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I was on Tarceva for 16 months and had great results with it. Comes in pill form, taken once a day and usually one starts out at 150MG. Side effects for me was diarrhea and rash of course everyone is different. I had constant diarrhea and the dosage was lowered to 100MG and that cleared that up and still had great results. Stated out with the rash but it went away soon after. Did not have any problems with my counts which is another plus. Also if Joanie does go on it tell her to stay away from grapefruit. Can go to there website tarceva.com for more info and they have a toll free 800 number you can call. Hope this helps.

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I don't know how your mom's feeling, but if she's up to it, I might give it a try. Side effects are rash and diarrhea, but both can be managed. I don't remember - has she never tried it before? I think I remember she was stable on chemo + avastin for a while, then the brain problem popped up. I think I would want to try it if I were in her place, but I'm not there yet, so I would leave it up to her. Good luck - it's great of you to try to help your parents so much.


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Hi Dana,

I've been taking Tarceva for just about a year now. I started it after traditional chemo/radiation knocked the stuffing out of my tumor. The worst problem for me has been a rash on my face that's pretty well controlled with an oral antibiotic and an antibiotic lotion. Every once in a while, though, it pops out again. Aside from that (and I consider that to be minor), I've seen no downside to taking Tarceva.

You can find lots of info on Tarceva on Dr. West's website "onctalk.com".

I wish your mom great success with Tarceva.

Take care of yourself while you're taking care of your parents, Dana. You're all in my prayers.


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Geez I feel like the barer of bad news today, but I remember appreciating honesty when my dad was going through this. Anyway, the Dr's. told my dad that his type of cancer typically does not repond well to Tarceva. He never came out and said 5% chance. My dad was on Tarceva for 49 days before he died. The cancer ended up spreading out of control in his lymph nodes in his chest :(.- This was called Lymphangatic Spread.

I remember typing on this post and asking about Tarceva, and I will say that so many people came back with positive things to say. I'm just sorry (in more ways than one) that mine is negative.

My thoughts are with you,


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If that's what you were told, I'd consider it to be a real oversimplification that grossly underestimates the potential value of Tarceva. It's true that only a minority of patients show a significant, dramatic degree of tumor shrinkage on Tarceva, but even that likelihood is closer to 10% than 5%. And as a few people on the boards here have mentioned, many of these responses can last for months or even years, so tarceva can become almost a chronic medication, and often well tolerated.

But the bigger issue is that in addition to the 8 or 10% of patients who have a major response, there are a very sizable proportion of patients, probably about half, who don't show significant tumor shrinkage but have a prolonged period of stable disease. Overall, when given to a general population of patients with previously treated (with chemo) lung cancer, the population getting tarceva lives about two months longer than a population getting a placebo. It's not that everyone gets two months, but some get far more, some get a few months, and maybe 30-40% get no benefit at all. I have written general things about tarceva in some of the posts at my website that I've tried to fill with useful info for lung cancer patients and their families:



I hope that's helpful.

-Dr. West

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Hey Dana,

I have been on Tarceva for 2 years and I spoke with a lady the other day that has a friend that has been on it since 2002. It has worked well for her and myself and I pray that it will work well for Joanie if she decides to take it. The side effects are manageable and there are things that can be done to help alleviate them. If you would like any info. on what I have done or deal with during these last two years, please let me know.

Please tell Joanie that I am thinking of her and praying that Tarceva is her miracle drug!!!


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It is really encouraging to see so many doing well on Tarceva. My husband has been on it a short time and I am amazed at the difference. He was out on his bike yesterday. He had a severe rash and needed to reduce down to 100mg rash is much better and as I said he is doing great. Goodluck!



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