We received the quarterly scan results and unfortunately the cancer has started to grow again. Specifically, one of the larger tumors has grown and the ascites (cancerous fluid) in my mom’s abdomen increased.
Of course this is not good news, but there is reason for optimism. First, the cancer growth rate is not aggressive, and the treatment course is changing immediately. Second, because the cancer has held off for a couple of years, there are treatment options that exist now that did not in 2018. Third, because the Arimidex treatment has had low toxicity, my mom’s health and stamina are strong and ready for next steps. So, here is where we go from here……..
As of Friday, May 8, my mom’s treatment has changed to Tamoxifen and Megestrol, the latter being an estrogen inhibitor somewhat similar to the Arimidex which has immediately been discontinued. There is a ~50% chance the Tamoxifen/Megestrol treatment will control/stabilize the cancer. Toxicity and side effects from this treatment is expected to be minimal. My mom will have bloodwork done in mid-June to help measure if this course of action is effective. We will not do another scan until early August as 3 months between scans is necessary to conduct an accurate comparison to the previous scan.
If the Tamoxifen/Megestrol does not work, the next option is an FDA approved immunotherapy that did not exist in 2018. This course of treatment would also have a ~50% chance of efficacy. There could be fairly severe side effects so if/when we get to this treatment, we will need to better understand the risks.
If the first two options don’t work, Doxil chemotherapy would likely be option 3, but there is also a chance of being part of a clinical study. Our view is that we will cross these bridges when appropriate which would be at least 6 months from now.
My mom is not experiencing any physical symptoms and she is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually feeling strong, with of course ebbs and flows given this news. But overall she is doing well and ready to take on these next steps.
As we know you will, please continue to encourage her and keep her in your prayers. Thank you everyone.