• ajh's Avatar

    Does it seem strange to 'have a break from chemo' when the tumor is being 'held at bay', not shrinking, but not getting any bigger ,

    Asked by ajh on Thursday, January 31, 2013

    Does it seem strange to 'have a break from chemo' when the tumor is being 'held at bay', not shrinking, but not getting any bigger ,

    Chemo now being tolerated quite well, except for bad nausea, quite prepared to have more chemo. Female aged 69, Pancreatic cancer, diagnosed March 2012, locally advanced
    has had Chemo/Rad to try to shrink tumor, unsuccessfully, been on Chemo on its own for 4 months ,once every other week., my question is as the treatments is keeping things stable,
    if she has a rest from chemo might the tumor just start growing again.

    Thank you

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Yes it might start growing again. But on the other hand, prolonged chemo, especially when it is no longer effective, is doing more harm than good. Chemo drugs can act like antibiotics in that cancer cells adapt to them over time and they are no longer effective. A break and possibly then a different set of chemo drugs could be more effective in the long run.

      over 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      The fact that your tumor has not progressed is a good thing but I would speak with your oncologist about what the next plan of attack is. As Nancy mentioned, it may be about time to try a different chemo. Let us know what you find out.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      No, the fact that the tumor is stable is a good sign. Chemo can do a really number on your body, especially your blood marrow. yes, there is a possibility that the tumor might grow. I don't know what drugs are being used, but I this is the third week in a row they had to cancel my Chemo due to low platelets. I had been carboplatin since Mid July, and have had only 3 treats since Thanksgiving. I would have preferred a planed break, rather then showing up at the center every Thursday.

      over 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I agree, if the disease is stable, not advancing yet not diminishing, sometimes it is better to stop treatment while you can and use them when you really need them then to keep getting the treatment and risk the assault on your blood cells. Too much chemo can deplete your wbcs, rbcs, and platelets and after awhile, they don't bounce back as fast as they used to so its best to temper your treatment and have the option available when it really becomes necessary. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 4 years ago
    • JMS's Avatar

      Well, from what I've learned from my own experience, my oncologists scheduled off periods into their overall strategy for my treatments, so, for example, I had a 3-week break between my first 6-infusion round of chemo and starting radiation, then a 4-week break between radiation and the 12-infusion final (for now, at least) round of chemo. My doctors have also told me the same information as the other responses you've received, namely, that the body cannot withstand a constant barrage of chemo over a very extended period of time. There must be breaks for the body to recoup while the doctors monitor what the tumor is doing. Hope this helps. JMS

      over 4 years ago

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