Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Second Oncologist Visit

Decisions, decisions…

Monday afternoon Dr. Sunil Sharma, Senior Director of Clinical Research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, gave us the following information:

  • The average life expectancy of patients with this type of cancer who do nothing – 9 months
  • The average life expectancy of patients who do the FOLFOX chemo treatment – 18 to 24 months
  • These are the average life expectancy numbers, which means some will be shorter, others longer (We, of course, plan on being the LONGER part of that stat)
  • Dr. Sharma recommends we get a pet scan and then do the FOLFOX chemo treatment, starting approximately one month from Lowell’s appendectomy. (This is also what Dr. Whisenant, Utah Cancer Specialists, recommended
  • Dr. Sharma said the heated chemo wash poured into the abdomen has a very limited effectiveness and a high morbidity rate. Lowell’s specific type of cancer isn’t one that this treatment is even somewhat effective on
  • Dr. Sharma is applying (to the FDA) today for a new clinical trial involving this same treatment, but adding the drug Everolimus to the FOLFOX treatment. (Currently Everolimus is only approved for Kidney cancer patients.) Dr. Sharma thinks we should do the FOLFOX, and not wait for this.
IF we decide to apply to be part of the clinical trial, these are the concerns:

1.The FDA has 30 days to respond to the request for a clinical trial. They always respond on day 29, which puts us at least two weeks later starting chemo than if we start FOLFOX as soon as possible. There would probably be further delays as they do patient selections, etc.

2. We can’t start chemo and then hope to be part of the clinical trial.

3. We can apply to be part of the trial, but they don’t have to accept us for the trial, which means we’ve delayed starting chemo for nothing

4. Even if we’re accepted for the trial, our odds are only 50-50 that we would get the new drug, since half the patients are given a placebo and the other half get Everolimus. So, we delay chemo, take a chance we’ll be selected for the study, then take a further chance we’ll get the new drug

5. The new drug may not work on this type of cancer anyway

6. Adding a new drug to the mix could cause unexpected side effects

We now have about a week and a half to decide if we are going to go up to the Huntsman Center for treatment, or to the IMC, which is nearer our home. We’ll keep you updated as things transpire.

4 comments:

KelleyAnne said...

These are such tough decisions. I want you to know my family is praying Lowell and your family. I will keep praying for that guiding power to inspire what direction you should go. Sending love and blessings, KelleyAnne

Heather said...

I am so glad the comment option is working now.

Those are some tough choices you both face. I will be pray that the Lord will guide you in the decision you should make. I know you will chose the right one because you follow the Lord. You both are such great examples to me. I love you!

Kent and Sherri said...

Lowell and Elaine,

We appreciated the personal visit with you and the information to follow Lowell's progress through this blog.

We also want to add our prayers to the many who are praying for you, as to the direction to go. Both of you are so close to the Spirit, it will be very clear to you which path to follow.

Elaine, I am so impressed with your faith that Lowell will be healed. Although the stats don't look so encouraging, we know that miracles so happen! It's really all about the Lord's will.

Our love and concern as you go through this trial. We truly do love you!

Kent and Sherri

KelleyAnne said...

Just checking in with a sweet prayer for Lowell.