• I have a choice coming up and would like your feedback. Next chemo is taxol either weekly for 12 weeks or bi-weekly for 4 weeks. Any thoughts, experiences? Insights? Why choose the longer 12 weeks? Will my head explode.

    Asked by Paprika on Thursday, March 1, 2012

    I have a choice coming up and would like your feedback. Next chemo is taxol either weekly for 12 weeks or bi-weekly for 4 weeks. Any thoughts, experiences? Insights? Why choose the longer 12 weeks? Will my head explode.

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    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I haven't had that treatment so I'm probably no help to you, my only thought is that if the weekly isn't going to be harder on you than the bi-weekly, that's what I would do. but some of my treatments were terrible, and others were a piece of cake. So, looking back I would take 12 weeks of the easy treatments over 4 weeks of bad treatments. Maybe someone who has actually had that treatment will chime in. Which ever way you decide, good luck!! And quick healing!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Mine is every 3 weeks, 6 treatments, so 18 week span. I also take multiple drugs each treatment and herceptin on the intervening weeks. Each 3 week cycle I have 5-6 days that I feel like XXX from the side effects. I didn't really have the weekly option because my cancer was too aggressive and so the treatment needed to be more aggressive. Another lady that I became friends with at the chemo center had a regimin similar to mine but lower doses and weekly. She didn't have any of the side effects I did other than a little cumulative fatigue.

      Given a choice, it may be a matter of balancing your lifestyle with how the chemo options are going to affect that.

      over 5 years ago
    • ibcword's Avatar
      ibcword

      I had Taxol bi-weekly for 4 treatments and had severe muscle, joint, and bone pain. Taxol also gives you numb and tingly hands and feet that may or may not ever go away. My last dose was a little lighter than the other 3 and I had less pain and less numbness. I would choose the weekly if it meant lighter doses. And make sure you get pain prescription. I needed to combine it with ibuprofen during the painful times. I finished chemo 2.5 months ago and the tingly and numbness has lessened, but I still have flare ups and times that are better than others. I think that side effect will get better over time. Hang in there! It will get better.

      over 5 years ago
    • dollyrose's Avatar
      dollyrose

      I am in my second week of Taxol. I have it once a week for 12 weeks. I have found that my appetite and sense of taste is better now which is welcomed after 2 months of mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, etc. I am taking B6 to hopefully prevent neuropathy. The steroids that I receive with the taxol keep my energy up on the first two days, then I need more rest during the remainder of the week. Best wishes.

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      I just finished Chemo in January, and I had the 12 weeks of taxol style versus the 8 weeks of biweekly.

      The difference is dose-dense every two weeks 4x versus lighter dose every week 12x... So, as I understand it, if you have the lighter dose 12x, you have a better chance of "catching" the cancer cells at different stages, improving your chances of a complete pathological response (the ideal). Apparently, the results are slightly better for 12x weekly versus 4x biweekly for that reason. The total side effects are apparently not different.

      The pain and numbness - GLUTAMINE!!!! You can buy glutamine powder at many health food stores. Buy it as a powder... Take about 10g in water three times per day for the first four days after treatment. There are a few clinical trials showing that this supplement reduces side effects significantly. I found this to be true. When I slacked off glutamine during one cycle, I got the WORST mouth sores!!!! Horrid horrid things.

      Reduction of Paclitaxel-induced Peripheral Neuropathy with Glutamine
      Clin Cancer Res May 2001 7; 1192

      GOOD LUCK! I wish you minimal side effects!

      over 5 years ago
    • justbreathe's Avatar
      justbreathe

      I did Taxol every other week. After you get past that first treatment the nurse usually will know how your body is going to respond.
      One thing I would be awear of is neuropathy. If you have burning or needle like sensations in the fingers and/or toes let the doctor know. To much Taxol has that possible side effect.

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Sorry but I am going to have to disagree with part of Lee's answer, based both on info from my onc and independent research. The following are excerpts from http://www.chemocare.com/bio/taxol.asp

      The Taxol side effects and their severity vary depending on how much of the drug is given, and/or the schedule in which it is given.

      Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells only when they are dividing are called cell-cycle specific. Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells when they are at rest are called cell-cycle non-specific. The scheduling of chemotherapy is set based on the type of cells, rate at which they divide, and the time at which a given drug is likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

      Chemotherapy is most effective at killing cells that are rapidly dividing.

