It's blocked with the cancer apparently. I will have to ask her if she wants a second opinion. Thanks!

We have not sought a second opinion at this point. She is being treated by the head of oncology at GBMC in Baltimore. She did not want to leave town for treatment. I don

After a few months of Xeloda, my mom's scans showed no spread and no growth. She was diagnosed last November with cc spread to liver and lymph nodes so this news made us ecstatic. She just became jaundiced about 10 days ago. They went in on Friday to replace her stent and discovered that the duct is completely blocked. They say there is nothing they can do and we should look into hospice.
Does this sound right to you? How long can someone survive if they are jaundiced? The rest of her body is doing fine at this point. Hospice is so scary since it means the end is coming. I just wish we had a better sense of how long.
Thanks for listening!

Cindy

4

(3 replies, posted in Chemotherapy)

Hello Everyone,

After 6 treatments with Gemzar and Carboplatin, my mom had her CT scan. It showed growth (the doctor did not say how much), but no spread. She has stage IV CC, involving her liver and lymph nodes.

They have decided to switch her to oral Xeloda as a way to try something else. Can anyone tell me anything about this chemo drug? Has anyone had any success with it? I know the lack of spread is great news, but the growth is worrisome. The doctor has referred to this as her last option. Do you know of any others?

Thank you for listening,
Cindy

5

(3 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Hello Everyone,

I am hoping you all can help me with a few questions. Here is my mom's story again. She is 65 years old and was diagnosed with CC early in November. It is stage 4 and has spread to the liver and lymph nodes. I don't know any specifics, such as tumor size. She had a bile duct stent put in soon after diagnosis (she was EXTREMELY jaundiced) and it did it's job. After about 6 weeks, she was no longer yellow and her billirubin numbers had greatly improved (again, I don't know what they are, just that the doctors are happy). She started Gemzar/Carboplatin early in December. She goes once every 3 weeks. She is tolerating it very well. After drastic initial weight loss (mostly due to the stress of waiting for the diagnosis) she is steadily gaining weight. Thank you Megace! She feels weak some days, but is learning that the more she moves, the better she feels. Otherwise she says she feels good. After 6 chemo treatments, she will have an MRI. Here are my questions. I know every patient is different, but I am hoping to learn from your experiences.

Her 6th chemo is scheduled for March 24th. About how long after that will they do the MRI?

If the MRI shows that the tumors are actually shrinking, will they continue with more treatments for a while? Is it possible for the tumors to shrink to the point where she could have a resection? I don't fully understand how the whole lymph node part works. Is it even possible for stage 4 cancers to go into remission?

If the MRI shows more growth or spread, there are other things the doctor could try, right? My mom (who is otherwise healthy) is willing to try anything!

If the MRI shows no shrinkage, but no growth or spread either, do they continue with the same treatment or try something new?

Thank you in advance for your help! If you can answer even one of my questions, I will be extremely grateful!!!

Cindy

6

(15 replies, posted in Introductions!)

Thank you everyone for your replies! My mom will have her third chemo on Thursday and then (at some point) tests to see how things are going. I'm guessing a PET scan. Chemo hasn't been that bad for her. Megace helps with her appetite and she has two anti-nausea meds too. The worst side affect for her (other than lack of energy) is the horrible taste in her mouth. She has been eating alot of salty/spicy foods because they taste good!

I'm assuming her PET scan will show one of three things:
1. Her tumors are not only not growing, but actually shrinking. Is this even a possibility once it has spread to your lymph nodes?
2. Her tumors have not grown or spread. (A more realistic hope)
3. Her tumors have grown and/or spread.

If her tumors have grown and/or spread, do doctors try another chemo option if the patient is otherwise doing OK? Waiting for those results will be torture!!!

Thank you again for listening,
Cindy

7

(15 replies, posted in Introductions!)

Hello Everyone,

My mom is 65 and she was diagnosed with bile duct cancer at the beginning of November. She went for an ultrasound to confirm gallstones and everything spiraled from there. One test led to another until she got her diagnosis. The first tumor found was on her liver, but the doctor determined it had spread there from the bile duct. It has also spread to her lymph nodes. Her oncologist says this makes it Stage IV. She had a stent put in and her liver function test (billirubin?) has GREATLY improved.

The doctor made it clear to my parents that chemo only helps patients at this stage about 10% of the time, but she wanted to at least try since she is otherwise healthy. She gets Gemzar/Carboplatin every 3 weeks. After her third treatment next week, they will run tests to see if it is helping.

Everything you read about this disease really stinks! Is it even possible for the chemo to shrink the tumors to give her more than the 3-6 months the doctor is predicting? Any bit of hope helps my mom's outlook tremendously.

Thanks for listening!
Cindy