When drug failed - 1263910

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When drug failed - 1263910

Hello everyone,
I’m on my 2nd cycle of chemo dealing with a recurring lung cancer. The 3rd cycle is scheduled to begin on next week. The drugs used for the first 2 cycles are Carboplatin and Alimta. Even though it is only 2 months from my last Pet scan, My Doc ordered one to be taken before the next cycle starts, to see if the drugs are effective for my treatment. (Because some original symptoms still present very strongly, such as belly pain, regardless taking pain killer regularly) If not, different drugs will be used for subsequent cycles.
In my original lung cancer treatment 2 years ago, Cisplatin and Alimta were used. It was acceptable to me but this time so far is “horrible”. My question is whether I will be able to sustain myself under the side effect attacks of further chemos and how many different combinations are there for patients to test? What are the common options open to me?
Thanks so much for your feedback.

Reply To: When drug failed

HI Gigy, I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time with carbo alimta. It isn't at all unusual for a doctor to check for efficacy after the first 2 cycles but more often CTs are used because the extra info on a pet really hasn't been shown to improve outcomes.

I think it's fair to talk to your onc about how difficult you find the treatment. Balancing quality of life with side effects of treatment has been proven a very important component even of longevity.

The options are laid out in a couple of blog posts and as you'd guess in other forum posts. In the following post there are several other posts linked to at the end of the discussion. You may have more questions after reading through some of these, please don't hesitate to ask follow up questions.

All the best,

Dr West
Reply To: When drug failed

It's hard to know what to expect. If the cancer has progressed significantly through the recent chemotherapy, and particularly if you now have very little "reserve", further treatment may cause you more harm than benefit. On the other hand, if this treatment hasn't been very effective or tolerable but you still have the reserve to tolerate chemo, a different regimen that isn't largely a repetition of what you received in the past may be more successful. Your cancer may be resistant to the particular chemo you're doing, or it may be resistant to many subsequent treatment options.

On the other hand, that's presuming that your scan doesn't look better. If it actually shows tumor shrinkage, then you may do far better with a different regimen that may just be easier to tolerate but also effective against the cancer.

Good luck.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education