Topic: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

I have been taking Tarceva since September 2009.  The side effects eventually leveled off for me and it is mostly dry skin and tiredness that I notice now.    Along with the Tarceva, I also had a combination of IV chemos Gemcitabine and Cisplatin from July 2009 through March 2010 (one week on, one week off).  On March 30, 2010 I had a PET scan and there were no traces of cancer in the liver!  Amen!  I believe the combination of Gemcitabine & Cisplatin did a good job at keeping my tumor from growing, or any new ones developing.  And, that it was the Tarceva that eventually got rid of everything.  (Of course, I also attribute my miraculous healing to the answering of many prayers!)

That being said, I just learned this week some very important information about Tarceva and want to share it with all of you who may be taking it so you can inquire with your doctor/pharmacist.   When refilling my Rx this week, I spoke with the Pharmacist and she told me something that I had never heard before.  She said that I could NOT take reflux medication (i.e. Omeprazole/Prilosec, Previcid, Nexium, etc.) while on Tarceva, and that doing so would significantly reduce the absorption of Tarceva.  She also said that if I need to take an antacid (i.e Tums), it needs to be spaced two hours from taking the Tarceva.  This is critical information that everyone needs to know!

I hope that my update gives you encouragement, and the information about Tarceva is helpful.  If I can ever answer any questions for you regarding my treatment, please let me know.  God bless you in your journey.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."   Romans 12:12

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Hello, Houston Mom and that is such wonderful news! We do have quite a few good news days lately. And we love it. Also thanks so much for the information on Tarceva and antacids. Excellent information indeed for quite a few on this Board. Keep up your good work and your good news!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

That's wonderful news, Houston Mom!!  big_smile  Thank you for sharing it with us. x

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Get out of here Houston Mom! I am so happy for you. I dont even want to know what it was like you you got the news. May it long continue. How long will they keep you on Tarceva?

Kris

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Hi HoustonMom,

Excellent stuff, great news indeed! Long may it continue for you!

Best wishes,

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Amazing news!  Thank you for sharing and may good reports like that be the norm for you.  Good news like this enables me to be hopeful for my Mom.  I will share your story with her.

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Thanks for sharing, Houston Mom.  My doctor mentioned Tarceva as a last resort - I think I will share your experience with him so we can try it earlier rather than later.

Our toolbox is getting a little empty - we've used about 6 different combinations so far and my body stops responding after a few months of a new regimen.

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Your news about Tarceva is wonderful.  Seeing your post is timely for me.  I was diagnosed in June '09, stage 4.  Have been on the G/C combo for nine months, prescribed by Dr. Javle at MDA.  This week, I was back in Houston for a PET scan and consultation.  The diagnosis now is "stable."  He wants me to start Tarceva right away and possibly stop the chemo in three months.  Received news yesterday that my insurance has denied coverage for the Tarceva, not that unusual since Tarceva is indicated only for lung and pancreatic cancer.  Dr. J will conduct an appeal that he says he as had success with in the past.  Won't know anything until the end of next week.

I am interested in knowing if you had any obstacles in getting started on Tarceva.  Are you a patient at MDA?

Is there anyone out there who has applied to Genentech for aid?  If so, do they provide assistance for patients with cholangiocarcinoma? 

What wonderful news Houston Mom!  May God bless!

9 (edited by HoustonMom Sun, 06 Jun 2010 15:59:40)

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Dear Mimi9999,

It is a small world in the cholangiocarcinoma family.  I began seeing Dr. Javle at MDA when I had my reoccurrence in July 2009.  I

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."   Romans 12:12

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Dear Devoncat,

I did not think I heard my doctor right when he said "no cancerous cells in the liver".  I actually made him repeat it to me!  The plan is for me to stay on Tarceva indefinitely. Hopefully some other treatments will become available soon, as I understand that the body can eventually resist the medication.   But, there is no reason to go there yet . . . just going to enjoy the moment and the victory!

Houston Mom

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."   Romans 12:12

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Please do share my experience with your doctor.  If he wants to consult with my oncologist, I see Dr. Javle at MD Anderson in Houston.  God bless you.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."   Romans 12:12

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

Hi Houston Mom !

I am so glad that I found this site !!!!!

I have been trying to decide whether to go to MD Anderson or not........
But reading your latest input has made my decision and I now have the name of a good Oncologist--I will ask for your doctor !

I am so happy to know of your last visit with him---what fantastic news!

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

I am so happy to know this site has helped you.  Please let me know if I can provide you with any information re: my treatment or MD Anderson.

God Bless You!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."   Romans 12:12

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

This is just what I was looking for.  What to do if I see any sign of cancer after I finish my treatment with Gemzar and Cisplatin soon.  Last CT was still clear.  Next one is in early August.  I'll ask about Tarceva.  God bless and glad I came across this site.  BTW, my surgeon is awesome if anyone needs a reference to one.  His nickname is "Dr. Angel Hands."  Are you still diong well, Houston Mom?  What were the side effects of Tarceva?

Ask me about my doctors!!

Re: Tarceva is working - no cancerous cells in liver!

HoustonMom.....I missed your posting re: Good Life Resources.  Glad to have found it.  Would you be so kind and re-post the information under "External Links,

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER