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Are Chemo Side Effects Cumulative?

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Category: TNBC Forums
Forum Name: Let's Talk About Chemotherapy
Forum Description: A place to discuss Chemotherapy
Printed Date: Jul 09 2020 at 1:11pm
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Topic: Are Chemo Side Effects Cumulative?
Posted By: Asovey
Subject: Are Chemo Side Effects Cumulative?
Date Posted: Jan 16 2018 at 1:26pm
Hi Everyone:  Time to call on all your expertise again!

I am getting ready to have my second A/C infusion on Friday.  The first one on January 5th went well and side effects were minimal - thanks to medications - and manageable.  I have been told that side effects are cumulative - but HOW cumulative?  This has me scared.  Will they increase the pre-meds because this is #2 infusion?


Posted By: 123Donna
Date Posted: Jan 17 2018 at 7:56am

I didn't notice chemo was cumulative.  It could be with something like Taxol/Taxotere where neuropathy side effects may get worse.

DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Jan 17 2018 at 6:30pm
Thanks Donna!  I sure hope that is true!


Posted By: Kellyless
Date Posted: Jan 18 2018 at 11:13am
Anemia will kick in at some point and you may feel that.  A woman ahead of me in treatment warned me, she said that you start feeling extra tired, then one day you'll do some normal exertion at home and your heart will pound and you'll feel a bit out of breath - she thought she was having a heart attack.  Sure enough, after a few treatments I gathered laundry room to room, walked across the house and BAM - my heart pounded, I felt a bit breathless.  Test confirmed I'd hit anemic.  There's no shot for red blood cells (there was for a time, but then they found out it caused cancer), like the Neulasta for white cells.  Pill form iron doesn't work I was told, you need to eat all the iron rich foods you can.  I got so anemic this last time I was eating steak for breakfast when I could stomach it.  If anemia gets too bad they'll have you go to the hospital for a blood transfusion - ick.
I iced my hands and feet both times I did Taxol and I have less neuropathy than anyone I've met that did NOT do ice.  Definitely worth it, since it can be permanent!

IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/16 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Jan 18 2018 at 12:38pm
Thanks for this info Kelly. I will be on watch for anemia. So far red blood cell count is OK. It has gone down some, but not much. How exactly did you ice your hands and feet? I asked about that when I got my last chemo and the nurses had not heard of it.

Thanks - Ann

Posted By: ClistaR
Date Posted: Jan 25 2018 at 2:02am
I didn't notice the AC side effects being cumulative, I felt tired and nauseated the entire time. With the taxol I didn't notice any neuropathy until about half way through and 2 weeks out of my last infusion it is still significant. 

I used cold mitts and booties that the facility provided during the taxol infusions. Not sure if it helped or not but figured it was worth a try.

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Jan 25 2018 at 8:44am
Thanks for your response Clista. Just had my second AC infusion and I donít think it is any worse than the first one. Really, I have been very lucky. I am tired with occasional nausea. I know I am lucky! Hope it s that way.

Of course, hair is almost gone, but I expected that. I will start Taxol and Carboplatin at the beginning of March. I asked about the mits and booties and the infusion nurses looked at me like I was from Mars. I am going to,see if they will get them. I know they have the cold caps.

Congratulations on completing chemo! Canít wait till I am at that spot!


Posted By: Warriorkat
Date Posted: Mar 12 2018 at 1:30pm
Iíll have my 4th A-C this Friday. I have noticed increased heartburn and increased loss of appetite each time. It just lasts a day or two longer each treatment but by the start of week two Iím much better. A bit more tiredness too but not severe. So far I havenít had nausea and though I took the premeds and steroids I did not take any additional Zofran and was fine. It just constipated me so I did without. It seems we all have different experiences. I did start a pre/probiotic which I think helps.

Posted By: Kellyless
Date Posted: Mar 14 2018 at 9:35am
Try papaya enzyme tablets for the heartburn, you can get them at the health food store or online.  They taste pleasant, you can chomp as many as you like - worked better than Tums or Rolaids for me and the Drs were all for it.

Congrats on getting thru - WHOOP! 

IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/16 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!

