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Cancer: Lung Message Board

Cancer: Lung Board Index


Tarceva was the drug my whole family is so thankful for. My mom was started on it when it first came out so her story was one of the earlier ones that showed good results. The Tarceva totally did away with the tumor in her lung and as a result she did not suffer any more respiratory problems, In her case the lung tumor never came back . It did destroy some of the liver mets then held the others in check for a few months but it was those darn liver mets that put her back on chemo. It worked fast too as we knew within days that something good was happening as she just started feeling alot better and the shortness of breath went away. No it did not save my mom's life but it gave her some great quality time and she was on it 7-8 months. Because it did destroy the lung tumor her good quality time continued right through all those months she was on Alimita. It wasn't until she got to Taxotere and Gemzar that her quality of life started to suffer due to the horrible fatigue.

Tarceva is a pill taken every day I think around dinner time or with dinner I can not remember for sure which it was. Most people get a skin rash that can be bad but for my mom it was like acne, her finger tips did crack and her skin got very dry, she was growing her hair in from her previous Carboplatin/Taxol treatments and it made it grow in slowly but it did grow in. She ate well and lived a normal life while on Tarceva. That said I know some people that had a horrible time on it once again showing how different we all are.There have been people that just can not tolerate it and there have been people like my mom that had little side effects and what they did have they considered worth it being that they felt so much better.

There are people that have been on it several years and some it only works for months. People like my mom who saw it destroy total tumors and some who it just held them in check. There is another message board that I had visited that some of the people were a year or more out and were NED. Only time will tell if the cancer is gone for good and yes they still take Tarceva. Like Chemo one just never knows. It seems that Females, non smokers and asians have the best responce to it: However that does not mean that others won't respond to it as I am aware of men and smokers and many non asians that did respond to it. My mom had two factors female/ nonsmoker. If I were told today that I had late stage NSCLC I would ask if I could start out with Tarceva as I think it was what worked the best in my mom's case. I think Tarceva, Irressa, avastin and other biological type drugs in clinical trials ahold the future to cancer treatment.
Tarceva is the one drug that I for sure would want to try before I decided no more treatment as I saw what it did for my mom so I would want to try it too.

I hope this info helps you some as I said my mom had such a normal life while on it and people forgot she had lung cancer as she had energy and was back to work ( remember she was 80 when we learned she had cancer and how many people that age still work a couple days a week?) She and I shared some great time together thanks to the Tarceva so I am forever thankful for it.
Have to get going to work I am thinking about you and sending prayers your way.;) JanMarie
Dearest Faith,
I have been following your thread for a while. My heart just breaks at knowing the cancer has kicked in again, since things were going so well for so long.

I will give you the flip-side of Tarceva. Bud took that and it caused the most devastating case of empitigo (spelling?) I have ever seen. He had it all up in his nose, in his mouth, on his face and arms and neck. He was absolutely misereable. Like JanMarie said, the docs know pretty quickly how it is working because of the way the patient feels after starting the treatment. Bud never did feel any better, just kept getting these God-awful blisters all over the nostrils, lips, tongue, etc etc....When I questioned it, they said to give it more time. Well, guess what. That did not help. It did keep the cancer from growing but did not shrink it one iota. Sooooo, the next step was Alimta. He was sicker than a dog while on it. Down for a week at a time, and that too, kept the cancer in check but did not help shrink it. So, then next, back to Gemzar and Carboplatin (the first set of drugs they put him on that caused such an amazing shrinkage) along WITH Avastin. That made the lung tumors shrink and put him in remission, but the sad truth was that by then the cancer had spread to the ribs, spine and hip bones. They tried radio, but that did not help. BUT, that was our situation. With your fighting spirit and your long survival, wow, you will be the one to pull it off. There are ointments and such for the rashes, but mostly, you just have to mantain course and see if it works. I wish you the very best of luck and know that your have a cheerleader right here in Evansville IN.

Love and hugs,

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