Bone cancer chemo + coronavirus

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Hi all,

I am a 24 year old diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer (paro osteosarcoma). 

i am soon to undergo chemotherapy next week to treat my bone cancer which is stage 4 and has spread to the lungs. I have been told that bone cancer is chemo resistant so there is a very low chance of the chemo working, around 20%. 

there are a lot of risks with me going ahead with the chemo given the situation with covid-19. First one being a compromised immune system which will make me more suceptible to catching the virus which can be fatal. Secondly the damage the chemo will do to my quality of life, as now I am healthy and feeling well and fine. There is also a risk that I could go through the whole chemo process and it damages my quality of life, only for it not to even work. 

However if I don't go ahead with the chemo, then there is a strong chance the cancer will grow and spread further. My cancer is very aggressive as the tumour which was taken out of my leg was High grade and now small dots are in my lungs.

I was thinking to either go ahead with the chemo now and take the risks. Or wait 4 weeks and asssss the covid-19 situation to see if it dies down. However the situation is unpredictable and 4 weeks could turn to 3 months. Also worried that I start a cycle of chemo now and the rest gets cancelled due to the heightened growth of the virus. Which would also have been all for nothing.

Any advice would be helpful as my treatment is due to start this week and tomorrow I’m getting my PICC line in. If anyone could help, I would be really greatful. Thank you. 

  • Hi this is crap and I am sorry you are going through this. I wanted to add my voice to support you through this time, even though I imagine you may have already made your choice based on when you first posted. From your post above it seems like you are incredibly level headed but it also seems that you are between a rock and a hard place.

    Positively you have been offered chemo, so taking that up now, appears to be the sensible choice. Covid-19 may mostly likely be with us for some time...who knows. Chemo is not fun but its effects on your wellbeing are gradual and importantly it may help restrain the bone cancer in your lung. I understand they have said it has a 20% chance of working but the key is to think of the cancer treatment/control/resistance as a multi stage attack. This chemo is one of the tools available to you and the medical team right now, but hopefully it is not the only tool. Perhaps by going ahead with the chemo, you can allow the bone cancer in the lung to a)shrink b)reduce or c) remain the same size. These are all good outcomes. If that occurs, that may buy the medical team time to then control the primary cancer in the bones (hopefully the multi stage treatment analogy makes sense?)

    Although you are fine and well now, bone cancer is an aggresive cancer if left untreated. I think taking the chemo now, understanding the risks, is the hard choice but probably what I would do in your shoes. Not everyone with advanced cancer gets offered chemo, because I imagine the risks outweigh the benefits. However, positively (in a weird way), I would assume that your medical team feel the benefit of chemo outweigh the risks in your case. This is something to hold onto as its a source of positivity at this stage.

    My final bit of advice would be to ask your doctor what she/ he thinks is your best option (assuming they were in your shoes, what would they chose?) Be prepared that neither choice may be wholly good or wholly bad.

    Sending you lots positive support and strength.