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neilb

tarceva and supplements

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Are there any supplements that people know of where there is evidence that they interfere with Tarceva? I'm aware of the controversy about antioxidants and traditional chemotherapy, but I've seen little on antioxidants (or other supplements) and Tarceva. Thanks!--Neil

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Thanks, everyone, for your responses. The dilemma is that we have to make decisions under uncertainty. If you thought a supplement had a 30-40% chance of being helpful, a 10% chance of being harmful, and a 50-60% chance of having no effect (all, of course, in combination with your standard treatment), would you take it? I think that's a realistic estimate based on what I've seen on melatonin, for instance. I could be wrong, and others are certainly going to evaluate the evidence differently. And each of us then has to decide what those odds mean for us. It's also tough for us to be caught between supplement purveyors or ideolgoues who tremendously overstate potential positive effects, and the more conservative US medical community that perhaps understates potential positive effects out of an overabudance of caution.

The easy answer (and the one oncologists are most likely to offer) is "Wait for the results of clinical trials", but, like a lot of us, I have to make a decision in the near-term. So, I'm still confused. I'll talk to my oncologist, but, ultimately, I've got to make my own decisions.

Thanks again to all!--Neil

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Neil,

I take a lot of supplements, I check with my oncologist about them. I can't say if they help me and I can't say that they don't. I have had no bad side effects from chemo or Tarceva. I have been taking Tarceva for 21 months.

Stay positive, :)

Ernie

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Hi Ernie,

My father was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC BAC on May 1. Today his oncologist said he is too week to begin chemo so instead started him on 150mg of Tarceva per day as first-line treatment. She said that if the drug is going to work for him, we will know in 2-3 weeks. My father completely believes it's going to work for him, and his attitude throughout has been exceptional...strong, positive and hopeful. Pretty incredible!

I've done some research and wonder about the efficacy of Tarceva as first-line treatment in general and the efficacy of Tarceva in long-time heavy smokers. What I've ready seems to suggest that most responders are women who've never smoked. Can you help clarify any of this?

Also, what if there is no improvement in the next 2-3 weeks? My father's condition worsens daily in terms of his ability to keep food down (too much mucous build-up that causes him to violently vomit clear frothy mucous). I'm worried that the non-eating will keep him unfit for traditional chemo and that he will have a heart-attack, seizure or stroke with all of the forceful coughing or that he will damage his esophagus or....???. He's already passed out once when his airways were blocked by the mucous (he has no brain mets). I can't bear the thought of watching the mucous drain the life out of him. I hate those damn cancerous cells!

Do you have any advice I can pass on to my Dad? I've seen your story and read your particular therapy and, like you, we are praying every day for Dad. Please pray for us.

Best wishes and prayers to you and your family on your wonderful success, spirit and sharing! You're all an inspiration!

Yirol

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