New and in need of help please

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New and in need of help please

Postby RBR000 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:19 pm

First, I have to thank you for letting me read your blog for the last several months. It has been sometimes calming, sometimes frightening, and I'm not sure where I (and we) would be right now without it. So thanks.

My brother was diagnosed in early February with Stage 4 CRC. I'm not sure I know how to speak about this intelligently, but here goes.

He was diagnosed with MSS CRC with a large primary colon tumor and more than 5 liver mets. Genetic testing shows KRAS, APC (2) and TP53 mutations. After initial diagnosis he went to MDA, saw Drs. Kopetz and Vauthey, and began chemo (not sure the specific kind, but it included Avastin).

I read so much on this blog about MSK and Dr. Kemeny (thanks to you all) and after speaking with my brother he went to NY for a consult with her. He saw Drs. Kemeny, D'Angellica and Paty, got a complete workup and has been scheduled for an HAI pump, liver and colon resection in May.

He had a follow up with Drs. Kopetz and Vauthey yesterday, scheduled after his initial MDA visit. We told them about MSK; not surprisingly they are not keen on the HAI option and apparently prefer instead colon/liver resection and participation in a PDL-1 immunotherapy trial (subject to confirmation of his eligibility).

I've read just enough about clinical trials to be dangerous, which is to say I just don't know enough and despite the information here and elsewhere, I (we) don't know what to do: MDA and PDL-1 trial or MSK and HAI.

If anyone has any specific advice, we'd sure appreciate it.

Again, I'm really very grateful for all of the information that you guys share here, and for the support that this community offers.

Thanks very much,


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Re: New and in need of help please

Postby Lee » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:09 pm

Hi and welcome, sorry no one has responded to you yet.

I did not have liver mets. Butt MSK and Dr, Kemeny is the BEST hospital and Dr for your brother. MDAnderson is a top notch hospital, butt for your brother's liver mets, Dr Kemeny is the one you want treating him.

Hope his helps,

rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 10 years and counting!

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Location: Central NY

Re: New and in need of help please

Postby WriterGirl1969 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:54 pm

Like Lee, I'm sorry to see you don't have more people responding just yet. Probably readers who haven't had that specific experience opt to let someone who has chime in.

That said, it might be important to note that there may not be any perfect answer to your question. It's hard when you get conflicting advice and recommendations. And what worked for one person might not work for the next. There are no sure things just yet with cancer treatment, although there have been some truly significant strides made. What you may end up receiving are positive and negative experiences with both options. The important thing will be to learn as much as possible about all of the benefits and detriments of both treatment options and about the doctors proposing them, and then for your brother to make an informed decision that feels as right as possible for him. Sometimes you have to stand up to doctors that are pushing their own agendas. Possibly you should ask the team at MDA to consult with Kemeny and team to see what they think of the proposed alternative treatment. You can have a "primary" in another hospital who directs the team that you work with. I would say that if Kemeny and team already set up one type of treatment and plans for surgery that they should at least be consulted by MDA if they are thinking to change those plans.

Hopefully the response will provide the reasons why or why not, and also give some advice. Maybe you want to call back to them yourself and let them know what your other team is saying and proposing, and that you'd like their feedback on this so that you can all make the right choices.

Whatever happens, best of luck to your brother and to you - and to the whole family. Keep us posted.

Hugs and prayers,
DX 3/4/2016 Colon Cancer; age 46 Mom of 4-yr-old
Stage IIIB: T3N1M0
3/31/16 Left Hemi
4 to 10/2016: Xeloda Monotherapy
CEA: 10/16 0.56, 1/17 0.54
3/6/17 CT clear
NED at 1 year
“If I can help somebody as I walk along, then my living shall not be in vain.”

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Re: New and in need of help please

Postby stu » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:32 am

When I read your post my initial reaction was that your brother is caught between two good options. That's a great place for a stage 4 patient to be. Sometimes it's a case of making a reasonable decision. There are no specific treatment protocols in a stage 4 setting , just judgement calls.
I live in the UK and the pump is not available here now. Whilst clinically the other specialists have reservations she does seem to get good outcomes from what I see. Dr K would probably have measurable outcomes . I am not sure if the immunotherapy will have but you could maybe measure the two against each other and see who is achieving the better success rate.
If he should not select the pump and purely for his encouragement my mum has not had chemo since2010 , never post surgery and has done well with surgery being the big guns in her treatment.
Thinking of you all,
Kind regards,
Last edited by stu on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
supporter to my mum who lives a great life despite a difficult diagnosis
stage4 2009 significant spread to liver
2010 colon /liver resection
chemo following recurrence
73% of liver removed
enjoying life treatment free
2016 lung resection

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Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 1:32 am

Re: New and in need of help please

Postby Stanfordmom » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:44 am

Sorry I don't visit the board as much as before and just saw your post tonight.

