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Lung Cancer Stage 4 - Taxol & treatment questions


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My mom was diagnosed 3 years ago with adenocarcinoma - unknown primary - stage 4. She took chemo and went into remission approx. 4 months later. It has been 3 years and with a 6 month checkup she found out that she has adenocarcinoma - lung cancer - stage 4.

Her oncologist recommended Taxol. If that doesn't work she will try Taxotere. The oncologist does not recommend using the same chemo that worked the first time (Gemzar and Carboplatin). Is this normal to not use the same chemo that worked before?

I have also read that when someone receives Taxol they also get Carboplatin and they receive it one time a week for 3 weeks and then they have a week off. My mom will only be receiving the Taxol one time every 3 weeks. Is this normal?

I hope someone can explain this to me.

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Hey there. Well someone will come along soon that can answer your questions. I do know that it is normal not to receive same drug again...in fact I don't think I have heard of anyone who has. So this is a start of a very good question.

I am so pleased to hear of how well your mom has done for so long though. That's just great and gives others here lots of hope. All the best on the next line of treatment. Take care


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Hi blueangel,

I had Taxol alone and had very good success with it. Only side effect was Neuropathy, still have it to this day but with meds is manageable. If it was me I would feel comfortable with just the Taxol. Like your Mom I tried Gemzar and Carboplatin but with no success. So many factors determine treatments for each one of us. If you have trust and have faith go with your onc's recommendation, if not get a second opinion.

Good question on using chemo over if it worked the first time. Don't recall reading that on the board but never know somebody might have. My want to ask Dr. West over @ http://cancergrace.org (Grace). Let us know the answer on that. That's great on Mom's success! Good Luck!


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Hi, welcome to the group. Maybe I can help with your questions, but keep in mind that I'm just a very involved patient and not a doctor or research expert!

Any particular chemo drug is most effective in the early weeks of treatment, before the cancer has been able to mutate and become resistant to that drug. After a while, the drug begins to lose effectiveness, yet the toxic effects on the body continue to build, and there comes a time when a particular treatment causes more harm than good. Here's an OncTalk article on that subject (OncTalk has now been incorporated into GRACE -- Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education -- at cancergrace.org):

http://onctalk.com/2007/01/17/duration- ... ng-cancer/

Therefore, if a second line of therapy becomes necessary, it's generally better to try something that hasn't been used before -- something sufficiently different from the first treatment that it's unlikely the cancer has developed a resistance to it.

With a number of chemo regimens, the standard program is one infusion every 3 weeks, and the side effects follow that 3-week cycle with some noticeable ups and downs. With some patients, especially those in a somewhat weakened condition or those who will be receiving radiation as well as chemo, it's easier on the patient to smooth out the ups and downs by giving a weaker infusion weekly. I believe the total effectiveness is about the same, but of course there are more office visits involved which add up to more inconvenience for the patient and greater costs. So if there's no good reason to even things out with weekly treatments, the 3-week schedule is generally preferred. Notice I said "generally," since there may be some oncologists who prefer the weekly schedule for the majority of their patients.



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