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"To chemo or not to chemo?"

About: Royal Perth Hospital

(as the patient),

I have been a patient at the Royal Perth Hospital for some time now. I have been very well looked after and they are very good to me.

I was first diagnosed with colon cancer, after which I was operated on to have the cancer removed. I have recovered  well from my surgery, but the cancer has since moved to my liver and also partially my diaphragm. I have now had chemo 13 times. However, after my last chemo treatment I became very sick with a heavy cold. Because the chemo kills off red and white blood cells, I have been very weak and my cold has been very hard to get rid of. I have had blood tests that have shown I am anaemic and the doctor put me on iron supplements. I feel better from taking the iron.

I saw the liver doctor while I was sick with the heavy cold and he believes that I should stop the chemotherapy treatment. The chemo makes me feel very sick and I lose my appetite. I really didn't think I could make it through my 14th chemo treatment.

I have since seen my Oncologist and he disagrees with my liver doctor (who sent my Oncologist a letter). My Oncologist believes that I should continue with my chemo treatment. A CT scan has shown that the cancer has shrunk a bit. 

When I'm not on chemo I feel well and I eat well, but when I'm on chemo I feel very weak, sick and lose my appetite. I don't know what I should do. I'm not sure which doctor's advice I should follow. Can anyone help me please?

Responses

Response from Lesley Bennett, Acting Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear Not sure what to do,

Thank you for your positive comments about your care at Royal Perth Hospital. I’m sorry that you were unwell after your last chemotherapy treatment and also that you are feeling unsure about what is best for you next. I understand that in complicated cases like yours there can sometimes be disagreements between doctors but we try to avoid that as much as possible ensuring that our senior doctors involved in a single patient’s care discuss cases together. This can either occur informally, or part of a structured meeting with several health professionals present including radiologists, oncologists, pathologists, nurses and physicians. An important part of this conversation is making sure you are informed of the risks and side effects of the treatment as well as the potential benefits so you can decide what is best for you. I am not sure if this discussion has happened in your case and I am happy to pursue this for you if it would help, in which please get in touch with me directly on 9224 3261.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Dr Lesley Bennett

Director of Clinical Service

Royal Perth Bentley Group

  • Not sure what to do thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} other {{helpful-1 == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} so too

Update posted by Not sure what to do (the patient)

I feel happy and satisfied with the prompt response from the Doctor and it is very helpful indeed.

Thanks so much!

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