what treatments are out there

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    Has anyone had Brachytherapy? This is a treatment using radiation directly to the cancer. I have had one round of chemo and radiation and my oncologist has referred me to Dr. Demanes who does this therapy. He is at UCLA.


    This would be gemcitabine and carboplatin which is a platinum like cisplatin ,oxaliplatin etc and this is an apropriate regime Janet



    I was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in July 09 and at that time my CA-19 count was at 2000. During chemo it went up to 5400 but then two months after chemo it came down to 1575, only a month later it was up to 4074 and then yesterday it was up to 6574. They did not start chemo, again, last month because my CT scan showed no change from the CT scan of two months earlier. Can anyone give me some information as to why my CA-19 test is rising and it is not showing up on the scan? I am really worried.
    My oncologist suggested that when I start chemo, again, that I have a combination of gemzar and carbo; I don’t think I have seen this combination mentioned. I am wondering if I might have it wrong. I would love any information anyone can give me.


    Hi sduggins thank you for your information as we have a meeting with his onc on monday and will talk to him about all the information that I have received. Good luck and I hope your husband continues to improve. Julie


    Hi SusanL I cannot thank you enough for this information as Greg is on the same drug regime so that is good news for me. Thank you also for the link I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet as Greg is now back in hospital with his infection levels rising and they don’t know what is causing it. He’s about to start his 2 cycle but with his blood works still normal they can’t figure it out so are doing lots of tests to try and figure it out.But once again thanks so much for the information. Goodluck with your journey. Julie


    Hi Mary’s mum I must apologise for the lateness of this reponse Greg is in and out of hospital due to this infection he has started chemo but will let his oncologist know what your mum’s medications are in case that those are an option as well. Thanks for the information and good luck with your journey as well Julie


    My husband is on his 19 session of Gemzar and xleoda. He is on a 2 weeks on 1 week off plan. On is 2 weeks on he receives Gemzar once a week and takes xleoda 2 times daily, after breakfast and after dinner. That and alot of prayers is working for him now. There are side effects but his have been minimal and the ONC is great at helping us work thur them.


    Hi Julie, Gemzar is also called Gemcitabine. In combination with Cisplatin, it’s a treatment of choice for inoperable bile duct and gallbladder cancer. I live in Canada, and that’s the treatment I’m getting. When suggesting it, my oncologist told me about a paper presented last year to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Here’s a link to the article, which calls it “the worldwide standard of care” for advanced or metastatic biliary tract cancer: http://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/Fulltext/2009/08101/Biliary_Tract_Cancer__Gemcitabine_Cisplatin_Called.15.aspx

    I’ve only begun my third cycle, and it’s too soon to tell if it’s working, but I’m finding the side effects to be very tolerable.

    I hope this information helps.


    Hey Julie,

    My mom was diagnosed with this cancer back in august of 09. Her cancer started in the dile duct that starts in the liver also. My mom’s cancer wasn’t diagnosed until it was in stage 4 and had spread to her liver. It was inoperatable. She’s currently on a regiment of Gemzar every other week and a oral chemo drug (that’s kinda new) called Tarceva. She has to take the Tarceva everyday with specific times as to when she can eat. It seem to be working. We went for a CT scan today to see what the tumors are doing, but her energy level is up and she’s moving more like her old self.
    the best of luck to you and the treatments that are used.


    Hi Janet/NSW australia I was wondering if you could let me know some information as you are in Australia and you seem to know a bit about the chemo regime here. The preferred drug in the US is Gemzar ( think that’s the correct spelling) but we can’t get it here as for Greg’s cancer (bile duct) the Government hasn’t approved it for his but for pancreatic cancer only. What was the regime that you/family member was on how did it work for you/them etc. The oncologist at North Shore Private advd us that they can get their hands on it if they need to but the oncologist at Canberra Private advd that we can only approach the Drug Company on compassionate grounds or approach his health company. any advise you can give me on this I’d appreciate. thanks again Julie


    Hi Gavin thanks for your reply hope all goes well with your dad Julie


    Hi Jane sorry for the lateness of the reply have been spending most of my time at hospital. I had a meeting with the onc the other day as Greg has had another set back with a yeast infection. One doctor his immunologist was a bit gloom and doom but his surgeon was up beat and sure the infection would clear quite quickly. the surgeon seems to be correct so hopefully he’ll be out in a couple of days rest for a week or two and then chemo so not sure about chemo as hasn’t started yet. The onc did advise that they know pretty soon if chemo working and also said that they can change drug choices can be mixed and changed to attempt a good result. I spoke about PDT as an option but onc advised that this was still an option but not much was known about it and the affect that it had on Greg’s type of cancer but that chemo was still his best option. So will keep you informed. My advice to you is ask as many questions you can think of no matter how silly you may think it is but also get on this website and ask for help as everyone here is here for you and your family and if they can help we will. Good luck with your journey and stay positive. Julie


    Hi Jane,

    I can’t help you with the chemo choice as my dad never had chemo. Have you spoke with your doctors about PDT?

    Best wishes



    Jane…I am sorry to hear about the recurrence. I am enclosing a link to the NCI site regarding PDT treatment and am wondering whether No. 4 may pertain to you. Your physician may be able to answer this.
    All my best wishes,


    Hello, I had a resection 12.17.08, then Gemzar and then 10/16 & 11/16/09 two Therasphere treatments. Is there any reason that this PDT treatment could kill the 3 tumors that have recurred since the last Therasphere treatment. I have not started chemo yet, but saw my oncologist today. He gave me a few chemo choices and left it to me to decide??? What seems to be the best new treatment for this horrible disease.

    Katieloumatt wrote:
    Hi Julie,

    Welcome to the board. I have copied this from the Macmillan cancer website in England to describe PDT to you, hope it helps ~

    Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
    PDT| uses a combination of laser light of a specific wavelength and a light-sensitive drug to destroy cancer cells. In bile duct cancer it is used to help relieve symptoms.

    The light-sensitive drug (a photosensitising agent) is injected into a vein. It circulates in the bloodstream and enters cells throughout the body. The drug enters more cancer cells than healthy cells. It does not do anything until it is exposed to laser light of a particular wavelength. When a laser is shone on to the cancer, the drug becomes active and destroys the cancer cells.


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