Which is better ? The infusion 5-FU or the chemo pill?
We are looking at different types of scenarios for my dads chemo/radiation treatment. After the first bout of Gemzar for the second round is there a difference/pros / cons of going with the infusion of 5-FU or the chemo pill? We have had conflicting information from oncologists - one recommends gemzar first then the pill w/ radiation and the other recommends gemzar w/ radiation and 5-FU.
You will have a difficult time getting a definitive answer to your question, because either way may work, and either way may not work. Oncology is an inexact science, and one in which whichever treatment you choose precludes trying the other one. So it is very difficult to get a real side-by-side comparison of multiple treatment possibilities on any individual.
In my case, they used Xeloda (similar to 5-FU but in a pill form) simultaneously with the radiation, then more Xeloda by itself. I had a year apparently clear from the cancer, and then only after it resurfaced was the Gemzar used by itself, and then in combination with Tarceva and Oxaliplatin. Was that the right choice? I cannot tell you, since I do not know what any alternative treatment would have done instead. All I can say is that next month is three years from my diagnosis, and I am still alive and able to work every day.
I will say this, though. The pills are easier to deal with then the infusion, and for a very simple reason. With the pills you get a metered dose every day, while with the infusion they give you a full week (or in my case two weeks) worth all at once. The daily administratioon is less upsetting to the body than getting a huge dose less frequently.
I hope this helps. Please see my cancer blog listed below if you need more information as to what infusion is like.
whipple procedure, Oct. 21, 2004
28 days of radiation
56 days of Chemo using Xeloda
diagnosed as progressive recurrent pancreatic adenocarcinoma (Stage IV) Jun. 20, 2006
was treated with gemcitabine, oxaliplatin, and tarceva, which all failed.
Cancer blog: http://diehlmartin.com/cancer.html