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Cisplatin and Gemzar--What can you tell me?


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I was wondering what any of you could tell me about Gemzar and Cisplatin. Once mom is through her radiation treatments that's what they will start her on. Is that a pretty typical course of action for NSCLC? Typical for Stage IV dealing with bone mets?

Mom is going to a smaller hospital. I know a lot of people feel that you need to find a larger cancer center to get the best care. I'm trying to get a feel for whether her doc is being agressive about things or... well... not.

Is there anything anybody can tell me about what she can expect as far as side effects with these drugs in particular? I know it's different for everybody.

And, can you refer me to some good websites to look for information about such things on? Looks like I get to be the Internet Research fiend for the family. :)

Thanks all!

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Hi Treebywater,

Cannot speak about Gemzar/Cisplatin (or radiation) did not have that combo. I’m sure others will be along to help soon. I belong to an HMO (over 25 years/it is small compared to other hospitals in the Boston area) and have received top-notch care and doing (other then fatigue/it varies from day to day) well. I think it all comes down to the oncologists and facility etc. If not sure seek a second opinion, never hurts. Also here are some links to help you. Knowledge (research, research and more research) is the key. A support group (or phone buddy) for lung cancer is a good place to see how others are dealing and coping if your mother is up to it. Stay with us, best place with the best people for caring, sharing, support and knowledge. Gather all the info from many of the post(s) and go forward. There is Ask The Experts also. Hope this helps. Prayers for the best. Peace, take care and God Bless.


PS: Great Picture!

http://lcam.org (Lung Cancer Awareness Month / November)

http://www.cancermonthly.com/ (Cancer Monthly (The Source For Cancer Treatment Results)

http://www.roycastle.org (Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... h&DB=books (NCBI / BookShelf)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... _id=&state (Caregiving)

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MON/MON_1.asp (Track Side Effects)

http://www3.cancer.gov/cancercenters/centerslist.html (NCI-designated Cancer Centers / Cancer Centers Listed by State)

http://www.healthology.com/focus_articl ... cancernews (How To Eat Well During Cancer Treatment)

http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/nutrition/nutrition.asp (Nutrition Facts and Information Center)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/patient/nsclc (Iressa)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/prof/about (Iressa)

http://www.findcancerexperts.com (Find Cancer Experts)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Making Decisions About Cancer Treatment)

http://www.chemocare.com (ChemoCare)

http://www.curetoday.com/currentissue/d ... index.html (Toolbox: Resources You Can Use)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks8h.htm (Resources for Caregivers)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=U ... sa&spell=1 (Medicaid)

http://www.thehealthinsurance.com/medicaid.htm (Medicaid)

http://www.thebeehive.org/health/contests/medicaid.asp (Medicaid)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_faq.html ((Lung Cancer - Frequently Asked Questions)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/treatme ... osurg.html (Surgery - General Information & What to Expect)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_glossary.html (Lung Cancer Glossary)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Receive the PLWC Bulletin)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/hos ... p_home.htm (Directory Of American Hospitals)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/tests/index.html (Lung Cancer Online / Test And Procedures)

http://www.vh.org/adult/patient/cancerc ... index.html (Understanding Blood Tests / A Guide for Patients with Cancer)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/tr ... ng/patient (SCLC)

http://www.meds.com/pdq/smallcell_pat.html (Medicine OnLine / SCLG)

http://health.allrefer.com/health/prima ... -info.html (Diseases And Conditions / SCLC)

http://www.hospicefoundation.org (Hospice Foundation Of America)

http://www.hospiceweb.com (Hospice Web)

http://www.hospice-america.org/consumer.html (Hospice Association Of America)

http://www.hospicenet.org (Hospice Net)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 151,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Talking to Someone With Cancer)

http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/ ... 87526.html (3-year-old keeps her smile in battle with rare cancer)

http://www.rfalung.com (Radio Frequency Ablation Of Lung Cancer)

http://www.lungcancercoalition.org (Global Lung Cancer Coalition)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Financial Support Resources)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/healt ... hqcanc.htm (Best Hospitals)

https://www.alcase.org/advocacy/sign_the_petition.html (Advocacy / Sign the Petition)

http://www.cancersymptoms.org (Oncology Nursing Society)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Questions to Ask the Doctor)

http://www.alcase.org/education/publica ... reath.html (With Every Breath A Lung Cancer Guidebook / From ALCASE / A Wealth Of Information / Free)

http://www.cancersurvivaltoolbox.org (The Cancer Survival Toolbox / Free / From NCCS)

http://www.centerwatch.com (Clinical Trails Listing Service / Center Watch)

