Whats your view on having Carboplatin and Paclitaxel as a treatment as oppose to just Carboplatin?

In March 2009 I had a hysterectomy as had ovarian cyst and was then diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and had 6 treatments of Carboplatin and Paclitaxel. I was given the all clear in July 2009. I have just been told the cancer has returned and I have a tumour which is resting against my bowel and one of my kidney tubes. My Oncologist has said I will be treated again with the same drugs as before and asked me how I coped last time. I said not too bad and the worst thing was losing my hair. He said an option was to just have the Carboplatin if this was the case, the main benefit of the Paclitaxel was to delay the cancer coming back, and this would only be by a couple of months anyway. I now am in a dilema of what to do. I would hate to find if I just had the Carboplatin and if it didn't shrink the tumour be left thinking if I had of had the other drug it may have worked, just for the sake of losing my hair! Would be interested if anyone had any views on this. Thanks Sue

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  • I had carbo platin and paclitaxel in 2009 - 10 and lost my hair. The cancer came bagnck on the site of a couple of post op abscesses and I was told that they would not give the taxol this time as I lost feeling in fingers and balls of my feet. Unfortunately I developed an allergy to carboplatin and I am now getting cisplatin. No sign of hairloss yet. The worst side effect so far has been constipation.

  • Thanks for your reply, still not decided what to do although i have another appointment with the Oncologist on Thursday, and after reading comments have plenty of new questions for him. I've been told the worst thing I could get is constipation at the moment due to the position of the tumour. Good luck with your treatment.

  • I had carboplatin on its own in 1998 and I was clear of cancer for 13 years. When it reoccurred last year I attend a different oncology centre where the practice was to always give the two together but as carboplantin had been successful before they agreed to try it on its own. Unfortunately, like Margaret, i develop an allergy to it so had to move on to taxol and lost my hair which, much to my surprise, was more difficult to come to terms with than i imagined so I do understand your reluctance to do it again The remission wasn't so long after taxol - only six months - and I am now on another drug with few side effects. I don't suppose this helps you but I do understand the problem of making these decisions - especially as reactions and effectiveness seems to vary from person to person.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Like most decisions, the worst part is the agonising before you make it.

    I will be thinking of you

    Angela

  • You should maybe question again that the Taxol will give you only a further two months remission, but I suppose it depends on how aggressive your cancer is. I too was diagnosed with stage 3 back in 2005, was treated with Carboplatin/Taxol and then a full hysterectomy, and was then in remission for three years. I then had to have Carbo/Taxol again and was in remission for nearly two years. I am now in the middle of six Carboplatin only - and not losing my hair this time! I queried having only Carboplatin and basically my oncologist is saving Taxol for any time in the future when I may need any tumours blasted again with something heavy-duty!

    Maybe you should consider going for the combined chemo again - and blow the hair loss - then if the cancer does return you wont be wishing you had agreed to the Taxol as well. Better safe than sorry I think, and losing one's hair is really a small price to pay for prolonged health.

    Very best of luck

    Patsy

  • Hi Patsy. I do think I agree with your last comment to be safe rather than sorry, I am sure I would be thinking I should have had Taxol if it didn't shrink the tumour and if it returned quickly. I deffo need to find out a few more details about the aggressiveness of the cancer etc. Thanks for your comment and the best of luck to you. Sue

  • Hi Sue, i was diagnosed with stage 3c june last year, had surgery july 30th only to be opened up and then stitched right back up again and told nothing could be done at the time as the cancer had spread all over my abdomen and there was just way too much to remove. I then commenced on chemo, on the first round i was given both taxol and carboplatin, had a severe reaction to the taxol and was told that they would not try it again as my reaction was too severe. At the time i was worried sick and could not get my head round how treatment would work if i was not getting both drugs however almost a year on i am cancer free. from what i can gather the side affects of the taxol are much worse, i didn't loose my hair although it did thin out a little. I think maybe speak to your gynae nurse who may be able to shed some light on the pros and cons. As time went on i realised that the more informed i was the better i felt. Initially i was too scared to ask too many questions but by the end of my treatment i used to go in armed with a notepad full of questions. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. xxx

  • Hi Sue,

    I started on carbo & taxol last year after surgery for 1c fallopian tube cancer. It's treated the same as ovarian. My oncologist told me that some studies had concluded that the benefit of taxol alongside carbo was questionable, and that carbo on its own was possibly as effective as the combo. He left it up to me whether I had both - and like you I thought well, if I only have carbo and it comes beck I'll always be wondering...so I opted for both. But as it turned out they stopped the taxol after 2 rounds as I was having problems with neuropathy (still lost my hair, but it has grown back lovely & thick with curls I never had before, which is a bonus!).

    I'm still clear of cancer but it was only August when I finished treatment, so I know it hasn't been very long. But you might like to ask your doctor about the studies mine mentioned.

    Best of luck to you,

    Gael xxx

  • Hi sue

    I hated losing my eyelashes most! I actually shaved my head last time and crochetted some juliette caps which I wore with exotically tied scarves a la Reubens' self portrait. Much admired by more hirsute friends. I have a wig but have only worn it once or twice as it makes me itch.

  • Hi Sue

    It's a comfort that our oncologists are involving us in their decision making processes but it can also add more pressure to us to make the right decision. Nothing's ever easy is it! :)

    Reading your question carefully I think your gut reaction is to go with both - you clearly state a strong reason for doing so at the end of your post. I think I would be inclined to go along with that too. I think I'd try throwing everything at my disposal at it. There are women who have recurred and then gone years and years and years with no evidence of disease - and are to this day cancer free.

    It may seem simplistic but I would write a list of all the advantages and disadvantages of both options and really be honest with it and then the answer may be more forthcoming. It's a basic technique but I think it helps focus the mind and allows a space for really weighing up what's important to you, sometimes when we think, our thoughts go round and round in circles - this is a way of harnessing them long enough to take a more balanced view.

    Let us know what you decide

    Whatever it is very best of luck

    Kerryx

  • Hi,

    I had my first cycle of Carboplatin/Taxol two and a half weeks ago, and have my next on monday. I took the decision to go with what was recommended, and asked my Oncologist if I was his wife, what would he recommend I have, and he immediately said the combined treatment. Although I am losing my hair, I decided that it was a small price to pay, and I imagine my residual tumour is like my hair. If I lose my hair, I lose my tumour!!

    Good luck with your decision.

    Take care,

    Sally xx

  • Hi to all you great people who sent me your views, all helped and gave me more to think about. I've seen my Oncologist today and after him answering all my questions I decided to go with Carboplatin and the Taxol. I feel more contented now I have made my decision as I feel sure it is the best one. Just got to choose a new wig now!!

    Good Luck to you all. Sue x x

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