I read once that about 1 million cancer cells fit on the head of a pin. If the doctor doesn't know if you have these tiny undetectable cells floating around in your body, and he/she recommends adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery, it seems like a good idea to me to follow through with it or get a second opinion so you don't end up playing whack-a-mole.
Skin Cancer - Melanoma Questions
Asked by Clyde on Saturday, August 25, 2012
Does anyone here have experience of skipping chemo after initial surgery? Melanoma removed with clear margins. One node of 28 showed signs of cancer. CT scan clear. Very healthy otherwise, but serious side effects from meds in general (Flu shot will put me in bed for a week. Skipping flu shot and I don't get the flu.) Same situation with other meds. Don't even do pain killers. Thanks
4 Answers from the Community
Skipping the flu shot and then getting the flu, or not, as your case may have been is not quite the same as skipping chemo and getting cancer. :)
Systemic chemo has not been particularly bad for me. I have chemo once every 21 days, I only take a steroid for the first 5 days then advil around days 7-10. I do take an antihistamine to help with the bone pain from the white blood cell shot they give on the day after chemo but I did that anyone..sigh, allergies.
I've had no nausea and have not had to take any meds for that. I've not missed any work days other than the actual day of chemo. Perhaps I'm lucky but it does seem like that is true for many as well.
Good luck with whichever route you decide to take!
Obviously, you need to talk about this with your oncologist. He will be able to tell you what your percentage of reoccurrence is with and without interferon? Interferon boosts your immune system to help fight any of those micro cancer cells that PET scans, MRIs or CT scans can't show. Both my surgeon and oncologist said if I was 70 they wouldn't recommend interferon. First it's a hard year of treatment and second age out weighs the benefit from the treatment. I was a heathy 42 year old whose odds would be better to do the chemo. Inquire about other drugs available? Since I was unable to complete my interferon treatment my oncologist said if I had a reoccurrence he would use a different chemo drug. He said there were a couple of new drugs that were recently approved for melanoma. He didn't give me any names. However, I think the "gold star" treatment is still interferon. Like any other chemo drug it's tough on the body. If it helps a friend of mine who is a family physician only took one week off from work. It was during the first month of the daily treatments. It is possible to work!!! Good luck as you make this important decision!!