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I would like to join Terry in expressing admiration for those choosing to participate in clinical trials. I, like you, had a GS8 tumor but chose the path of proton radiation. Docetaxel (trade name Taxotere) is normally given as a one hour infusion every 3 weeks for a specified period of time as a cancer treatment. As part of my treatment I was given the option of receiving a reduced strength docetaxel (about 15%--my oncologist called it "Taxotere Lite") each week for one hour for a 9 weeks during my radiation. I am telling you this because if your trial uses this reduced strength it is well tolerated. Yes, some of my hair fell out and I lost my appetite but it was nothing like the terrible side effects of full strength chemo...I was retired at the time, but had I still been working in my office job, I would have had the energy to continue working while receiving this form of chemo.
Not all trials require bravery. I am on a large international trial where I was randomized to 6 months or 2 years of LHRH with radiation (I was getting the radiation for recurrence anyways). I got the 6 months and I get the advantage that the cancer center will monitor me more closely than a patient not on a clinical trial.
Just returned from the 2nd opinion yesterday and spoke with 2 doctors about the trial. If I qualify the two arms are either you get the Chemo for 5 1/2 months then to the Robotic surgery or you go straight to the surgery. Because I believe that I should have it removed at my age, it could be a win win (bad choice of words) state the Oncologist.
The drug may not be really be a chemo drug. There are going to be a lot of trials using drugs like Aberaterone for early stage cancer that have only been tested on men with late stage metastatic disease. These type of drugs have mild side effects compared to the old line chemo drugs.
It does seem that you will be on a win/win trial. It was the same with me; I didn't know if, or for how long, I wanted hormone treatment with the radiation but I knew I needed the radiation salvage treatment so if I got hormone treatment thrown in all the better.
This is the trial that I copied and pasted. Let me know your thoughts please.
Surgery With or Without Docetaxel and Leuprolide or Goserelin in Treating Patients With High-Risk Localized Prostate Cancer
Official Title: Randomized Phase III Study of Neo-Adjuvant Docetaxel and Androgen Deprivation Prior to Radical Prostatectomy Versus Immediate Radical Prostatectomy in Patients With High-Risk, Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer
RATIONALE: Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as docetaxel, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Androgens can cause the growth of prostate cancer cells. Antihormone therapy, such as goserelin and leuprolide, may stop the adrenal glands from making androgens. Giving docetaxel and leuprolide or goserelin before surgery may make the tumor smaller and reduce the amount of normal tissue that needs to be removed. It is not yet known whether giving docetaxel and leuprolide or goserelin before surgery is more effective than surgery alone in treating patients with prostate cancer. PURPOSE: This randomized phase III trial is studying docetaxel and leuprolide or goserelin to see how well they work when given before surgery compared with surgery alone in treating patients with high-risk localized prostate cancer.