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&editi ... ung+cancer (Lung Cancer In The News)

http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/pro ... /guide.asp (The Wellness Community / National Cancer Support, Education And Support / Free)

http://www.drugs.com (Drug Information Online)

http://www.alcase.org (ALCASE / Alliance For Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, Education)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov (Unites States / National Library Of Medicine)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/encyclopedia.html (Health Information / Medical Encyclopedia)

http://www.google.com (Great Search Engine)

http://blochcancer.org (R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, Inc. / Please read: A Letter to all newly diagnosed cancer patients)

http://www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society)

http://www.cancer.gov (Cancer Information Service / NCI)

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http://www.aicr.org (American Institute for Cancer Research; Nutrition Hotline / AICR)

http://www.cancerhopenetwork.org (Cancer Hope Network)

http://www.acor.org (Association of Cancer Online Resources / Free Online Lifeline For Everyone Affected By Cancer & Related Disorders)

http://www.meds.com/lung/lunginfo.html (Lung Cancer Information Library)

http://www.lungusa.org (American Lung Association)

http://www.ama-assn.org (American Medical Association)

http://www.docguide.com/news/content.ns ... g%20Cancer (Doctor’s Guide / Lung Cancer)

http://www.healthfinder.gov/Scripts/Sea ... ?topic=506 (Healthfinder)

http://www.medicinenet.com/Lung_Cancer/article.htm (Medicine Net)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks2l.htm (Cancer Index / Lung Cancer Resources Directory)

http://www.nfcr.org/site/PageServer?pag ... ncers_lung (National Foundation For Cancer Research)

http://www.patientadvocate.org (Patient Advocate Foundation)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/effects ... fects.html (Lung Cancer Online / Hematologic (Blood) Effects)

http://www.cancerlinks.org/lung.html (Lung Cancer Links)

http://www.cancer-free.com (Cancer Free Connections)

http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/C ... ung_cancer (Health Insite)

http://www.lungcancerclaims.com (Lung Cancer / Lung Cancer Information Page)

http://www.cancerlifecenter.com/engine. ... =dictionar (Cancer Life Center/ Cancer Dictionary)

http://www.canceryellowpages.com/Resour ... G%20CANCER (Cancer yellow Pages)

http://icare.org (ICARE / The International Cancer Alliance)

http://www.vh.org/index.html (Virtual Hospital)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/support/financial.html (Lung Cancer Online / Financial, Legal & Insurance Issues)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/index.htm (Lung Cancer Online / HomePage)

http://cancernews.healthology.com/focus ... cancernews (Cancer News)

http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/7_48.htm (Follow-up Care: Questions and Answers)

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Hi. I love the picture of your belly!!!!!

My mom had carboplatin/gemzar. She tolerated it really well. She did not lose all of her hair, it shedded and I would say 50% was gone, but never to the point of needing a wig. She had the typical nausea and fatigue, but that is to be expected and there are medications to help.

Also, don't be alarmed like I was, it is VERY NORMAL to get low blood counts during chemo and need a transfusion, they will continuously be monitoring her blood counts.

Keep us posted!!!

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My Mum was also stage IV at diagnosis, with lymph and bone involvement. She asked to be treated aggressively, and had 6 cycles of Cisplatin and Gemzar in the first half of 2004. She tolerated it pretty well. From memory, she felt unwell around day 5 each week, but not enough to keep her in bed or anything like that. Probably every second cycle her bloods were too low to complete the treatment, but she actually felt ok. She got some peripheral neuropathy (primarily in her feet) which has started to resolve in the last couple of months. She also experienced some hearing impairment, which has also improved with time. She started losing her hair around the 3rd cycle, and lost about half in total. She had some initial shrinkage (slight) of the primary tumour, and then stable disease.

