Cancer Treatment - any information or comments?

Cancer Treatment - any information or comments?


My husbands illness

Albert and I have had our meeting with the oncologist today. It could have been worse - they didn't send us home with a giant size bottle of morphine and the telephone number of the local funeral parlour. And I have to admit, that I was more or less expecting something like that - sorry, we can't do anything for you except palliative care. They admit that they can't cure this, but that was no surprise. They have offered us a choice of chemotherapies.

We can go with an intensive course of Gemzar - three weeks on, one week off for 3 months, after which they will assess progress and, if it is working, do the same for another three months.

Or we can join an experimental program which combines gemcitabine and capecitabine chemotherapy with a vaccine called GV1001

With both of these, the object is to shrink the tumour, and to prevent or slow down the spread of the cancer, hopefully giving us more time, and a better quality of life.

So, we have to decide which one to go with. The Gemzar therapy would be at our local cancer clinic - 45 minutes drive away, and is a weekly IV treatment - so perhaps 2 hours, once a week, fairly near home. The experimental program is at a clinic a lot further away - 2 hours drive, and would mean we have to go there 3 times a week. Because the experimental program is using two drugs at the same time, it carries twice the risk of side effects. But it might - just might - be more effective.

Anyway, I added all this up, and it came to six months, so I asked if we could at least be sure of having that six months. But they won't guarantee that. It will all depend on Albert's individual reaction to the treatment - they have had some good results, but equally, they have had patients who don't respond at all well to it. We've made a deal with the oncologist - whichever treatment we decide upon, she will try to give us those six months, and at the end of them, we'll negotiate for another six.

It wouldn't be fair to ask for your advice on this - we have to make the decision ourselves - but any comments? Does anyone have any information that would help us to decide?

updated FEB 23, 2010
edited by Moe
posted by sheila-foster
The only comment I can make is that you are still in our thoughts and prayers. - CalvoViejo, FEB 22, 2010
Edited only to correct the link and make it work. - Moe, FEB 22, 2010

7 Answers


Dear Sheila,

My heart goes out to you and your family...for the diagnosis of cancer and for such a difficult decision...Your husband is so fortunate to have you there by his side, wanting to make the best decisions possible.

I have listed two possible reources below...the first is a list of National Cancer Institute (NCI) accredited cancer centers...they can often offer a second opinion...and they have the advantage of seeing so many people with the same diagnosis. The second resource is the American Cancer Society (which has links to clinical trial information for families).



I cannot offer medical advice, because I am not a mdeical professional, but speak from personal experience, and, I can say, that the time you spend with your husband, accompanying him in his/your decisions and through treatment options, is such a gift. Very few people have the courage to share these painful, but intimate moments.

Again, my heart goes out to you and your family.

Please let us know how you are.



updated FEB 23, 2010
posted by Lucrecia

Like the doctor told my first wife, If you dont get the treatment cancer will run wild all over your body.At the end even with the treatment,the cancer went wild all over her body-the problem was that we caught the cancer too late.She was never in too much pain since the doctors were given her a lot of morphine and another great pain killer. I cant think of the name of drug.

If it were me, I'll go with the treatment, there is nothing to loose,but I'll make sure of having plenty of pain killers and feel good pills with me. The will of God will be done.......

.........................................God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

updated FEB 22, 2010
edited by 00769608
posted by 00769608

Dear Sheila: Follow your hearts... just do whatever makes you and your husband feel peace. Stay calm... and remember every cloud has a silver lining.


Vuelve a empezar


Aunque sientas el cansancio.

Aunque el triunfo te abandone.

Aunque un error te lastime.

Aunque una traición te hiera.

Aunque una ilusión se apague.

Aunque el dolor queme tus ojos.

Aunque ignoren tus esfuerzos.

Aunque la ingratitud sea la paga.

Aunque la incomprensión corte tu risa.

Aunque todo parezca nada...


updated FEB 22, 2010
edited by Benz
posted by Benz

I too am so sorry Sheila. My aunt opted for no treatment since she felt 73 years was long enough and so we took her home to look out from her bed to the lakeside she loved so much. There, with the help of painkillers she left us peacefully.

updated FEB 22, 2010
posted by Yeser007

I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I have a sister going through chemo. It is a hard thing to do for her, but meds. are much better now a days then before. I say take the treatments, pray alot . My sister is only 47 in the last stage and we are making plans for the coming years. I will pray for you and your husband.

updated FEB 22, 2010
posted by 0021954c

I am sorry, sheila, I wish I had something effective to say.

updated FEB 22, 2010
posted by 00494d19

Hi Sheila,

You are faced with a difficult choice to make. I will continue to pray for wisdom for your family and for the doctors involved in Albert's treatment.

Although I am by no means an authority on this subject, I do know that amazing things are being done by a cancer research hospital in my area. It is called the Fox Chase Cancer Center and it is located in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

I know several people who are living and breathing miracles after treatment at this facility. This includes my brother-in-law, who had throat surgery and was given little hope at first. He has now been cancer free for three years.

I know that Albert has a different type of cancer, but thought I would at least send you the link for this hospital. You never know, there may be information on the site or even a doctor you could contact for answers to some of your questions. I know that people come from all over the world to be treated here.

I will stay alert for any more information that might be helpful. As always, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Let me know if there is more I can do. Fox Chase Cancer Center

Besos, Nicole

updated FEB 22, 2010
posted by Nicole-B
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