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To Chemo or Not To Chemo To Chemo or Not To Chemo

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Unread 03-18-2006, 11:09 AM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

I want to preface this by saying that my ultimate decision on this will be made with the advice of my gyn/onc, but I also wanted to hear my sisters' thoughts.

Ok, so, by reading the thread title, you know that at this moment I'm undecided on this course of action. My endo cancer spread was confined to less than 50% of the way through the myometrium, and 1 lymph node of the 14 biopsied came back positive. I underwent 23 external pelvic & abdominal radiations, and have an appointment with a new gyn/onc on the 31st to discuss the next course of action. (the one I originally met with has left that practice) I had my regular 3-month check-up/blood draw with my GP Thursday and he said something that made me stop and think. This is my first visit with him since my hysterectomy and he started off by saying he was sorry this has happened to me (he's a really sweet guy and a good doctor with a great bedside manner!) and then said that while having to go through chemo is really rough, it's better for me to have to suffer through it now and wipe out any cells that may be wandering around rather than forego it and run the risk of a recurrence that then could not be cured, rather only treated.
Obviously I will discuss this statement with the gyn/onc, but I just wondered if any of you all were told that recurrences, or rather I guess metastasis caused by not wiping out the original cancer cells, could not be cured?

Thanks for any and all input.
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Unread 03-18-2006, 12:24 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

s grnEyedldy

Tough decision for you, I'm sure.......

Ovarian is the same way. Once we have reoccurred, dr's are treating our condition, not curing it. That's why it's so important to do all we can do to avoid any future reoccurrences. Please keep that in mind while making your decision.

I will be that you can reach a decision that you are comfortable with.

Unread 03-18-2006, 12:45 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

Are you near a comprehensive cancer center? If so, you can always ask for another gyn/onc opinion there, as hopefully they are up on all the latest. If you do decide on chemo, it is do-able (moreso than we think ahead of time) and we're here to walk along with you.
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Unread 03-18-2006, 12:49 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

I understand where you are at, although my situation is a little different. I had only 4 of 44 lymph nodes affected, 28 external rads and 5 internal. They did two chemos for me first. I had the third after the radiation, and now my blood is too low. The doctor is telling me if my platlets stay low, they may cancel the chemo, not because its not working, but it was "insurance," and he thinks the chemo may do more harm than good since it looks like they got it all with the surgery and radiation.

But, he will leave it up to me. Yikes. My opinion is, and its only an opinion based on my experience, is that if I can handle it, I will continue the chemo. If a recurrence occurs, I want to make sure I felt I did everything possible the first time to prevent it. And like others have said, and I have experienced with the first three, the chemo is very doable.

If my blood is once again too low (this will be my third try in as many weeks on Wednesday), then I will agree to maintenance (3 month checkups with a CAT Scan every other visit for two years), BUT not without a beginning CAT Scan next week or the week after to make sure there really isn't anything there.

What about asking for a CT Scan just for insurance if you decide not to do the chemo? It's an option.
Unread 03-18-2006, 12:52 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

I had ovarian and the gyn/onc felt he got all the cancer through surgery. I was advised to have some chemo to take care of any possible stray, microscopic cells. I looked at my chemo as being an insurance policy. I would say I wanted to do everything possible and not have any regrets.

See what your gyn/onc recommends and if you feel you need to, get a second opinion. As has been said, chemo is doable and we are here for you.

Congrats on completing the radiaion.

Unread 03-18-2006, 01:07 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

I'm with Jane on this - with me, I only had small margins - no tumour left or cancer cells, but they felt that chemo was an extra precaution. It's been hard, because there's not really anything for them to measure in terms of going away.

I'll be honest, it sucked. but I'm glad I did it. And as a friend who is a doctor in Spain (and gave me a second opinion from an onc friend), it's worth having that extra confidence and, possibly more time. Nothing's guaranteed - but I'd rather be able to say that I did everything possible.
Unread 03-18-2006, 02:42 PM
Same boat

Hi, Kristi,
I think you know from my PM to you last month where I weigh in on this issue. I have the same stage and like you, only one lymph was found.

I chose after much deliberation not to do the chemo. Looks like from other posts, I'm in the minority.

One of the doctors listed in the 2005 America's Top Doctors for Cancer told me if I did chemo and the cancer reoccurred, I'd only be buying myself an extra four months. My rad-onc concurred that chemo doesn't add a lot of longevity and only recommended the two types of radiation.

On the other hand a nurse from a major cancer center sounded as if they do chemo routinely.

It comes down to a matter of choice, I guess. If there was one answer for treating cancer, there were be a cure.

Quality of life is important to me. I've known people who went through chemo and the quality of their life was lessened so that weighed upon my decision. However, it sounds as if a lot women here have had little or no side effects from chemo so their experiences might be more valid of an indicator.

TIme will tell if I made a mistake. Right now I feel great.

Whichever you and your medical team decide, I wish you the best.

Unread 03-18-2006, 03:12 PM

Perhaps part of your decision making process should include looking at the side effects for the specific type of chemo the doctor(s) suggest you take? From reading this site, I've learned that there are a lot of different types and some have less side effects than others.

Another thing to consider is that even though stage iiic uterine puts us at a higher risk for reoccurance, how does it compare to ovarian and cervical cancer risks? I notice some who had chemo did so for those two types of cancers... Just a thought.

Unread 03-18-2006, 03:38 PM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

Although at the moment you may feel that this is a tough decision to make I am sure that you will make the right one for you.
In my opinion I have to go along with Jane on this one. I too would want to take advantage of everything to rid myself of it all.
I have had 2 recurrances for ovarian cancer and am looking for stability. Those microscopic cells are, unfortunately, darn good growers.
Please weigh the pros and cons.
Unread 03-19-2006, 10:49 AM
To Chemo or Not To Chemo

Thank you, ladies, for your responses and opinions. I am armed with alot of questions for the doctor. Right now I'm leaning toward going with the chemo because I too would hate to have not done everything possible to ward off a recurrence and then have it happen.

WTW - Even though you, like the rest of us, are only doing what needs to be done to live, I admire you. You have been through so much and continue to be so strong. Whatever happens Wednesday, I hope it turns out to be whatever is ultimately best for you.

Zoe - I'm in the same boat as you with nothing to measure the 'success' of treatment by, other than being and remaining cancer free for the rest of my life. I think that's why the decision is harder for women facing this like you, Kat, and myself. Darn it, I want to know that I'm making the right choice and it's working!

Thanks, Jane - if this doctor feels that chemo is warranted, hers will actually be the 5th opinion. lol

Rosalie - You too have been through alot and I sure hope you find that stability soon.

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