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Immunotherapy or chemo

Hi everyone,
I’m looking for some advice/input. My mom was just diagnosed with stage 2 muscle invasive bladder cancer. She had stage 3 breast cancer 4 years ago and was doing great. She will be having a RC but was offered chemo (her kidneys are not 100% from previous chemo) OR she could do a trial of immunotherapy.

We are so confused and worried about making the wrong decision. If anyone has any advice, I would appreciate it so much!

  1. Hi . Glad you found us and thanks for sharing. Sorry about your mother's diagnosis.

    The treatment process can be a bit different and is definitely an individual choice. People have had success with both choices.

    Do you know what type of chemo they would use? That would have a bearing on the info I give you about that.

    Here is some information on immunotherapy: https://bladdercancer.net/treatment/immunotherapy.

    I personally experienced having a RC followed by DD-MVAC afterward. I had my surgery 4.5 years ago and have been cancer-free since. Many bladder cancer survivors experience kidney problems and kidneys not functioning at 100% and I was no exception. It happens because of fighting the cancer in close proximity, but in my case, it was complicated by a tumor partially blocking a kidney from draining appropriately. I still had the chemo and am doing alright now. Kidneys, especially the one that had more issues, are still not 100%, but I'm healthy enough to live my life with good quality and I'm hoping to be around another 40 years or so! (I was diagnosed at 40.)

    Let me know if you have more questions. ~Liz, Moderator


    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so happy you are doing well! She was offered Cisplatin and Gemzar or a trial study option of Pembrolizumab

    2. you're welcome. I did not find a lot of information about the combination of cisplatin & gemzar, I believe it is a new combination being used for treatment. Cisplatin was part of the cocktail I received and it is QUITE potent and has a lot of potential side effects. For me, it was the drug that caused me the most grief. Pembrolizumab is the industry name for Keytruda. I have heard mixed reviews on the experiences with that though it seems to be fairly successful. Here is a colleague's experience about that: https://bladdercancer.net/living/keytruda-experience-side-effects

      If you all haven't already decided on which treatment to do, I strongly suggest discussing with the urologist & oncologist about the pros and cons of both before deciding on the treatment if you haven't already done so. ~Liz, Moderator

  2. - We are not able to provide medical advice but I think you are on the right track finding others who may have been part of a trial versus Chemo. We all react differently to medications, treatments etc. Did they provide specifics as to the immunotherapy? That information may be beneficial to others responding. My very best to your mother and you during this challenging time. Linda ( moderator, Bladdercancer.net team member)

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