Ascites means the end?

I've been posting about my ascites struggle that started at the beginning of the summer. I had a cath put in last week and have gotten a lot weaker. Today I met with my oncologist for first time in 2 weeks. He doesn't want to change the chemo (taxol weekly). He says I wouldn't survive any other chemo long enough for it to work. I asked about avastin and he is going to see if he can get insurance to cover. But he said chances of either taxol or avastin working were slim and with the onset of my ascites, I had reached disease progression that basically didn't have many options . I've seen postings on this site that specifically say that ascites in ovarian cancer does not mean the end. Is that just true in original dx? This is my 2nd recurrence but been fighting this second for over a year without success. Had liver rfa, doxil and now taxol fighting this particular recurrence.

Can anyone who has had ascites part of their recurrence survive it? What did you do?

Thanks!
JoAnne
Texas

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33 replies. Join the discussion

acosta, honestly, I've read at several medical school sites that with ovarian cancer, ascites alone doesn't mean it's end-stage. But your doctor would know more about just what the tumors are doing in addition to causing the ascites. And the large volume is a big concern. Can he explain more? Have you thought about getting a second opinion? I'm really sorry you've gotten such grim news.

I've had ascites for about four years, but it's moderate. Naturally, I keep reading those articles over and over again.

Avastin is supposed to do well at stopping ascites in many cases. It hasn't dried mine up at all, but it does seem to have stabilized it. I hope your insurance will at least let you try it.

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I think it is better to act quickly to stabilize ascites. If you can, please do not wait for the insurance and start avastin. They may later agree to pay you back what you already paid in advance yourself.

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Avastin is extremely expensive and it is criminal that the cost of a drug can prevent our having access to it.

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You and I sound like we are in similar places. But my gyn/onc isn't talking end of the road type of things. He told me just yesterday that if the taxol/avastin combo manages to get me back into remission, then I would stay on avastin. such wonderful words to hear, possible remission! I have been battling this recurrence for nine months. as for the ascites, the taxol is working s-l-o-w-l-y to remove it. my physician has never indicated that it is a sign of end stage. Like I said, he was talking remission, even with the ascites. So hang in there, don't be too worried!

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I have never had ascites but don't understand why it would be "the end". Maybe you should consult another doctor just for your own peace of mind.

Take care, hon.
I wish you the best

-Kate

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If your insurance doesn't cover Avastin please check into this site....http://www.genentechaccesssolutions.com/portal/site/AS/menuitem.7ef3b8542d7 c63460313edacd79c23a0/?vgnextoid=73b469cc87727210VgnVCM1000007dc9320aRCRD
The manufacturer has a program to assist uninsured or patients that have insurance but their insurance company won't cover it. Adding Avastin is worth a try and hopefully your insurance will cover it for you. Stay strong and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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JoAnne,
Treatment seems to get more and more complicated. I hope there is something on the horizon that will deal with your ascites, improve your strength, and shrink those lingering tumors. This is indeed grim news, but we all have read on posts that sisters do find successes that will improve your quality of life. I pray for your comfort and healing.
Mary Lou

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Funnily enough I was given a very similar message today. Ascites is nasty mine keeps building up within a week, just drained 6 litres today. My nurse was not optimistic, oncologist not said anything. But I hate being around negative people I've three young girls and plan to keep fighting. If they ar going to be negative I'll move somewhere that isn't. People do get rid of ascites so don't give up I won't!!

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noticed you are in Austin, are you being treated there. You are not that far from MD Anderson in Houston if you need a second opinion. My friends that go there love their oncologists. I go to Baylor that is just down the street from MD Anderson. Have a wonderful onc that is also my surgeon and always positive named Dr Conception Diaz-Arrastia.

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Please do not give up the fight. I know it just seems too much at times, heck most times. I do not have any advice for you, but will pray for you. God Bless.

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Thank you all! I don't plan on giving up. I will try avastin even if we have to dig into our retirement to do it - what good is retirement for me if I don't survive this? I wish my doctor wasn't so "hopeless" but my family and I will carry the hope for all of us. I do have a request to md Anderson for an appt. I'm weak right now and the prospect of maneuvering such a big place and even making the short trip make me tired but I'll do what I have to do! Thank you, teal sisters for the support!

