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Q: Rare Cancer ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Rare Cancer
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: clawrence-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 05 Jan 2005 04:48 PST
Expires: 04 Feb 2005 04:48 PST
Question ID: 452275


I have now seen my mothers specialist:-

The condition is called 

Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma.
This has been picked up following raised levels of ca125 marker in her blood.
CT scans show 4 or 5 stud sized tumours in her peritoneal cavity.

The doctors are suggesting either "Watchful Waiting" or chemo with a
drug called carboplatin.  They seem to be more in favour of the chemo
now as mom is active and health at the moment.

They are vague about how quickly this condition advances, and feel
that she may have a couple of months of good health before feeling ill

It would be helpful, to learn more about this condition, typical life
expectantancy with and without treatment and how effective carboplatin
is.  Also if there other therapies which I should be aware of.  The
doctors felt surgery / radiotherapy were not appropriate and the more
experimental treatments not an option (at the moment).


Subject: Re: Rare Cancer
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 05 Jan 2005 16:45 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

First, please allow me to send you a mental hug. My mother-in-law,
whom I love a lot, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer some years ago.
As you?ll read below, this cancer is related to the cancer your mother
was diagnosed with. So I have some idea what you?re going through.
(Take heart; four years later, my mom-in-law has no sign of cancer
anywhere in her body, even though doctors presumed she'd be dealing
with cancer again by now.)

The cancer your mother was diagnosed with, primary peritoneal
carcinoma, or extraovarian primary peritoneal carcinoma (EOPPC), is a
cancer of the abdominal lining (the peritoneum), and is often
described as ?like ovarian cancer, but not in the ovaries.? In fact,
the scientific world is uncertain whether or not EOPPC is exactly the
same type of cancer as ovarian cancer...or just related somehow.

How is it similar? In a microscope, it looks the same as the most
common form of ovarian cancer (called epithelial ovarian cancer), and
it has the same symptoms. It also spreads in a similar fashion, and is
treated the same way as ovarian cancer. In addition, there is probably
a genetic link?at least for some women.

It actually makes sense that EOPPC has so much in common with ovarian
cancer, since the peritoneum and the surface of women?s ovaries come
from the same tissue when we?re forming in our mother?s womb.

Nonetheless, this is a recently recognized cancer, so there?s not a
lot of information out there about it, even in scientific circles.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of both ovarian cancer and EOPPC are
vague. The most common symptoms include: abdominal pain or bloating,
nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and a change in bowel habits. EOPPC may
also cause an elevation in the amount of CA-125 in the blood. To see a
more complete list of symptoms, please check out ?Symptoms? at Cancer
Research UK:

The spread of EOPPC ?tends to [be] along the surfaces of the pelvis
and abdomen.?  (?What is Ovarian Cancer?? American Cancer Society:
) Like ovarian cancer, it can spread to other parts of the body, if
not treated.

Treatment is like that for ovarian cancer. Surgery is usually given to
healthy women, in an attempt to remove as much of the cancer as
possible. Chemo should follow. Carboplatin appears to be common?and
preferred--treatment for EOPPC. As a scientific paper at eMedicine
states, ?Carboplatin or cisplatin therapy, in combination with
paclitaxel, is associated with a high response rate and improvement of
median survival.? (?Peritoneal Cancer,? eMedicine: ) The same article contains
the following warnings about carboplatin: Bone marrow should be
monitored; high doses are to be avoided if possible; increased risk of
allergic reactions, ?if previously exposed to platinum therapy;
hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, nausea,
vomiting, stomatitis, myelosuppression, asthenia, alopecia, diarrhea,
anorexia, peripheral neuropathy, and ototoxicity may occur; symptoms
of overdosage include bone marrow suppression and hepatic toxicity.?
Often, carboplatin is combined with paclitaxel, which some studies
shows provides superior results (for example ?Primary peritoneal clear
cell carcinoma: Excellent results
from paclitaxel and carboplatin combination chemotherapy? )

Unless your mother?s case is either very severe (from your
description, this doesn?t seem to be so), going without treatment
doesn?t appear to be a wise option. Sometimes, if what?s thought to be
mere cysts are found, physicians wait two months (or two menstrual
cycles) to see if they go away on their own; if they don?t, then
treatment is given. Typically, ?[with] a persistently elevated CA 125,
there may be a chance that the cancer has begun to become active,
regardless of the results of your diagnostic imaging,? and therefore
treatment is suggested. (??Elevated CA125 Level and Tamoxifen,?

As for your mother?s prognosis...?Information on prognosis is limited
since it is a newly recognized type of cancer, but early studies
suggest that prognosis is similar to ovarian cancer.? (?What is
Ovarian Cancer?? American Cancer Society:
) This means that prognosis depends largely upon what stage the cancer
is at. For example, with Stage 1 ovarian cancer, approximately nine
out of ten women will be alive another five years if they receive
treatment. For Stage 2, about seven out of ten will be alive another
five years, for Stage 3, between two to seven out of ten will be alive
in five years, and for Stage 4, between five and fourteen percent will
live at least another five years. (?Statistics and prognosis,? Cancer
Research UK: )

Another source puts it this way: ?The 5-year survival rate for all
stages is only 35% to 38%. If, however, diagnosis is made early in the
disease, 5-year survival rates can reach 90% to 98%.? (?Ovarian Cancer
Prognosis,? All Refer: )

I hope this provides you with the information you need to speak with
your mother?s physcians. If anything is unclear, however, please don?t
hesitate to request a clarification before rating your answer.

Kind regards,

"Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma"
carboplatin "Primary peritoneal carcinoma"
"ovarian cancer" ?without treatment?
clawrence-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Very helpful. We appreciate it.


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