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I saw the doctor yesterday to get the results of the brain MRI. The tumors are stable and some "appear to be slightly smaller" according to the report. Keeping in mind that mine are very small to begin with, I don't read alot into that. So basically the news is stable. I can live with stable....

We also discussed Tarceva. He went into the big explanation of the Iressa news, not knowing that we were armed with info, thanks to everyone here, and we were finishing his sentences before he could ...

Anyway, we decided to switch to Tarceva. I am on 150mg. and am really scared about the side effects. Here is what he said about what he and the other doctors at MD Anderson are doing about Iressa:

If a patient has received substantial benefit from Iressa, meaning substantial tumor shrinkage and stabilization of disease, then Iressa has benefitted them and they should stay with Iressa.

If a patient has received minimum benefit from Iressa, meaning very little, if any, tumor shrinkage but has remained stable it would be beneficial to switch to Tarceva as it has "proven" extended survival rate.

Therefore, we agreed and made the switch.

He said that Iressa and Tarceva are exactly the same drug, they target the tumor in exactly the same way. The only difference is that Iressa is formulated in different dosages than Tarceva. ie: Iressa's 250mg dosage is lower than Tarceva's 150mg dosage. The medication dosage is stronger in Tarceva and therefore the benefit is better. If I have bad side effects, he will switch me to the 100mg dose. After reading the Tarceva website, I see that it is available all the way up to 1000mg. Can you imagine?????

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I will keep you updated on my side effects.


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TAnn -

Great to hear stable and thank you for the breakdown in the Iressa vs Tarceva this will give us good information when we go see Mom's oncologist next week. I am curious to see what, if any, side effects you have with the Tarceva especially since a couple of others have had such severe reactions - hoping you have none!

Thinking of You!!!

Much Love,


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I have been checking and waiting for your update and I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that things are stable. I wish you well with the switch to Tarceva and will continue to keep you (and all others) in my prayers. Thank you so much for updating!

Love and prayers,

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Another quick note: (I meant to put this in my original post, but that short term memory loss is creeping up on me! :wink: )

Thought you all might like to know that Tarceva is much more expensive than Iressa. The pharmacist says "they're new, they're hot and they can pretty much charge whatever they want!"

For Iressa my copay was $25.00

for Tarceva it is $125.00

But if I didn't have insurance it would cost $3,200.00/month! :o



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Hi TAnn,

So glad to hear you are stable. Hope the Tarveca works for you, great that they are making such strides with the new medication too bad, given the price they charge for it they are not as interested in saving lives, it is sad.

I also want to ask you, since you had wbr how you are feeling as far as your side effects. When you finished your wbr, if your hair has started growing back etc. Did your dr have you on steroids during the radiation and if so did you have any side effects and what were they, are you still having them if so?

Has the brain tumors effected your eyesight any?

Any answers to any of these questions would be greatly appreciated.

Again, I am so happy to hear you are stable.


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Thank you for your good wishes. I have a few side effects still from the wbr. The main one is fatigue. I also still have some headaches and my ears ring all the time. I don't know if wbr had anything to do with it, but I can't read anything without my glasses anymore, before it may have been a little out of focus, but now, I can't see it at all.

I had my last radiation treatment on Oct. 15 and my hair STILL hasn't even started to grow back, nothing, not even a sprig!

I did have steroids during radiation and was weaned off when I was done. I ate alot, couldn't sleep, wasn't too nice and couldn't turn my brain off. That is all much better now without the steroids.

How about you, has your hair grown back yet? Hope this helps.


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TAnn - Great news, stable. Beautiful word. Sure hope the Tarceva is good for you. Can't wait to hear the good news on it. These insurance companies and drug outlets are all different in how they charge. My Iressa was $2236 a month and Tarceva was $2659, both with a $9 co-pay. That was with Rite-Aid. Anyway, great news and congrats. I love it when anybody gets good news. Take care and God Bless.

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It sounds like good news to me as well. Stable and shrinkage seems like something you want to maintain. As for the Tarceva, I really hope this will be just the ticket for you. I haven't had WBR but when my hair fell out from chemo it took from August 7th to the end of November for mine to begin to grow back. Now it is still curly and very thick. I sure hope yours does the same thing. Praying for you and everyone else.


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