Posted By: Warriorkat
Date Posted: Mar 14 2018 at 9:37am
I will try that. Thanks!

Posted By: gordon15
Date Posted: Mar 15 2018 at 10:23pm
My wife , since shes had quite a disruption in digestion, in the last many years, takes these:

(ENZYMES)" rel="nofollow -†††" rel="nofollow -††† ;

She takes "FoodScience of Vermont Superior Enzymes " when eating beef/meat (Amazon) too

(FIBER SUPPLEMENTS) (for constipation)" rel="nofollow -
(unsweetned) powder

also: (sweetened )orange flavor/ they might have artif sweetened)powder:

we buy this at RiteAid, it's called " Multihealth fiber suppliment psyllium husk 3.4gm" it's their own brand orange flavor, sweetened, it only takes a Tablespoon a day or less(not Metamucal brand name)

wife: IDC/Lobular Stage2B 2008 lumpectomy/TAC+rads
TNBC Stage 3A/w/metaplastic/squamous Nov2015 Carboplatin-Gemzar chemo/masectomy Taxolchemo+rads 4-16
PET scan stable 9-2016/ 1-2017

Posted By: Judy15ws
Date Posted: Jul 01 2018 at 8:26am
Hello all.
I am on taxol-carbo, once a week for 12 weeks. Everything went well until my neutrophils reached a danger level after the 6th IV, and I was not allowed to have my usual weekly treatment. I was told to "rest" for 5 days and come back to the hospital to do a blood count. Miraculously, my neutrophils had made it to the normal range, and I could have a treatment, but I spoke to my oncologist about this, and he recommended Neupogen. The Neupogen did the trick for my while cells, but my hemoglobin etc. continued to fall. I was always on the low end of the scale for all measures of anemia, but now, before my 8th out of 12 treatments, I feel so dizzy and weak that it is scary. I just did a blood count this morning and am waiting for the results, which I am sure are not great. Then I will call my oncologist to hear my options about tomorrow. On the one hand, I really want to finish with chemo and try to get back to a semblance of normalcy, but on the other hand, I feel so bad now that I can't imagine what another treatment will do to me. If I try to walk more than 80 or 90 yards, I start panting, and I'm so dizzy that I'm in bed most of the time. The first 5 treatments went quite well, and everyone was practically patting my back. Now I understand why. My two cents are that the effects of taxol-carbo are cumulative.
That was me venting. G-d bless everyone for giving me this opportunity to share. And may everyone have a complete cure! 
Take care.

Posted By: MikeW
Date Posted: Jul 01 2018 at 7:53pm
Over the last 5 years, my wife has gone through all the estrogen blockers as well as AC and Xeloda. 16 months ago her estrogen pos BC turned TNBC with numerous spinal mets. She's going to be on Halaven soon after her port is put in.

As to side effects being cumulative. Some are. I'd also like to add some do the opposite. The first few doses really hit her hard then, I guess your body gets used to it and you eventually build up a tolerance. Not a real answer but chemo works differently for each person.

Posted By: Kellyless
Date Posted: Jul 02 2018 at 10:03am
That's a great description of what the extreme anemia feels like during chemo!! I've met women that went to the ER when the anemia kicks in because they think they're having a heart attack or stroke it's so awful. Both times I had this, the last time I was doing the same treatment you are. Somehow my red count stayed barely good enough to keep doing the treatment going tho and I made it too the end. The exhaustion you feel is very real and normal. Mine bounced back quite quickly both times tho, hang in there!
I did way ramp up my intake of iron rich foods. I ate steak for breakfast when I could stomach it. Sooo much cooked and raw spinach that I avoided it for a while after chemo ended. Only food borne iron will help, pill form won't cut it.
This time I also started ingesting weed for my tummy troubles and lack of appetite. First smoking then edibles and it helped enormously. I'd not done that since 1979!! Ridiculous that all doctors cannot prescribe it.

IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/16 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Jul 02 2018 at 3:53pm
Over the course of my Taxol/Carbo I had three red blood cell transfusions and one platelets transfusion. I also had nupogen (Granix) weekly. I am surprised you have not been offered the transfusion. They worked great!

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