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Please Give Me Some Advice (Chemo or Not)


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I need any input that anyone can give me on the question of whether to do chemo or not. Pros and cons with an almost 83 year old man who is active, with reduced kidney function and a little heart disease and heart valve regurgitation. He had a pleuradesis last month and is still recovering from surgery, otherwise asymptomatic as far as the mesothelioma goes.

I really hate to be so pessimistic, but I also want to be realistic. Please tell me if I am not right about what I am thinking about all of this.

In the case of Mesothelioma, I know that they say it is incurable. Chemo can slow it down, maybe shrink tumors and keep the cancer from metastisizing. My question is, (as pessimistic as it is, I'm sorry)....

Won't these things eventually happen anyway? Won't the cancer take over eventually while so many people take the chemo and are sick for a good part of the week in which they are receiving treatments and possibly risk getting infections etc.?

I want my elderly dad to be able to make the right decision and I certainly want to keep him here, but I don't want to push him into something that may very likely make him worse. He only weighs 127 pounds and doesn't have much of an appetite now. Chemo, I would think, certainly wouldn't help that.

The doctor told us that if he does Gemzar alone (because of his kidneys), his life could possibly be prolonged to a year. I don't know what it would be without the chemo.

Any comments are welcome. Thank you.

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Part of the reason for doing Chemo is to Prolong life. Debs Oncologist once told me that, the goal is to prolong life long enough to hopefully find that MIRACLE BULLET. or treatment, that will solve the problems.

On a more personal note, I can not offer too much but I thinkl I would do it to try for that and to spend as much time as I possibly can with someone. THe ultimate decision though has to be made between you and dad and Family members. I know this is hard to do, But it is ultimately in your Families hands.

I will say a prayer for you and everyoine around theat has to make this decision. It is very personal though, and we are here no matter what that decision is.

Every decision is different. every one reacts differently, but no matter what we will do everything to help in this case.

YOu may want to take a look at the forum titled The Path less travelled. This is about members past and present who have done this and been through this decision process. My most memorable Member in this Forum is the Late Dean Carl. RIP Dean

THis forum may help with this decision I hope..

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What does your dad want? My MIL- age 86--has elected not to do any further treatment for her NSCLC. She was diagnosed 2 years ago and had radiation only to her tumor. She has felt good and had a good life (still does)since then. Her cancer has been growing but it has not limited her. It's a hard call to make. Let us know what he decides to do.

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my dad like yours weighs only 126 lbs. tho he is only 69 to you 83.

chemo has been rough. but like said it is a life extender. right now we are on a break because the chemo has landed my dad in the hospital 3 out of the 4 treatments due to dehydration and lack of energy and diarrhea.

its a hard row to hoe.... talk to your dad see what he wants. mine wants to go go go fight fight fight so I am truckin right along side him helping him do whats needed.

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Your medical team (and others) are not kidding when they say that you must weigh the quality of life that living with chemo/radiation/surgery provides, versus the quality of life with no treatment.

The recovery from surgery can go extremely well or horribly bad. Some types of chemo are more gentle to the body than others. Some are very toxic. Most of the time, you can live reasonably well with chemo. Radiation seems to knock most people on their fannies; many do well after the initial period of recovering from the symptoms.

Responses to and reactions from treatment are variable and specific to each case. There are so many factors to consider that even the specialists cannot predict what will happen.

However, I would hazard a guess that most patients who go the treatment route carry on fairly well, far from the general public opinion that chemo automatically makes your hair fall out and you spend your time puking and feeling like crud. Nonetheless, your father has other medical conditions to consider as well.

Some people want to fight; others need time to tie things up -- relationsip-wise or financially; still others are ok accepting things as they are and live their lives with no treatment.

And while you can help ensure that your father has as much information as possible at hand to make a choice, realize that you may not agree with his decision. And that's ok, but it is HIS decision to make.

All the best to you,


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I had chemo and Tarceva. I had almost two years of complete remission. I have a couple of new spots show up and have started chemo again I have had no bad side effects from any of my treatment except for a little tingling in my fingers. Maybe something like Tarceva alone would be worth trying.

Stay positive, :)


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I'm with Ernie ... my mom considered doing nothing, the whole quality of life thing. But the chemo was not all that horrible for her. She's (so far) experienced another Christmas, her grandson going to the prom, another one marrying, the birth of twin great-granddaugthers, etc., and felt decent through it all. Heck, I even took her to see Josh Groban last week and she gigggled like a teenager.

I know she would say, at least so far, it's been worth it. Maybe your dad could try one or two treatments, see what side effects he's going to have. If they are bad, have him try the Tarceva ... it's one pill a day, that's it. You never know what could zap the cancer, and you can always stop or reevaluate your treatment.

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