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Re: Need help with newly diagnosed liver cancer
Sheridan Views: 2,706
Published: 17 years ago
This is a reply to # 333,145

Re: Need help with newly diagnosed liver cancer

Dear mzinko,
I am desperately sorry to hear your news!
I have experience of your point 1)liver cancer (technically bowel cancer) but not 2) Liver Cleansing in the event of liver cancer.
My younger brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer in March 2002; he was already in pain. At that stage it had spread to his liver. The pathology result sheet described his liver as being "riddled" with lesions. It was inoperable. If Jan has only a single mass in her liver then I guess there may be a chance for her to have surgery as part of her treatment.
My brother was treated first with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). This is a very old cancer chemotherapy treatment, it has been in use for around 30 years. It is, of course, a poison. It has very limited effectiveness. We waited weeks and weeks while my brother was having fortnightly doses of this stuff, waiting to see if the numbers, the concentration of the cancer marker CEA, in his bloodstream would come down. They did, for a while, but then continued to skyrocket. Next they added Camptosar, another poison which has worse side-effects than the 5-FU. Once again we waited weeks and weeks to see if the combination of drugs would have an effect. It was all wasted time. Meanwhile my brother suffered appallingly. Being young, he had asked for the maximum chemotherapy dose - as much as they dared to give him without actually killing him. He was unable to sleep more than 2 hours at a time because of the chemotherapy. He had sleeping tablets, drugs to stop the diarrhea, drugs for the terrible constipation, drugs for the nausea, vomiting and terrible fluid retention caused by the chemotherapy, drugs for the pain. He couldn't stop hiccoughing because of the pressure of his swollen liver on his diaphragm; every one caused him pain. The hair loss was the least of his problems.
Once they had established that neither of the chemotherapy drugs were working, they sent my brother to a distant hospital and subjected him to a full day of testing to determine whether he was a candidate for a very new procedure. By that stage he was in constant pain from the cancer that had spread to the lining of his hip joint and couldn't walk. He was being given radiation therapy supposedly to alleviate the pain in his hip. It didn't work. The new procedure is something that you could maybe research on Jan's behalf. It involved a tube being inserted in the femoral artery and directed to the hepatic artery. This tube would then have tiny glass beads inserted. The beads are coated with radioactive substance (in my brother's case they were going to use Yttrium, in the one case I read about in the U.S. they used Strontium 90). The theory is that, as the liver is so well supplied with blood vessels, the blood supply would effectively carry the radioactive substance throughout the entire organ and destroy even tiny cancers. It was going to cost something in the vicinity of Aust$6,000. In the case that I found on the internet the young guy who had the treatment was still alive some years later. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of this treatment - I threw away all my Internet cancer links in disgust.
My brother was not a suitable candidate for the new treatment because they found that his hepatic artery was blocked by the cancer. He died in October 2002, after 7 months of heartbreaking pain and suffering, he was 34. That little phrase "quality of life" just makes me want to kick someone, preferably a doctor. My brother had sh*t quality of life, thanks to the chemotherapy. Sure it may have lengthened his life by three or four months, but at enormous cost. I can only wonder if they had offered the new treatment six months earlier, instead of wasting months trying the old treatments that have something like 10% success rate, would it have been successful then.
Mzinko, I pray that Jan does not have such a hard road ahead of her, I really do.

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