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Aug 31, 2010 08:33 PM bluedasher wrote:
Your last paragraph is very short but asks very big questions. There are already some threads that can help with the answers.
As far as what chemo regime - the short answer is that the two most standard ones (which have been tested in large drug trials) are AC-TH and TCH. AC-TH means that Adriamycin and Cytoxan are given first for 4 cycles and then Taxotere (or sometimes Taxol) and Herceptin are given for 4 cycles. TCH means Taxotere, Carboplatin (or sometimes Cytoxan) and Herceptin are given for 6 cycles. In either case (at least in the US) Herceptin is continued for the rest of the year.
There are two recent threads that discuss the two regimes on the HER2+ forum:
AC-TH regimen anyone?
What chemo treatments are you on with Herceptin?
AC-TH was the one that was tested in some of the earliest trials because Adriamycin was the first chemo drug that they found particularly effective against HER2+ cancers (before Taxotere and Herceptin were in use). However, Adriamycin and Herceptin can both have a side effect of reducing heart funciton in some women. When they are both used in AC-TH, significantly more women get the problem even though the two drugs aren't given at the same time. A trial, BCIRG 006, was done to test TCH vs AC-TH vs AC-T and TCH was found to be about as effective at preventing recurrence but with much lower risk of heart problems.
Some oncologists still prefer to use AC-TH because the therapy has been around longer and therefore has been in more clinical trials.
As far as your question about side effects and what to be prepared for, side effects can vary a lot. There are two threads pinned to the top of the chemo forum about tips for getting through chemotherapy and a shopping list of stuff to have on hand just in case. It can be kind of daunting but remember that everyone doesn't get every side effect, it is just nice to know that whatever will be needed is on hand.
If your sister does TCH, there is a thread in the chemo forum titled taxotere, carboplatin and herceptin where those of us getting that regimine chat. It was started in 2007 but quite a few women who currently or recently had this chemo are still using that to discuss how they are doing and give each other tips for coping. It is over 200 pages - you could read just part of it to get some idea of side effects for this chemo.
Usually each month there is a thread in the chemo forum where people starting chemo that month all chat. That is a group of people taking a variety of chemotherapies but all going through it at the same time. I found both the thread for my month and the TCH thread helpful.
The whole world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is to not fear.
Diagnosis: 9/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+