• What might be done if cancer is still left after chemo treatments for gallbladder cancer that spread to liver and lymph nodes? Hair?

    Asked by Joy535 on Monday, November 12, 2012

    What might be done if cancer is still left after chemo treatments for gallbladder cancer that spread to liver and lymph nodes?

    Question? or two... I'm done with chemo treatments for now & all of the lesions have shrunk or disappeared. The Dr. wants to have an endoscope biopsy done of the vena cava/aortic lymph node that looked necrotic and has shrunk about in half to see if any cancer cells remain there. If there are still cancer cells there he won't do the major surgery; if not, he'll take out spots on the liver, the hepatic lymph node, gallbladder, etc.

    If there is still cancer there, has anyone else had experience with a similar situation? Will they do more chemo? What might my life be life from now on?

    My hair thinned with the Gemzar/Cisplatin chemo, and is still coming out 3 weeks after the last treatment. Will it keep thinning? Will it grow back in the bald spots?

    Any thoughts or answers are welcome. Thanks!

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Each case is different. There is no standard protocol. It could involve more chemo, or targeted treatment for one or more of the area, or surgery for one or move of the areas.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar

      I have breast cancer that spread to liver, bones and neck. All lesions were gone, but 2 in my liver have grown back due to a change in chemo. Since lesions grew back, I am back on chemo that originally shrank my tumors. My oncologist said my cancer will never be cured. It is treated like a chronic illness, like diabetes. As long as there are tumors, some form of chemo will be given to keep tumors from growing and spreading. Dr. tries to give me the best quality of life while on chemo, which means giving me a dose that takes care of my tumors and doesn't keep me from living a normal life.

      My hair has fallen out, grown back, thinned out, grown back on a different chemo, then fell out again being put back on original chemo at a harder dose. Once dose is cut down, hair will grow back. I have a real hair wig cut to my own style. No one knows I wear a wig, except husband and kids. Not even my mom knows. To me, it is no big deal.

      You can live with cancer. Will just have to have regular check ups, scans and stay on your medication unless you go into remission. Hope this helps.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Nancy is corect that you have probably passed the stage of "standard" treatments and it is sort of made up as you go from now on. What you need to do is have a long dioscussion with your oncologists and several other cancer specialists including radiation oncologists to see if things like Radiation, Cyber knife or Radio Frequency Ablation are applicable to your case. I suspect that you might have to travel from Kalispell to get all of the answers you need right now. You might consider a treatment center where you can find all of ther specalists under one roof if you have to travel. I myself am well past the standard treatments and just recently consulted with specalists in most of these areas. In my case surgery turned out to be the best option for now but again each case is different. The tumors shrinking is good news and indicates that chemo was successful so more chemo will probably be proposed if there is evidence of cancer and it might be the best treatment in your case, but from your tone I get that you do not look forward to more chemo, only a fool would. Another good question, if they propose more chemo is how much would be needed to kill the cancer at the current shrinkage rate. This should give you and idea of how long it might take. In any case you are currently beating the cancer which is good news, keep up the fight!!!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      You might consider a second opinion and, if you do, consider getting one at a really good cancer center. Here is a list of the top 100 cancer hospitals in the US: http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/cancer There's one in Seattle among the top 10. Also, of course, there's the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. There's nothing wrong with Kalispell, or even Billings (I lived in Billings during the '80s), but if your cancer is proving difficult to treat then you want the best possible advice. There may be new treatments, or clinical trials, that offer hope.

      almost 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Those are great questions, and I would be wondering the same things too. I don't really have a sure answer, except that your hair will most probably grow back. When dad had his chemo for the first cancer, his hair started to fall out in clumps. Then he had me buzz it off for him. After stopping chemo, it grew back within a couple months.

      If only your gallbladder was involved, that would be easy because they just cut it out and throw it away. You don't need it. They do that all the time for gallstones. The hard part is the liver and other. I can only guess that they would give you the option for chemotherapy or a clinical trial http://clinicaltrials.gov/ if they cannot do surgery or a procedure.


      With dad's metastasis to his liver from pancreatic cancer the big problem is mainly a gradually increasing pain in his upper right abdomen, right below the ribcage, that's managed with pain medication. Also more tired and fatigued than usual.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie (Best Answer!)

      Hi Joy.. I can't talk to your particular cancer, but I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer in January of O6, when I was 62. It was a two year trip after surgery and removal of all visible cancer. Ovarian Cancer does like to come back and kill you, so I had told my young Oncologist that I may look old, but I had a lot of fight in me and I wanted to fight to live. I had things to do and all. I did chemo for almost two years. We nailed it. I still go back for blood tests and an occasional every other year PET CT Scan... No sign. This time I asked what we would do if it came back. I was told we'd operate (if possible) and then zap it again with more chemo. I'm not, and I don't think you will go down without a fight. ANYWAY.. Its seven years later and I'm doing great. Life is only a tad different. My fingers and feet are a bit numb, my balance is sometimes off... but I stay standing. I bought the most attractive 'walking stick' with a gold eagle head handle (probably brass) and when I'm out shopping alone I just keep it handy. My hair grew back after my first batch of chemo.. I had a two month break prior to going on to one infusion a month (of the hard stuff) for a year. It came back after the second year, but enough that I feel okay going out with it. I give myself a crew cut and wear a wig. I bought some very cute short styled wigs with a hairline... I mean it really looks like hair growing out of my scalp and even up close my kids couldn't tell. In the past seven years I've attended graduations for grandchildren (college / high school) We have 17 grandchildren. Then Tom and I danced at our Grandson's wedding on a lovely warm August evening. We've held two great-grandchildren one boy... one girl. Life is different. But life is wonderful. Check out PaulaYoung.com for wigs at reasonable prices. They make really cute flat shoes, I used to wear heel to work all the time.... but heck.. I'm almost 70.. six more months.

      I've driven through beautiful Montana many times on our way out to see friends in Oregon. We've taken some lovely vacations with them. I always wanted to see Cape Cod. DONE... we stayed there for a week.. so lovely.. We've been to the outer banks of North Carolina. Snaped pictures of the painted canyons in MT. Got pictures of the sun setting on Coos Bay... Life is good. Reach out and take the Lords Hand.. Ask Him to walk with you and guide you to where he wants you to be.... He's great company on a walk in the fall leaves, early snow. or on a summer day. God bless and keep you safe !

      almost 4 years ago

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