse? So many people say don't worry about the stages when what I read is saying the opposite. I am trying to foucs on the positive with her and be strong. She has been depressed and just took 6 months disability from work along with 4 months of sick leave. Hopefully thru this second round of chemo she will be able to go back into remission. Any advice and answers to all of the above would be appreciate until I meet with her dr. in 2 weeks. I was supposed to meet him last week although he white cell count was only 260 and she could not continue her chemo treatment. Also, how much does food - vegetables and fruits, play as a vital part of fighting the cancer? Thank you.
i was diagnoised with invasive agressive breast cancer that had already gone to my bones. surgery was not an option at that point and i was given 5-6 yrs, that was in march of '05. i did very good for awhile but things are rapidly going down hill. they took me off chemo 'to give my body a rest' because of side effects. i am trouble walking and hands, feet, and arms are numb and not much dexterity. i wonder too how they know how long a person has. i think a lot depends on the person, to a degree, as the mind is very powerful. i am going to stick around a long as possible but some days i think that i will not do anymore treatments and leave it in God's hands. i have my affairs in order so i am not in denial but if my mind is a factor, i will live a lot longer. i am praying for your sis and you. it is hard on the family and friends also.