      End of excepts....this is just me talking again.....Single drug infusions, such as just taxol, are either cell cycle specific or cell cycle nonspecific, but they can't be both. Taxol is cell specific, so it is not particularly effective during the rest stage. Alkylating agents such as Carboplatin, are cell cycle non specific and affect cells at rest. So trying to catch cancel cells in multiple stages has no benefit when using only a cell cycle specific drug.

      And the dose density most often does influence the severity and duration of side effects.

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      Nancyjac - your response is very concise... When I said multiple stages... What I should have written is that if the drug is given more frequently, then there is a higher total time over which the drug is hopefully kicking rapidly dividing cell butt....

      And it's absolutely true that the schedule and dosing affect the side effects. BUT - the impression I was given by my health care team was the the TOTAL side effects experienced over the 8 week regimen versus the 12 week regimen are very similar... The spike in crappiness is likely greater when taxol is given once each two weeks... but then the recovery time is longer... whereas the spike in crappiness with weekly taxol is smaller... but you have less recovery time. So, they were telling me to NOT decide based on side effects as added up all together, the side effects are pretty much the same with both treatments.

      But, then I got into the clinical trial... and the clinical trial personnel hold the opinion that the 12 week regimen is more effective because the more frequent exposure to the drug means that more of the cancer cells are exposed to the drug during the rapidly dividing phase.... Anyway, I decided to go with the clinical trial and then did not have to make this decision.

      And please don't apologize for disagreeing with me! OH MY GOSH - that's why we're here, right? To share our knowledge and experiences with others... Plus, you have actually corrected me - not just disagreed with me. Thus, you have improved the information presented here....

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Lee,

      Ah, ok, we were talking about the same thing I think but from a slightly different standpoint. It makes sense that giving a cell cycle specific drug more frequently should improve the likelihood of catching cancer cells in their dividing rather than in their resting stage. On the other hand, I get both taxatore (same class as taxol with a slight bio equivalent variation) and carboplatin which is non cycle specific, so between the two of them, they cover the full life cycle of the cancer cells.

      My experience has been that most of my side effects come and go with each cycle and very few tend to be cumulative. But of course that could be opposite or anything in between with anybody else.

      From the standpoint of the original poster of this question, I am assuming she has this choice because her oncologist thinks both are equally medically appropriate (although the trial you are in could ultimately change that thinking). So if that is the case, it may still come down to personal preference in terms of side effect severity and duration vs. recovery, and other personal factors such as lifestyle and schedule.

      over 5 years ago
    • Irishsurvivor's Avatar
      Irishsurvivor

      I had taxol weekly for 12 weeks. My oncologist recommended this, he said the side effects were less severe with wkly doses verses bi-weekly. The wkly dose was lower than the bi-wkly, but the total amount given in 12 wks equaled the total amount given bi-wkly for 4 wks. For me I was glad I did this wkly for 12 wks. because I won't have wanted an increased severity of my side effects. My side effects were: muscle aches/pain, pain in my long bones,fatigue (but much less than with Adriamycin/Cytocin) and some nausea. I used a heating pad a lot for the pain, rested as much as I could & took Tylenol,though a stronger pain med. would have helped more I didn't want something stronger. During the taxol infusion I put ice packs on the bottom of my feet and held an ice pack between my hands ( several women I know did this & did not get too much neuropathy). I got some numbness in the fingertips. Twice a home when I

      over 5 years ago
    • Irishsurvivor's Avatar
      Irishsurvivor

      Sorry I accidentally hit the summit button before I was done writing. Cont: Twice at home when the bottom of my feet started to burn I put bags of frozen veggies on the bottoms of my feet for about 45 minutes & the burning resolved & did not return.
      Good luck in your decision. I wish you well!

      over 5 years ago
    • copland16's Avatar
      copland16

      Similar to ibcword I had 4 treatments biweekly for a total of 8 weeks. I was suffering from neroupathy, tingling in my fingers and toes, so my dose was reduced for my fourth one which stopped the neuropathy from being worse. I also gave myself a Neulasta shot within 24 hours of taxol treatment to boost my white blood cell count. A common side effect of taxol is lowered white blood cell counts which could put you at a risk of infection.
      If you opted for weekly you may not need Neulasta shot so you may want to ask about that.
      My doctor decided 4 treatments of 8 weeks. 4 treatments seemed easy. I would rather count down 4 than 12. I managed my treatment like that. 1 down 3 more to go. 25% there. 2 down 2 to go. I have to say it went by quickly, and besides the tingling and numbness which got better within 3-4 days after each treatment, without any other side effects.
      Good luck in your decision.

      over 5 years ago

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