Monday, May 11, 2009


I was thrilled when my oncologist called my latest CT report 'beautiful'. He was very happy with how much the mass in my chest has shrunk.

Tumor size March 26, 2009 (measured by Dr. D):
* 6.7cm x 3cm on the axial projection (side to side & front to back)
* 5.3cm coronal measurement (top to bottom)

Tumor size March 26, 2009 (measured by Dr. C):
* 6.6cm x 3.9cm on the axial projection
* No coronal measurement given

Tumor size May 7, 2009 (measured by Dr. C):
* 4.3cm x 1.4cm on the axial projection
* No coronal measurement given

Since the tumor is still responding to the chemotherapy, we're going to do two more cycles, bringing my up to eight cycles total. Eight cycles will be it: one of the chemo drugs has a lifetime maximum dosage which I am close to (going over the lifetime maximum carries a high risk of heart failure). After I finish the chemotherapy, my oncologist said he'd like to send me to a lymphoma specialist to discuss whether or not I should do radiation.

From my own research, there is good evidence that radiation after chemotherapy reduces the risk of a relapse. However, it also carries risks of secondary cancers (because of my age, sex, and the tumor location, breast cancer would be of particular concern) and because my tumor is so close to my heart, heart damage from the radiation would also be a concern. It's not clear which option (rads vs. no rads) has a better risk/benefit analysis.

I know my doctors will make the best decision based on the evidence we have available. Regardless of which treatment plan we decide on, my chance of a cure will be good. And that's about all I can ask for.


CanadianMaple (Becky) said...

I've been thinking of you and am so happy to hear this last update. Wishing you well!

Amy said...

You don't know me, but my husband is going through his first EPOCH+R treatment this week, and your blog has been so interesting and helpful for me. We haven't been able to find anyone else who's gone through this kind of treatment, so any insight I can get helps us know what we're going to face. Thanks.