It was inevitable! My latest CT Scan gave an indication that the “honeymoon” which my “magic pill” has provided may be coming to a close. Although my first and largest tumor remained shrunken, there were several other nodules which appeared to have grown slightly. Not to panic! The growth was very minimal and might be explained simply by the margin for error involved in a typical CT Scan.
For instance, since a CT Scan is a series of X-ray slices of an object, the exact location of the slice relative to the actual size of the nodule can vary. Suppose that the first scan of a spot was not the full diameter but slightly off center. If the next scan is directly at the middle of the nodule then the spot will be shown to have grown (even though it has actually stayed the same). Because the growth was so tiny, we can’t be sure, at this time, that there actually was growth, so we have to wait until we get more confirmation to decide if the pill is still effective.
This puts me in another limbo situation. The next CT Scan, which won’t be until April (since we will be in Florida for 3 months) will give us a better idea. If there is continued growth in the two (2) nodules then, or if there is growth in other tumors, then, and only then, we can conclude that the Tarceva has stopped working.
Because I am still asymptomatic, my physician and I are making the assumption that the pills are still working and we should continue with the current treatment. It is also interesting that I have been on the Tarceva for just a year. The average time for this pill’s typical effectiveness has been determined to be 12-15 months. So my love affair with my “magic pill” may be ending soon….
It’s reassuring to know that Afatinib (Gilotrif), a Tarceva-like pill recently approved by the FDA in July, is waiting in the wings.