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combined modality advice


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My Mom has been doing very well thru her second round of chemotherapy. The onc did have to reduce her dosage somewhat since her platelets "dipped dramatically", but not enough to require intervention. Her white count went down about 20% and she was put on Cipro for a few days until the count rebounded. Now...we are operating on the assumption that she is limited stage. Her PET scan was clean, but the onc wants to do a bone marrow aspiration just to be sure(that will be done in about a week). Here is where I have questions.

Due to my mother's age, soon to be 83, the onc wants her to have her radiation treatments once she finishes 4-6 rounds of chemo. (That is assuming her bone marrow is cancer free-then she would be extensive and the onc questions the benefit of radiation). He is concerned that combining chemo and radiation might be too much for her and set her back, not allowing her to finish the chemo. He feels it is safer to administer radiation at the end.

From all I read, optimum treatment is combined therapy, but her age may not allow it. Does this sound reasonable? I have great faith in this doc so far but would like to hear from our resident experts here! As a parting thought, I guess I should be consulting radiation oncologists for their opinions as well....

Thanks for the help.


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Everyone varies - but your doc is probably right. I skated thru my chemo, but when they started overlapping that with the radiation, it kicked my butt (ended up in the hospital in pretty bad shape) - and I was only 42!

Get a second opinion if you're not sure, but otherwise trust your doctor to know how strong your mom is.

Hugs and prayers,


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I have to agree with Sandy. When radiation was added while I was still doing chemo it kicked my butt also & I went into this 48 yrs young & strong. Of course I did radiation twice a day. I think you should trust your Doc. Good luck to you all and know there is positive energy coming your way. Rachel

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My wife had radiation during her chemo stint. It was very hard on her and tended to dehydrate her and lower her resistance. She was very tired all the time, along with the usual side effects of each. BUT, it was worth it -- she needed the immediate treatment. My wife is in her 60's though, so I would think it is reasonable not to put an 80-year old through such rigor as dual treatment. Don

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Just wanted to add that my main onc was adamant about my having radiation along with chemo. Went for radiation preparation but after radiation onc reviewed my films, she refused to do radiation. My main onc was quite upset and anxious for me to seek 2nd opinion to confirm her views.

My 2nd opinion onc agreed with radiation onc - said since I was extensive stage he felt the radiation along w/chemo would not improve my chances for survival and would probably make me so sick I would have to quit chemo. He and radiation onc felt if cancer returned it would be to liver and if it returned in the chest I could have radiation at that time. So I went with the 2 out of 3 opinion.

Wishing your Mom the very best!

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