As you know, I have been going to Sloan Kettering for treatment of my carcinoid cancer. I am stage 4 and I have been taking Sandostatin Shots as my only form of treatment until recently. I have become increasingly uneasy with this treatment because I have been reading that it really is a poor treatment for controlling the growth of my cancer when used alone. For some reason, the last few doctors have recommended this as my only treatment and nothing else. See my post “My Third Sandostatin Shot” if you would like to read more.
As you might be aware, I have started to wonder if I am getting the best of medical care that I could get. To be honest, I really don’t think I am. Well, that is until now. I finally have a plan to fight my cancer.
So, with all of that being said, I decided to seek a second opinion….no wait…third Opin…no…a fourth opinion. Yup, bad patient. I didn’t just accept what was handed out to me without question. Bad…very bad. 🙂 So, as a result of my efforts to seek another opinion, I have had my tumors tested to see which medicines would work best in treating my disease. As it turns out, one of them is called Capecitabine. The brand name is Xeloda (you can click the name to read more). Here is a quick video about the drug. It is a form of chemo. To be honest, it’s a bit above me but I will research it and I hope come to understand how it works. I put it here for your reference.
I will tell you what I have gleaned from watching the video a few times. Xeloda, or Capecitabine, is taken orally and matabolized internally by the liver where it is converted into other chemical compounds eventually becoming 5-fluorouracil (5-fu). This is a form of chemotherapy. It is used for breast cancer and colon cancers which are, interestingly enough, part of the endocrine system.
It affects cells that are in the cell division phase and inhibits DNA synthesis thus causing cell death in the cancer tumor. Continued cell death can lead to the tumor shrinking in size. Also, because it needs a cell that is in the phase where it is dividing and multiplying, the drug levels must be maintained for a period of time that is long enough to affect cells not yet in the cell division phase at the moment but will be soon. When measured after treatment, the 5-fu levels are much higher in cancer cells than healthy tissue surrounding the tumor because Xeloda is only activated by certain (unpronounceable) chemicals found in cancer cells. So, it seems that it is targeting cancer cells directly.
I have also found a video regarding side effects of Xeloda. It’s a bit hard to watch but here it is.
Finally, there is a phase 2 clinical study that has just been completed where the Capecitabine (Xeloda) was paired with temozolomide. They renamed the drug CAPTEM (capecitabine and temozolomide) for patients with neuroendocrine tumors. It was very effective but, I am not sure if it is available yet. Here is the video. This was a very interesting video.
So, I am very hopeful that this treatment will be effective for me. I must admit that I am afraid of the chemo. I guess I read too many health blogs that tell you not to choose chemo. Well, I am. I am choosing chemo and I have great hopes that it will work for me but, I am also going to augment that therapy with what I have been learning about fighting cancer naturally. If you have a moment say a quick prayer for my family. I have a little boy who is 6 and a wife that I love dearly. I’m not ready to go.
I hope that you find this post useful,
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