The new oncologist

Posted June 4th, 2009 by Jane

I had an hour long discussion with the new oncologist yesterday. Like policemen oncologists are getting younger. He was an enthusiastic young man, very thorough, sense of humour, keen to establish his research credentials. I liked him.

Like the just retired oncologist he agrees that further chemotherapy is pretty pointless, though did mention an old regime: MMM if I really wanted to ‘try everything’.

The only treatments serious for me are ‘novel agents’…of which he mentioned the drug sutent…not approved by NICE, and actually not good trial evidence*; and Phase 1 trials…though he wasn’t sure there’s a suitable PARP inhibitor trial for me right now. A fan of the wonderful man at the Marsden, he is going to refer me there again so I can at least have the conversation.

He talked about how diffiuclt it is to manage loco/regional spread particularly when triple negative and how poorly chemotherapy often works for this kind of spread.

He also thinks that its nodal disease at the entrance to my lung which is showing as damage on scans…not secondaries in my lungs…but tumour blocking the lower lobe (I think…this is all a bit technical for me.) Explains my breathlessness.

I’m having another CT scan and an MRI scan…the first to check if/what progression and the MRI to establish where exactly nerves have been damaged and to assess whether I could have a bit more radiotherapy.

It was good to be reminded of how ‘lucky’ I have been that contrary to expectation the cancer has spread much more slowly than is usually the case for triple negatives. Other days of course I don’t feel lucky..

As we left he said: ‘Sometimes the wisest thing is to do nothing’…which is how my thinking has been since March…though its hard, very hard.

* In fact I have just read a report that Pfizer have stopped a breast cancer trial of sutent early as results were showing no progression benefits. cancer