I would highly recommend HAI pump treatment under Dr. Kemeny's watch. She has "cured" quite a few people on this board with HAI pump chemo. Also even if you have recurrences later in liver, HAI pump chemo is always a good adjunct chemo to remove residue Cancer cells in your liver. So it is like an insurance policy and one extra option for your liver, always.

Also Dr. Kemeny will be the best fighter for your life. She is well respected at MSKCC and she could get surgeons and radiologists to help you very fast if you have recurrences (I had two in my case, but she and the surgeons took care of them).

Finally if years later, your brother is out of chemo options, he could always try immunotherapy. No trial now is refusing people to participate because of HAImpump implantation. Who knows, when your brother needs immunotherapy later, there may be some of them approved by FDA already.

Hope this is helpful and good luck with your brother's treatment!

DX 4/2/2014 at 44, stage 4, mets liver and ovaries
Mom to 2 boys
Two surgeries, HAI pump and lots of chemo

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Re: New and in need of help please

Postby mariane » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:43 am

I also do not check as often as I used to in the past.

I chose Dr Kemeny option and do not regret it. I went to MSKCC with 10+ mets in my my liver spread all over my liver. The largest was 7.5cm.... I heard that my mets were unresectable. I had 3 surgeries by Dr D'Angelica - he is excellent surgeon and a fantastic person. In May last year I achieved NED status - exactly a year after I heard from my first oncologist that I am uncurable and doomed to die within 2 years. I have twins - they were 6 at that time. I was broken.
Now almost 2 years from my diagnosis - I feel strong and healthy. I am off chemo. My scans were clear. I am not sure what future brings. I pray to stay here longer. Anyway I have received 2 good years with my kids already. It is very hard to live 3 months at a time - from scans to scans.

There is Cynthia here. She moved from MDA to MSKCC after unsuccessful liver resection. It was about 5 years ago.
There are many more who are 7+ years NED.
I heard from doctors that Dr Kemeny has many patients who are 20 years NED after HAI treatment.

Good Luck!
mom of almost 8 years old twins, dx @ 40 with stage 4 upper rectal cancer with liver mets on 6/26/2015, CEA 140
8/2015 - beginning chemo: 4xFOLFIRINOX, 2xFOLFOX, 8xFOLFIRI, 10x5FU, 12xFUDR
4 surgeries complete pathological response
CEA<2 since 10/2015
NED since May 2016

Praise God for every day with my family!

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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:29 am

Re: New and in need of help please

Postby kandj » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:31 am

First off I am so sorry your brother has received this awful diagnosis.

My husband was diagnosed in August 2015 and we too went to MDA (we live outside of Houston, we thought we lucked out there!). We were so disappointed in our meeting with the surgeon there. He basically told us to keep at chemo but there was little to no chance of DH eventually having a liver resection. He was dismissive of the HAI and dismissive of RFA as well.

We saw Drs. K, Paty, and DeMatteo less then a month later. They were far more optimistic. DH had his pump and LAR 6 weeks later. He had far too many tumors to remove then, we needed shrinkage first. After 5 months of the FUDR, DH had his liver resection in May 2016. A point the Dr at MDA said he would never get to. Dr. K's 5 year OS with the pump and resection blow any other cancer center out of the water. She gets results we did not even think were possible starting out.

I will also say I think the talent at MSKCC is far superior then MDA. I felt like the care team as a whole was more cohesive, caring, and professional.
wife to DH, Diagnosed at 36yo with stage 4 CRC August 2015 mom to 3 boys
numerous mets throughout liver, unresectable currently
Folfox +avastin aug 15-Nov 15
Lynch and MAP negative
Folfiri starting Jan 2016
Primary resection and HAI pump placed Dec 2015 at MSKCC, FUDR started Dec 2015
50% reduction in most lesions after 2 FUDR treatment. An Additional 30% reduction after one more FUDR
Liver resection/ablation done 5/19/2016 15-20 mets removed (surgeon lost count, but it hopeful he got it all!)

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Re: New and in need of help please

Postby RBR000 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:39 am

Hi Lee, Tracy, Stu, Sha, kandj and Mariane,

Thanks so much for your responses and support. I suppose you've experienced the sense of comfort that replies like yours provide, and I want you to know how much it means to me and my family.

We are also grateful to have '2 good options' (thanks for that Stu) -- one of the challenges is that he/we found much to like at both MDA and MSK, not least of which are the doctors. I think we've developed a better understanding of what each of the options represents -- risks and benefits -- and certainly appreciate the context that your personal experiences provide.

I expect a decision will be made within the next day or so, and for those interested I'll give you an update then.

In the meantime, I'll continue thinking very positive things about you all and wishing each of you the very best.

Thanks again,


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