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My Sister's Stage 4 Bladder Cancer

12 years 1 week ago #8709 by wendy

Thanks. The reason that I posted it in the women's section is that my sister is rather fustrated that most of the advice about bladder cancer is about men that have it, and not women. I know that is part of her process and suspect that her anger at all the media coverage about breast cancer (really, any cancer other than womens stage 4 bladder cancer) is her grieving process.
I really could use some comments/advice about how to help her as she progresses. We are very hopeful that she will go into remission. However, I need some experienced voices about how I can help her and what her path ahead will look like. Quality of life is really important to her.
Today she told me that her first round of chemo was Cesplatin/Gemsomething, and I cant remember what she told me her second round was (which didnt stop the growth) was. Like others, she was diagnosed about a year before the cancer diagnosis as having a bladder infection which they "remedied" with antiobiotics. As we have no history of cancer and are intimidated by Doctors, she didnt know to ask for a more thorough medical review.
Please any advice, good or bad, would help.


If your sister is having a third drug, then it's an experimental combination, a clinical trial? If not, Gemzar and cisplatin are the standard two drugs given these days for TCC. Perhaps the third drug could be skipped, making the regimen more tolerable.

It seems like your sister is hoping for remission and not prepared to give up. She can certainly get some time. You didn't mention where the spread is, and I assume she did not have surgery.

I understand the frustration she must feel regarding the lack of resources for women with bladder cancer, but WebCafe has a special section, put together by women (mostly), both fighters and caregivers, discussing the hard parts of what they are facing.

Perhaps the stories are too cruel and "real", if your sister is in fighting mode, but if you are curious about how blc can play out, there is sharing there.
http://blcwebcafe.org/voices.asp

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12 years 1 week ago #8706 by Mike
Your sister is getting Cisplatin---Gemcitabine a very commom chemo treatment. Also there is a category on this board called Women and Bladder Cancer. Now since it has invaded her lymphs in the chest and lungs it is called Metastatic Cancer now since it has spread to other places. If she can tolerate these two drugs and Cisplatin is a fairly heavy duty drug then I would continue you never know. All I can tell you at this point is see what happens as she tries to go through the cycles of chemo. Continuing the chemo is always the patients call. Joe

http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Treatments/Chemotherapy/Combinationregimen/Gemcitabinecisplatin

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12 years 1 week ago #8705 by Beachcomber
Thanks. The reason that I posted it in the women's section is that my sister is rather fustrated that most of the advice about bladder cancer is about men that have it, and not women. I know that is part of her process and suspect that her anger at all the media coverage about breast cancer (really, any cancer other than womens stage 4 bladder cancer) is her grieving process.

I really could use some comments/advice about how to help her as she progresses. We are very hopeful that she will go into remission. However, I need some experienced voices about how I can help her and what her path ahead will look like. Quality of life is really important to her.

Today she told me that her first round of chemo was Cesplatin/Gemsomething, and I cant remember what she told me her second round was (which didnt stop the growth) was. Like others, she was diagnosed about a year before the cancer diagnosis as having a bladder infection which they "remedied" with antiobiotics. As we have no history of cancer and are intimidated by Doctors, she didnt know to ask for a more thorough medical review.

Please any advice, good or bad, would help.

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12 years 1 week ago #8697 by wendy
Hi,

I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with your sister's advanced cancer. I was once in the same position when my sister had breast cancer. It seemed she was sick from the treatments the whole time rather than the cancer itself. But we knew that without the treatments it would actually have been worse.

Many times radiation can help shrink tumors, ask if the location of the nodes in the chest are treatable.

Once a person has had chemo, the cancer often becomes more difficult to control with chemo-but it could be worth a try. Since the goal now is quality of life, it wouldn't make sense to bombard her with heavy chemo. There are some chemos which are less toxic than others, doses and schedules can be adapted to keep toxicity to its minimum.

Nobody can tell someone when to stop treatments, only support their choices along the way. For the most part, I think it's a lot harder being a caregiver than a patient.

Wishing you and your sister all the best, and please keep us posted.
Wendy

PS I'm moving this thread to 'metastatic bladder cancer' where it will probably get more responses than in this section of 'women and bladder cancer', hope you don't mind...

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12 years 1 week ago #8694 by Beachcomber
In April, my 78 yr old sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bladder cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes. No other organs have been affected. She has had one type of chemo, and it kept the cancer in check. Then a new type of chemo, which did not stop the cancer, but rather it has continued to spread to the lymphs in the upper chest, near her heart and lungs. I know from reading this board, everyone is different. However, I need to know what to expect as a caregiver. The chemo has been rough, but she has withstood it rather stoically. She has no other symptoms that are not related to the chemo. Should she continue? should she stop? what are others experiences?

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