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Avastin +- Chemo

Hi - my mom just received a diagnosis of Ovarian cancer,  stage 3c. Her docs seem excellent, and are recommending that she participate in a clinical trial of standard chemo (randomized, so we won't know what exactly she'll get) plus Avastin.

She's really stressed about the chemo side effects (been there/done that with breast cancer 10 years ago), and we're wondering if there are any trials that are looking at Avastin alone as a treatment option.

Has anyone heard of that approach? Is it remotely reasonable to decline chemo in her situation?

Please let me know what your thoughts are... thanks in advance,

-Sean
2 Responses
684804 tn?1259362501
Sean

I am sorry to hear your mom is going through cancer again...one time should be more than enough.

The trials being offered to her would put her on the "gold standard" first line chemo of IV carboplatin and taxol with the randomization portion being whether or not she received Avastin or she could receive Avastin with the 6 cycles and then be randomized to receive it for  a set amount of time after the 6 cycles.

Avastin is used as a single agent treatment in Ovarian Cancer but statistically works much better with at least one cytotoxic drug.  I did a quick search for trials with Avastin as single agent for Ovarian cancer instead of first line chemo and did not turn anything up.  

I totally understand the fear of doing chemo again.  However your mom also needs to know that a lot of improvements in treating the side effects have occurred in the past 10 yrs.  Everyone has their own experiences on chemo but I did 9 cycles ( 3 more than usual) of Carbo/Taxol and while I would not recommend volunteering for it, it wasnt that bad.  After the first cycle I figured out the side effects and had no problem with pain or nausea.  I slept for about 3 days but the rest of the 3 week period was fine.  I drove myself to every chemo and Dr appointment.

There are many, many people diagnosed with 3c who do carbo/taxol and achieve a lengthy remission. It is certainly her call as to whether or not to do chemo and you did not mention her age or physical health. I just think that fear and stress are not that good of a reason to skip chemo that can add years to her life.  

I would recommend she mention her fears to her Dr;  look for a local support group--doesnt have to be ovarian, any cancer will work; join this or other sites that can offer a support.

Hope some of this helps

Teri
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply, Teri. My mom is 67, and aside from the breast cancer 10 years ago has been in excellent health. Her ca-125 was in the low 40's, which I understand isn't particularly high. She handled the breast cancer chemo very well, but the hair loss was very demoralizing for her (she didn't experience much nausea).

Apparently the clinical trial that she's being offered guarantees avastin -- she'll be randomly assigned to receive one of several combinations of chemo agents in addition to avastin, and the goal is to determine which chemo agents work best in conjunction with avastin.  

Her gyn/onc is excellent, and his practice offers many different support groups and alternative treatments such as acupuncture and guided meditation to alleviate the chemo side effects. So I feel that she's in good hands.

Thanks again for your help!

-Sean
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