The man at the Marsden



Posted July 3rd, 2009 by Jane

The man at the Marsden who I saw last week for a ’second opinion’ has brilliant communication skills. He’s one of the UK.s most respected oncologists. Communication skills and expertise in oncology don’t nessarily go together but they do with him. I like the way he has read my notes and my history and therefore knows the likely level of my understanding. He is straightforward and truthful.

He does not, as some of you hope, come up with a new wonder drug which will ‘give’ me extra years. He does suggest trying an old drug called caelyx also known as lipsomal doxurubicin or pegylated doxurubicin. I had once refused pegylated doxurubicin thinking it wouldn’t work as its an anthracycline which has failed for me in the past.

The leaflet I went home with says:

“Doxurubicin is a chemotherapy drug, In liposomal doxorubicin the molecules of the drug are enclosed (encapsulated) in a fatty coating known as liposome. The liposome allows the doxurubicin to remain in the body for longer so that a greater amount of chemotherapy is delivered to the cancer cells, while having fewer side effects on healthy tissue.”

The man at the Marsden says there is an 8O% chance of it not working. So I am going for the other 20% that it might. ‘Working’ doesn’t mean the tumours disappear..in my case it would mean some slight reduction of tumour size which could ease the pain I’m in.

Never say never. It looks as though (insurance company permitting…about the insurance company I may write at a different time.) I will do this chemotherapy.

My latest scan shows significant progression in the large tumours in my neck very near my jugular vein. Help! I’m at risk of stroke. And being at risk of stroke I do want to postpone that way of dying, and if the chemotherapy might just reduce the size of those tumours it might be worth it. I know I’m dying and knowing that,then a few more weeks or months does matter. Oh how it matters in my shoes.