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Moving on to Tarceva


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My scan after the 8th round of Carbo/Taxol/Avastin showed stable disease compared to the scan after the 6th round. I took last week off from cancer and went on a cruise to Alaska with my husband, which was wonderful. My last chemo was four weeks ago yesterday and it's amazing to me the difference in how I feel with just a week off. Energy level is great, voice is back to normal, no heartburn, etc. Met with the oncologist yesterday and we are moving to Tarceva as second line single agent therapy - first dose will be tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

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So glad your Alaskan cruise went well. My former boss moved up there and said its beautiful there, as a matter of fact, his wife used to work on one of the cruise lines.

I started taking Tarceva three weeks ago tomorrow. So far, no side effects except that I am anxious that I have no side effects :roll::roll: . Many members here gave me lots of tips on products to use to help with the side effects and suggested that I start using them immediately. I am sure they will be along soon, if not, look under test/updates under my thread of The other shoe fell, and you will find them. Or just PM me. Basically, its moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I am using baby shampoo, cetphil body wash, Vaseline Intensive Rescue lotion, and lip balm with Vitamin E in it. And I use Oil of Olay mositurizering cleansing wipes on my face several times a day - makes my face feel wonderful. I am sure your doc told you to stock up on Immodium, also.

Good luck and keep us posted - they say when it works, Tarceva works GREAT!! I still have another 3 weeks til a scan so ........... keeping my fingers crossed for both of us!!

Hugs - Patti B.

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Lisa -

I am so happy for you that your cruise was wonderful and relaxing!!

I am going on my first cruise in two weeks - to the Caribbean - it was my going away gift from work! I am so excited!

Lisa, I have been on Tarceva since Feb. 2007 and I am NED. The side effects happen - but they are all manageable. If you need any help with them just ask the board - as Patti can attest - you will get lots of suggestions!

I pray the Tarceva works as well for you as it has for me -


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Lisa, I believe we corresponded about Tarceva on cancergrace.org -- but since you mentioned heartburn I want to recap that part. My acid reflux/heartburn, which had started with Taxol/Carboplatin/Avastin and improved somewhat on Avastin alone, became considerably worse after a month or so on Tarceva. Because of concern that strong antacids might interfere with the effectiveness of Tarceva, I did some experimenting with food and beverage triggers. I eliminated caffeine, which helped some, but found it necessary to completely eliminate tomatoes and greatly reduce tomato-based soups and sauces. Not easy, but no more heartburn and no antacids required. Aloha,


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I was just surfing along when I found your post, and am I glad I did! I completed 3 C/T/A cycles w/ unbelievable results, then boom my CEA went from 152 to 243 in 3 weeks :( I was/am a wreck. The onc wanted to start me on tarceva 9/2 I literally begged for C/T/A and bargained him into C/T and a CT scan 9/23. He only had 6 cycles planned and did say he would not cont. if was not working. Should I ask why not 8 cycles? Imagine begging for chemo, but hea I did it once and I'm still here :) Hope this post finds everyone in one piece.


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Mary - you can talk to your dr about additional cycles (and that would only be if your scan shows that the elevated CEA is an anomaly and no progression is actually seen), but I will tell you that no one I work with would ever give more than 4-6 cycles. The reason being, by that time, the tumor sort of has become wise to the treatment and you seldom see additional effects after the first few cycles. There are exceptions of course. If you saw the tumor shrink more from cycle 4 to cycle 6 (very rare) then the dr may be willing to go for another cycle or two. But usually by cycle 4, you have seen all the response you are going to see, then confirmed by scanning after cycle 6, and so any additional cycles would be lots of toxicity for no real benefit. (I think Lisa is one of the rare folks that continued to see the tumor respond from cycle 4 to 6, hence why her dr gave 8 cycles. It just is very much not the norm.)

I'm sure you are anxious about the rising CEA, but wait until the scan confirms that it is real. I don't think many drs would change the Tx plan due to elevations in CEA, though that would make them scan sooner. Then, if the scan confirms progression, well there are still other treatment options yet to try. Easy for me to say, I realize. But just trying to help a wee bit. Myself, I'm on pins and needles since my sister had a PET yesterday and I'm going with her Monday to get the results - if the anxiety doesn't get me first. So I can only imagine the anxiety you are feeling. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and the 23rd will be here before we know it.

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Cat is exactly right. I had linear reduction in tumor size documented by scans after cycles 3, 4 (CT angio done for shortness of breath) and 6. Three different oncologists all agreed that it made sense to continue as I was tolerating the chemo very well. Scan after 8th cycle shows stable disease so we're done with Carbo and Taxol. Everyone felt pretty confident that we should start Tarceva right away - the only question was whether or not to continue Avastin. My oncologist decided that he would like to have it available to use with third line treatment if and when that becomes necessary so we stopped it.

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