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Decision between weekly 1/2 dose taxol and every two weeks
BellaBlue
8 Posts

My oncologist is giving me the choice between taxol every two weeks for 8 weks and a half dose every week for 12 weeks Does anyone have any advice on this? I’ m wondering if every week is too much and if I would need the extra week to recover?

11 Replies
ACH2015
2050 Posts

@BellaBlue

Whether you chose the full dose or the half dose, the side effects are cumulative and can become more challenging after every round of the chemotherapy.

Below is a link from the Canadian Cancer Society that talks about chemotherapy in general terms that may assist you.

https://action.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/resources/publications/chemotherapy-and-other-drug-therapies

This link talks specifically about taxol itself.

https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/druglist/taxol

I was treated with carbo - taxol myself cancer back in 2016. My cancer is / was Unknown Primary Cancer - not breast. It was needed to kill / shrink the tumors in the inguinal (groin) region before surgery and hopefully stop the cancers spread. Taxol is used to treat many types of cancer. Sometimes before, after or instead of surgery. All depends on the treatment plan and path.

The effects as I said are cumulative and will for the most part dissipate and resolve after the last round of the drug(s).

The pros and cons of your choice can be weighed in the amount of time you decide to take the treatment. I did not have an option - it was once every three weeks and I had 6 rounds of the treatment. But we are all different. We are all unique and will deal with the drugs differently and with different degrees of side effects and recovery.

Hope this helps.

ACH2015

S2020
348 Posts

Hi BellaBlue‍,

I do not know if the information at the following link is applicable to your type/stage of cancer, but it may be helpful in choosing one treatment plan or the other.

https://www.oncozine.com/weekly-low-dose-paclitaxel-shows-similar-efficacy-with-fewer-side-effects-than-standard-biweekly-paclitaxel-for-early-stage-breast-cancer/amp/

Have you been given a start date for the chemo? Best wishes to you with the treatments.

Lala74
32 Posts
Hi BellaBlue‍ i just finished my chemo treatment in May of this year. I was initially doing 4 double dose treatments of Taxol every 2 weeks. After my first chemo I developed flushing on my chest and face and then a red itchy rash over majority of my body. A steady course of antihistamines did nothing to improve the rash. It got to the point where my oncologist sent me to Emerg to get blood work done. The Emerg Dt said to me that I probably shouldn't have that chemo again. When I went back for my next treatment my oncologist and I decided to try the Taxol at single dose on a weekly basis. This extended my treatment another month or so but thankfully I didn't have any itchy rash to contend with. I found weekly Taxol very tolerable. As much as I would have liked to have finished earlier I'm glad i was able to get the full course of chemo. Good luck and keep us posted
Lkitch
7 Posts
This is a very personal choice. My choice was to do the 12 weekly infusions as my treatment. I pushed to complete 7 of 12 of the sessions and some side effects (that I could not be sure were related to the taxol) lead to my decision to stop at that point. My Oncologist did warn me before my decision was made, that there was not as much scientific DATA around the 12 week option. I do not regret my decision, but everyone is different and I had my own reasons and situation to concider before deciding.
Mammabear
164 Posts

I did taxol every 3 weeks with cancer 1.0 and weekly with 2.0. side effects are different due to the dose and frequency. Having the recovery week is nice because you just start feeling better and they hit you up again with more drugs. Keep in mind this is MY experience and EVERYONE experiences side effects differently. Weekly had way more fatigue. With every 3 weeks had way more joint pain. Good or bad… hard to say. I would vote to do more frequently and finish faster - just get it done.

Essjay
1536 Posts

@BellaBlue I had dose dense Taxol for breast cancer - it’s a triple dose every 2 weeks. I’d had another chemo dose dense before I switched and I was pretty fatigued from that, but I found Taxol easier. I wasn’t given the choice to have a third of the dose every week, but I understand this is the standard protocol in USA. A FB group I’m on, the women on weekly taxol seem to do very well. Most are working and many are continuing exercise programs which is good to see.

One thing I learned from my treatment. I had some issues with neuropathy after the first dose, so my dose was reduced, and it was reduced further before my last dose. i was worried about this, but learned that they calculate the dose expecting you not to complete or having to reduce. The expectation is that you will tolerate 70% of the treatment. This means if you did the weekly, they would want you do do at least eight sessions at full dose, or they could reduce the dose earlier in your treatments. sharing in case this knowledge is useful!

Good luck with your treatment xx

BellaBlue
8 Posts

@ACH2015 Thank you for this information, very helpful

BellaBlue
8 Posts

Thank you everyone, I just finished 4 rounds of dose dense doxorubicin. I want this all to be done as quickly as possible but at the same time I don't think I can take anymore side effects. I am curious as to whether the weekly dose gives you enough time to recuperate or if it ends up being 3 months of feeling absolutely horrible. I had one dose of my chemo delayed by a week because me neutrophils were too low and it was like heaven to have a break.

ACH2015
2050 Posts

Hi @BellaBlue

You are most welcome. I am glad my post helped you.

I want to quote and repeat what @Essjay said in her post:

“One thing I learned from my treatment. I had some issues with neuropathy after the first dose, so my dose was reduced, and it was reduced further before my last dose. i was worried about this, but learned that they calculate the dose expecting you not to complete or having to reduce. The expectation is that you will tolerate 70% of the treatment. This means if you did the weekly, they would want you do do at least eight sessions at full dose, or they could reduce the dose earlier in your treatments. sharing in case this knowledge is useful!”

And remember - you are your best judge of what and how much you are able to tolerate. The recovery period becomes can become more challenging with each round. What kept me going through the last treatments was to think if I feel this bad - this has to be killing that cancer. We each have our own ways to cope and use our minds toward enduring treatments that challenge us. Trust your instincts and write down and discuss any issues you encounter with your oncologist. I found mine to be very receptive and wanting to know about any issues asap toward keeping the treatment path flowing as best it could.

Keep well

ACH2015

Littlebeth
73 Posts
Hi BellaBlue‍ - I had dose dense AC then had to switch to 12 weeks of Taxol because I developed Hand-Foot Syndrome. For me, the weekly Taxol was much easier to tolerate. I was able to go out for visits in the park, walks and even shopping a couple of times (limited only by COVID). I had a good appetite and no nausea. It was a much faster infusion time than dose dense Taxol and normally doesn’t require the Lapelga shots to boost your blood count, so I didn’t have to deal with those side effects. I actually had a lot of energy on the first two days because of the steroids they give you, although they also caused some difficulty sleeping. There were still side effects to deal with, but I never had any of those “down and out” days that I had on AC.

At first, I was very disappointed at the thought of 4 more weeks of treatment, but once it started I was very happy with the decision. At one point, I did have a problem with neutropenia, which my oncologist said was unusual for Taxol. As others have stated, everyone reacts differently and you have to make your own decisions. But if I had to make this one again, I would choose the 12 weeks.
DJC001
8 Posts

Our experience for my wife with weekly Taxol is quite positive after the first cycle of 3 weeks on, one week off. The oncologist says that will be repeated for 5+ cycle times. My wife has stage 4 breast cancer. She has not had any major issues with this first cycle, but as someone else pointed out this is cumulative so it's still early days.

The first time around for breast cancer was 17 years ago, and Taxol was used in larger doses every 3 to 4 weeks. That caused significant neuropathy, and she was very fatiqued for days after each treatment. That was apparently quite common.

Hope this helps. At this point we would choose the weekly, smaller doses.

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