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That's good, DON'T give up. The Avastin helped my ascites a lot. I had it drained at the onset, and that helped as well, it like you it did come back. Then I started chemo, that helped some but not enough so my gyn/onc added the avastin. Worked great! My advice is to keep fighting for it! Good luck, and God bless.

cathy

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So sorry for what you are going through. I have a friend who has had several episodes of ascites fluid over the years but she bounces back. One gyn/onc told me that IP Cisplatinum could be effective in getting rid of ascites fluid. That involves surgery to put in an IP port and it is not an easy treatment but you might want to ask about it. If you want to get in touch with my friend who has had repeated bouts with ascites but is doing well now, ask to be my friend and I can put you in touch with her.

Hope things get better soon.
Helen

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Hello JoAnn,
We discussed about our ascites before. My oncologist never seemed to be concern about my ascites. Only thing she said was that the right chemo will get rid of it and it seems she is right. I used to drain it weekly basis (3liters) but I haven’t need to anymore after the third chemo. I have small particles of cancer cells on my bowel and liver so Avastin will not be my option if doxil doesn't work. I read article about Avastin can cause bowel perforation. I am sure your doctor will find right chemo that will get rid of your ascites. I wish you the very best.
Shin

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JoAnne

Sometimes standard ovarian chemotherapy can lead to ascites developing or lingering, if it is not effective. Switching to a more effective chemotherapy can keep ascites under control and eliminate them. If you don't get control of the ascites in the absominal cavity, it could seed in distant sites. Without testing it first, you just may be resistant to Taxol. Your ascites could be assayed (if copious amounts of malignant cells are present) to find an effective agent. I assume you have a diagnosis from blood tests that your ascites are malignant? They could be from other causes.

Greg

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Greg,

The ascites is malignant but I don't think an assay has been done - at least, not that I've been made aware of - my doctor wants to continue with taxol since I've already got some built up in my system. He said changing chemos right now would not work as he didn't think I'd survive long enough to see if it would work.

JoAnne

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JoAnne,

I don't have the medical experiences of some but ascites alone does not mean that you should quit. I am so glad that you are not giving up. NEVER give up! Always remember that you are unique and that you should never give up. Listen to these other lovely ladies and their experiences. Fight like the warrior you are.

Bob

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A thought...mention abraxane to your onc. It is a taxane which has shown good results even for women who have failed taxol . It also synergizes with avastin (look these up in pubmed). Could also try prozac for further synergism.

An assay is prob a very good idea...should be one where you get results back in a week or so (check with the lab). If necessary, switch oncs.

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JoAnne,

For me personally, I had ascites both with my original diagnosis in March of 2006 (I looked like I was eight months pregnant) and with my recurrence in January of this year.

I just viewed my PET scans side by side yesterday from February, when the tumor was found to June 28, after my last chemo and it was confirmed that the tumor and ascites were gone...I am officially in remission!

So I guess my thought on the subject is that the ascites is just another part of the disease that has to be monitored and controlled with whatever treatment is deemed necessary. I know many women on this site have had multiple instances of ascites build up and had it drained with no other problems cropping up. Like anything, just stay on top of it.

Stay strong!

Angel

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I don't have ascites, but I have fluid in my brain witch shows some cancer cells. I have had some pretty negative responces from some of the doctors also. I was at my primary Dr. last week. She was just assigned to me because my regular Dr went into research. Well all she could talk about was that my high blood pressure didn't matter because my headaches were only going to get worse towards the end and pain meds and hospice are what I should be looking at. the she gave a perscription for high blood pressure anyway. This freaked my Husband out. We then saw my regular onc who was amazed at what she did. He said not to get the perscrition that she had written, and as far as he was concerned my tests were looking good and CA had slowed down. I was stable. His job is to get me well and not quoted statistics. Get a second opinion. We call the office of my primary and changed Drs. No questions asked, they were glad to. Stay away from Negative thinking and fight on. I sure plan to. Peggy

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