I, too, am interested in what course of treatment your dad has had...my mom is currently is going through radiation, and chemo once a week. She previously had chemo every 3 weeks for 3 days in a row. Right now she is hospitalized due to the effects and basically getting sick. What type of symptoms did your dad have? Besides the scar tissue that was noticed during the bladder removal surgery, did he ever complain about abdominal pain, or pain in the intestine? Mom is also experiencing bloody stools, and I am concerned that the radiation is doing that also. It's hard to know if the right thing is being done just to cover things now, but what is being done now might not be the best in the long run....
How are things going now? I was wondering...is there a possibility of using the newer forms of targeted radiation, IMRT and tomotherapy? Perhaps your father could be referred to a place that has the equipment to do this type of radiotherapy.
Charlie, I am curious about the kinds of chemo your Dad has had and what medicines he has been given.
My husband, Bob will be going back to his oncologist on Thursday and I am almost positive that Dr. Wallace will want to give him more chemo.
He had four cycles of gemzar and taxatere. They tried neulasta to help keep his white blood count up but he had reactions so they had to cut back on the taxatere.
The PET scan done after these treatments did not show much change so if they helped, it only kept things from spreading any further. He too is a stage 4 and I have counted 9 places listed on the PET scans that are involved.
Just completed 10 radiation treatments to the pelvic area and 5 to a rib about two weeks ago.
Caretaker of husband, Bob.
Diagnosed Jan, 2007
It's been a long time since my posting here and reading the insightful stories of others here in support of our shared experiences with bladder cancer.
In short, I wanted to share my concerns about my dad with stage IV bladder cancer and his condition today about 3 years after beginning chemotherapy and specifically my concerns about his past radiation therapy.
In brief, my dad has been dealing with cancer for about 10 years, he is 64 years old. His cancer journey began with prostate removal, extensive radiation therapy, bladder removal, and now chemotherapy. His cancer in large part is believed due to long-term smoking and high exposure at work from caustic chemicals, solvents, etc - inhaling and handling unprotected.
Overall, he has responded very well to chemotherapy, his oncologist considers him one of his star patients in terms of his good response to the drugs effectively shrinking the tumors and staving off the spread. 3 years into it, there have been no reports of spread to lungs, bones, or other organs.
Skipping a lot of details, there has been one site in the scans that has been frustration to diagnosis from radiologists and oncologists. Best discription was a fistula on his lower intestine; however, he shows no signs of infection. A biopsy was done last week and initial findings indicate a small tear or hole in the intestine casuing bacteria to leak in the abdominal cavity which is appearing to show as a pillow like structure in the scans unlike the structure of the nearby tumors. However, also has cancer cells included. I'm supposed to get a final report, prognosis with the oncologist next week.
My concern to share is that I'm inclined to believe that the extensive radiation therapy can leave scar tissue to other nearby organs which can later lead to other treatment complications. The discussion we've been given so far is that the damage is great and would under non-cancer patient conditions require surgery to repair, but we've been told at first analysis that this surgery would be considered life-theatening in and of itself for my dad. I haven't been told yet why that is the case. Is there anything that can be done to bring his health within range for some hope of success with surgery or other treatment options? He has been amazingly tolerant to the side-effects of chemotherapy due to good managment with other drugs to combat those effects. And while tired hasn't had his oneryness slowed and has shown lots of life to share with family including a recent trip to Disneyland with his grandson and his family (wife and I).
Going back to the bladder removal, the surgeon who removed his bladder commented to us that there was found a lot of scar tissue to his intestine and made his job very difficult to cut away the bladder as it had fused itself to other organs. He stated this was a result of the radiation therapy. His bladder removal surgery was longer than usual as extra time and care was needed to cut the bladder and either repair existent or surgery related damage to his intestine. That was over 3 years ago and I fast forward now thinking that the patchwork to the intestine ultimately didn't hold. As a very few months after the surgery my dad complained of the pain and the tumors were found nearby.
So while the cancer itself seems to be under some control, my concern is that this complication with the intestine will at some point worsen. It is also considered to be the cause of pain to manage with the pain meds moreover the tumors themselves.
So while the other tumors are below the threshold for starting another chemo cycle, he is reporting to the hospital tomorrow to begin another round of chemo cycles and I will meet with the oncologist for a more indepth review of the damage to his intestine.
I appreciate the support and advise here and also express concern for others to inquire about radiation effects and disclosure about scarring and tissue damage that accompany the treatment. Not that it wasn't necessary at the time, but we appear to be paying a price for it now and at the time of the bladder removal.