The secret doctor network is amazing. A close family friend, also a doctor, knows someone who works with clinical trials at City of Hope. She helped get me an appointment with their top colon cancer oncologist. He agreed to see me as a consult, look over my labs, scans, and colonoscopy results and make recommendations as to my care. We had some questions about whether clinical trials would be beneficial and what chemo regiment he would recommend.
It’s important to understand what a clinical trial is and how it could benefit me. This was my first question before I even considered talking about clinical trials. The simplified explanation is that it is a chemo treatment that has been proven to be effective with certain cancers but hasn’t been around long enough to be approved by the FDA so they’re still researching its effects on humans. So its basically new chemo that’s theoretically better or more effective than whats on the market now. The problem is my tumor is rare, my age precludes me from most studies, and my liver lesions are another problem as most studies only want to look at colon cancer in isolation.
Are there any clinical trials I qualify for? There is one possibility, but it depends on the genetic testing results of my tumor. However, the chemo in the clinical trial at this point is not more effective than standard chemo treatments. So it was recommended by this specialist to go with a standard chemo trifecta that has been known to shrink tumors 50-70% after 3 months. What’s good news, is that this is the plan for chemo that my oncologist already has on the books.
The other thing that was recommended is that when it comes time for surgery, I have it at City of Hope. They apparently have the most qualified and experienced liver surgeons in the area. Apparently excellent liver surgeons are hard to come by and the most pivotal component of my treatment. So there’s lots to discuss with my oncologist on Thursday.
Tomorrow I head to my PET and chest CT scan. At 5 am I wake up to eat 2 hard boiled eggs and then no food or drink till after the tests. I hate starving, and this whole “nothing by mouth for 6 hours before the scans” is sure to do it. For future surgery purposes, we need to know where all the cancer is. At this point, based on the scans we have, the cancer is isolated to my liver and colon, however, it’s very possible there could be malignant nodules in my lungs or in the lymphatic system around my colon and liver. The good news is it wont affect my chemo but it may affect the future surgery.
No more surprises please body. Thanks.