After four chemo-only treatments, Amy had her CT scan yesterday and we got the results today. Not good news. Although one of the tumors in her abdominal cavity appears to have shrunk, the other two have not changed. However, more importantly, the cancer in her liver has actually spread significantly and she is in danger of eventual liver failure. Her liver is working very well right now, but as her oncologist, Thomas Kenney, told us today, because of the danger he is considering an embolism that will target the liver specifically. Either a chemo or radiation embolism, we don’t know. There is a very good liver radiologist at the hospital, a Dr. Yi, who will be brought in to advise. He is also the one who would perform the embolism if that should be the direction we go.
Dr. Liu, of UC Denver, has advised that Amy be treated with the standard chemo drug mix used for treating colon cancer, or FOLFOX, which is a cocktail of the following three drugs:
5-Fluorouracil (she was on a low dose of this during her radiation treatment)
Because Amy is stage 4 and the tumors are in both her liver and abdominal cavity, Dr Liu feels it is better to stick with a chemo treatment and see if all the tumors will respond. A concern that Dr. Kenney has is that our insurance may deny coverage because Oxaliplatin is very expensive. But Kenney is also concerned about the liver specifically.
So, there’s the possibility of another drug therapy, there’s the chemo, or radiation embolism, and then a third possibility is a clinical trial.
A current trial at UC Denver combines the FLOFOX cocktail with the PI3 kinase inhibitor, however they are not accepting any more patients at this time. This one is apparently targeted at patients diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, like Amy. There are two other clinical trials in progress that are investigating the combination of the chemo drug Irinotecan with experimental drugs. Both trial are for patients with advanced forms of cancer.
Well, I don’t see this a setback, but another opportunity to see what it will take to rid Amy’s body of this uninvited guest. So much has happened over the past four-and a-half months that it seems like we have been going through this a lot longer. However, it can take a long time to fight cancer and win, so we have to keep that in mind, be patient, and certainly keep plugging away.
You have all been so supportive that I was looking forward to giving you good news in this update. Still, you’re continued support is very much appreciated as we go on to the next step in beating this thing. I will let you know once a course of action is decided upon.