We are Macmillan. Cancer Support
Hello all. My friend who has gullet cancer is going to be given the medicine avastin which is a fairly new treatment with gullet cancer. Has anyone had this treatment and if you have did it work, did it have side effects etc.... Thanks.
As you probably know this drug has been around for sometime treating breast cancer and some others. There was a large scale trial about 4 years ago to use it for our cancer and the results were very promising but in the end it narrowly missed the target time for prolonging life by a couple of weeks or so and therefore did not get approval either from NICE or the FDA in the US. Even though it missed the median by a couple of weeks there is always a long tail where some gain a couple of years. You can get all the info by google.
Thanks John. My friend was worried about the side effects from it, my advice was if you think there is a chance that it might help then go for it. I believe that he will have it while receiving chemo.
Yes, he should go for it. As i said, it was a better treatment for those of us who could not have the operation but the cost was too prohibitive. And if he is in the arm for just chemo there is nothing lost.
He is having surgery too but the doctor wants to try this and chemo before. I know that this drug is very expensive. I live in the United States and as an american i do not know a lot about your health system. Is avastin covered under the NHS or is up for the patient to pay. I told him to go for it too. Thank you John for your response, this is a complicated time for a dear friend of mine.
In the UK there is a trial taking part comparing pre-operative chemo with pre-operative chemo plus avastin. This is what I assumed you were talking about. I did not realise that you are in the US. In the US it is normal for radiation as well as chemo before the operation. Will he be having radiation? What stage is the cancer? Have a look at the MSK videos I posted links to. They explain your normal treatment plans. In the UK avastin is not available from the NHS except by taking part in the trial. There are similar trials in the US which can be looked up on the web such as the NCI web site. I don't know what the situation is in the UK about having these drugs privately and paying for them as I could not afford to do it and so far I have been content with the treatment options offered by the NHS, i.e. Herceptin.
If his insurance will cover the costs and his onc recommends it, it sounds the way to go.
He must be in the trial then but he didn't mention it. He is very happy with his team of doctors, i believe his cancer is at an early stage and it hasn't spread anywhere else. I don't know who could be able to afford the drug for it is so expensive. He will be having radiation as well as the chemo and avistan before and after surgery. I have known three people in my life who battled cancer, my dad who had liver cancer (treatments have changed since 1983) he had surgery first then chemo and radiation, a friend with brain cancer who had the surgery first before other treatments (she had stage 3 and is alive and cancer free after 14 years!) and another friend whose cancer was treated with surgery then chemo. this came one so suddenly in December (received an email with the news). He also told me that his survival rate is 36% . He really wants to come out and visit me (i live on the coast of California) when this is all over so he is trying to do whatever gives him the chance to recover. I never heard of chemo and radiation before surgery but then im not an oncologist and i have never known anyone except him who had this type though it seems very tricky (with lack of a better word) to treat. Thanks for all your knowledge and info I really do appreciate it. :)
If you have any questions about Macmillan we would love to hear from you
You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2015
what are these?