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David off Taxotere - Feedback on next chemo choice needed

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The oncologist has taken my David off "Taxotere." His toenails , which are falling out anyway, became infected because of the chemo and he is now on antibiotic poor man. The onclologist would like to put him on "Iressa" but Medicare does not cover "any cancer treatments that are," not taken by mouth" so Dave says he will not have it. His other choices are "Gemzar" and "Navlebine." (sp?) Any feedback on these two chemo's would be apprreciated.

The oncologist only wants to see him back in the office on the 31st of this month, so I hope he will feel better after having a break from chemo. Next week we see a podiatrist and I hope he can do some of his magic to help relieve David of some of the uncomfortable symptoms. David is also a diabetic so we really have to watch this problem.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Love to you all,


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You will probably get a variety of responses to this. Like Dave, my husband did TERRIBLE with Taxotere (I truly thought the treatment was going to kill him instead of cancer - I hadn't found this website yet), but others here had no problem with Taxotere. Gemzar/Navelbine were much, much kinder to him, but others here have had big problems with them.

I guess you just don't know until you get it since it's different for everyone.

Keep us posted.



P.S. I responded to your PM.

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Paddy, Lucie is presently on Navelbine, having had Taxotere and Carboplatin on her first treatment. It has not had the bad side effects of Taxotere so far. Lucie has been tvery fatigued and that is the main one. The tumor on her right lower rib that was giving her discomfort seems to have subsided significantly after two treatments, so that is an indication to us it is working. She probably will not have to have radiation after this treatment. She has her third and fourth treatments this week and next and then scans will be done to see where we are. Best to you both. Don

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Paddy -

You might check again with Medicare - with the "changed" drug program they are now covering Iressa - I know when Mom got her first rx medicare pd nothing and their secondary pd for all but 20% but the past two refills medicare has paid so Mom paid nothing out of pocket. I was suprised until Elaine posted that she thought medicare was paying now and I then did some research and found that they are indeed covering Iressa. Just a thought! Best wishes to you and I hope your hubby finds some relief during this break.

Much Love,


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I know that the diabetes causes circulation problems in the extremities so I am sure your response with the toenails is probably worse than many. I hope he gets it all worked out so that he is not so uncomfortable. Is he able to wear shoes? I know that diabetics have to watch their feet and make sure they don't get hurt etc. Keep us in touch.


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Iressa can be covered under Medicare now. You need to apply ASAP as the benefit is subject to limitations--only a certain amount of money has been set aside.

Thousands to Get Coverage for Cancer Drugs Under Medicare Demo Program

Yahoo news

June 25, 2004

Some 25,000 cancer patients on Medicare (news - web sites) will soon be able to get coverage for life-saving chemotherapy drugs that are not currently paid for by the agency.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is beginning a lottery process to select patients who will receive the drug coverage more than a year before it becomes available to all Medicare beneficiaries in January, 2006.

The American Cancer Society (news - web sites) lobbied for the transitional coverage -- called a demonstration program -- as part of the Medicare reform law passed last year.

"It's definitely a victory," said Wendy Selig, vice president of legislative affairs for ACS. "While it's not going to meet every need of every person out there, it's certainly going to make a difference to those 25,000 people."

Medicare currently offers coverage of chemotherapy drugs that are given in a doctor's office, intravenously or by injection, as well as pill versions of these drugs. But many newer drugs are available only as pills that a patient can take at home; these drugs typically have not been covered. Because many of these medications are very expensive, many Medicare beneficiaries cannot afford them on their own.

Cost Savings on 11 Cancer Drugs

The new demonstration project will make 11 of these drugs available as early as September, at substantially lower prices:

. Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) for chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumor

. Bexarotene (Targretin) for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

. Temozolomide (Temodar) for anaplastic astrocytoma

. Altretamine (Hexalen) for epithelial ovarian cancer

. Thalidomide (Thalomid) for multiple myeloma

. Gefitinib (Iressa) for non-small cell lung cancer

. Letrozole (Femara) for stages 2-4 breast cancer

. Exemestane (Aromasin) for stages 2-4 breast cancer

. Anastrozole (Arimidex) for stages 2-4 breast cancer

. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for stages 2-4 breast cancer

. Toremifene (Fareston) for stages 2-4 breast cancer

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (news - web sites), most patients can expect to save 55% to 90% off the cost of these drugs. People with lower incomes will save even more. Gleevec, for instance, retails for nearly $46,000 a year. Under the demonstration program, HHS said, the drug will cost about $5,298 for most beneficiaries, a savings of 88%. Low income patients may be charged only $638, while those closest to the federal poverty level will pay as little as $60.

More than a dozen non-cancer drugs will also be discounted under the program for 25,000 other beneficiaries with serious diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and hepatitis C.

Apply Early for Quickest Benefits

To qualify for the program, a patient must have Medicare Part A and B, have Medicare as their primary insurer, and not have drug coverage through another plan. Only people in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia may apply.

Patients can begin applying for benefits on July 6. They must submit the official application form, and a certification from their doctor confirming their need for a specific drug. Recipients will be selected at random.

Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2004. People who get their applications in by August 16, however, will be part of an early selection process that could get them coverage sooner -- by September 1.

The people chosen to receive the drug benefit will be notified in writing and will receive a special drug discount card (a different card than those already available to all beneficiaries for other drug purchases) that can be used at some local pharmacies or through a mail order service.

The demonstration program will run through December 31, 2005; after that date, all Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible to enroll in the drug coverage plan.

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Dear Friends,

Dave and I would like to thank you all so much for your input. Reading my own post back, I think that maybe I was a little too descriptive about his problem, sorry about that. I hope Ididn't offend anyone out there.

I will certainly ask the Oncologist about CT 2103 and we are going to phone Medicare "again" tomorrow, (this time for-armed! )

Daves toes are a little better today, the antibiotic worked quickly! I will let you know how things turn out.

Bless you all, Paddy

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Dear Paddy,

Alas, I have no experience or wisdom to impart.

I just wanted to thank youfor keeping us updated--and to let you know that you and Dave are in our thoughts and prayers.


PS--It is hard for me to imagine you posting anything even remotely offensive (to me, at least). You are such a kind, loving, and tactful soul. :) But I guess that my feathers are not easily ruffled, city-chick that I am.

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Hi Paddy,

Has he tried using tea tree oil on his nails? Its suppose to help. Rob did good on the taxotere, and really bad on the Gemzar/navelbine combo. It just is so different with each person. Hope he gets the right combination that will work! :)


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Sorry, I am not going to be much help here, I am not familiar with the 2 chemos you mentioned. Just wanted to say, Scott is taking chemo orally, he is taking VP-16. It is taken in a 21 day cycle. I am not sure, maybe that is an oprtion for him, since it is oral.


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