All in all, she felt that she managed the treatments really well. She was taking alot of supplements which may or may not have made a difference!!

From the research I have done, this is pretty aggressive treatment - I don't think it comes much tougher than Cisplatin!! As far as good websites, all I ever do is a Google search on whatever it is I am looking into - so I would type Cisplatin and lung cancer. Obviously this will give you alot of hits, so I hope you have plenty of time on your hands. Others can probably give you better direction in this regard than I can!!

I hope your Mom tolerates her treatments well, and gets some great results!!

All the best


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My dad had carbo/gemzar and had NO SIDE EFFECTS at all.... a few months ago he had cisplatnim and it knocked him for a loop..... but, I have to say, I think it was more the advanced cancer that was getting him and at the time we blamed the chemo. Hope your Mom has success with her treatment....

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My husband didn't have Cisplatin, but he did receive Gemzar/Navelbine with no side effects, other than some peripheral neuropathy and some fatigue. I've heard Cisplatin is powerful stuff, meant to do exactly what it's supposed to do.

You have to drink lots and lots of water with Cisplatin to flush the kidneys. I've also heard that it takes a long day (maybe 6 hours) to infuse Cisplatin because they give it to you slowly with lots of fluids, and that pre-treatment with nausea meds is essential.

Good wishes and prayers for your mom.



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I had cisplatin/gemzar and it was not bad at all. I did not lose my hair. The gemzar caused some thinning, but not even so bad that anybody would notice except me.

I had compazine and zofran for nausea, and took it faithfully for three days following each treatment. I found the zofran worked much better, but is very expensive. It was covered on my prescription card.

My only real problem through chemo was consitipation, and that hit me unexpectedly the first cycle. I think it was the zofran and/or compazine. Once I knew that could be a problem, I took a stool softener every day for the entire remaining time I was on chemo and there was not a problem again.

My platelets went low due to the gemzar, so treatments had to be juggled a bit, but I got them all in eventually and had to get an arenesp shot several times. That thing burned like crazy going in, but that feeling passed quickly.

Good luck to your mom. I hope she does well. My best advice would be to talk to the oncologist and the nursing staff at the infusion center if there are any problems or concerns. They are there to help get your mom through this.


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Cisplatin is definitely the rougher of the platins, and is known to affect hearing; pretreatment with Ethyol (aka amafosdine) can prevent the worst of the ear pain/hearing loss.

The doctors told me to be in best nutritional status for surgery, so I ate very well all good healthy food, including vegetables and steak to get a lot of iron as I was anemic.

I did lose my hair, 18 days after the cisplatin.

I had vp16/cisplatin on days 1-5 and 8, then off for the remainder of the 4 weeks. I had the first two sessions complete with m-fri radiation for 25 days. It killed the tumor, but my recovery was exhausting.

Good luck to your mom. There are lots of premeds that make all the difference, I think, in taking chemo. Miracles of modern medicine.


Prayers always,


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My tonic included cisplatin and navelbine....and I never lost my hair. It must be a personal reaction rather than a definite side effect. I was also very nauseous despite the added meds. I took them all....but compazine didn't work for me...it made me sicker. Chemo-induced anemia hit me early on and I needed Procrit shots throughout tx and for months after finishing my rounds. I hope all these various reactions help your mom to cope. I know this is hard to believe while in the midst of treatment.....but "there is life after chemo".....And a good....good life it is!! Good luck....

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Thank you for all your responses. I've passed them on to mom and dad. After what you've all told me and the research I've done, I feel like our doctor is being more agressive than I expected. I'm glad. Good to know a little bit more about what we're dealing with too.

Now... I just want to get to where we're doing the chemo stuff... We need to start slaying this beast!

Thanks again for all of your input and encouragement!

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