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2 question on HCX chemo

Posted by

Hi, My husband has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and is having HCX chemo (Cisplatin, capecitabine and trastuzumab). I have 2 questions:

1) I have read about the many benefits of Manuka honey but wanted to check it is safe for him to have? I think it is, but read online that it can interfere with 'certain' chemotherapy drugs.

2) Is HCX for palliative care only? I have heard of a patient who was told he was terminal and had ECX which actually cured him after 8 cycles.. obviously just want to check hubby is getting the best treatment. Thank you in advance,

Linda - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Yani10

Thanks for your post. I see from you profile your husband was diagnosed recently. This can be an unsettling time and it can take a bit of time for things to feel a bit easier. It’s good to see you’re in touch with other on the online community, this support can be invaluable.

We would always recommend that you speak with his team before taking things like Manuka honey or any supplements. There is a theoretical risk that Manuka honey can lessen the effect of some chemotherapy drugs. And as some varieties are raw, they will be untreated and may contain bacteria that could increase the risk of infection to someone with a lowered immune system.

In answer to your second question, HCX is recommended by NICE as first line palliative treatment for both locally advanced and metastatic oesophageal cancer. This is offered when surgery is not possible because the size or position of the tumour or if has spread to other areas of the body. First line recommendations are often determined as the treatment that has shown to give the biggest benefit to the majority. This is not to say that other options aren’t effective.

In terms of success, this depends on the way that the cancer responds to treatment and how well side-effects are tolerated. No two cancers are the same and each person will have their own individual outcome. Your husband’s multi-disciplinary team will have based his treatment plan on what they believe to be the best for him. If you have any doubts or concerns about this you can discuss this with them, so they can address your worries.

I see you had posted a few days ago that your husband was having symptoms that were worrying you. If he hasn’t spoken with anyone about this, and they are still troubling him, it’s a good idea to contact the hospital today. He should have 24-hour support line number he can call. They will be able to assess him and recommend the best way of helping him.

If you’d like to speak with us we’d be happy to hear from you, to see what other support or guidance we can offer. Please keep in touch.

Take care, Linda (Cancer Information Nurse Specialist)