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How long do chemo drugs remain in system after final treatment?

6 answers | Last updated: Apr 07, 2015
Voglee asked...

I have just finished 6 sessions of chemo (taxol + carbo/platin) and would like to do an alternative treatment. How long are those 2 chemo drugs in my system, so I don't interfere with their effect?


Caring.com User - Harvey Gilbert, M.D.
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Harvey Gilbert, MD, is a radiation oncologist with more than 35 years of professional experience in the medical field, working with cancer patients. He...
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Harvey Gilbert, M.D. answered...

How long are chemo drugs in the body after the final treatment varies. Most drugs are present in the body for a few hours to days. The effects of the drugs on the cells of the body can last a long time, but the drugs themselves are around for a much shorter period of time.


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Oh dear, it is not the chemo therapy. It is the after effects! Three months on Xeloda and I got deep vein thrombosis. Now battling with congestive heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver resulting in my being continually tired.


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stitchymom answered...

Hi I still have numbness in my hands and feet from the Taxol. I have been off it for a year. To be fair, I had 12 treatments with Taxol. A friend of mine who had 6 treatments no longer has the numbness problem. It is my belief that some effects can be close to permanent, while others wane. I think that every individual reacts differently.


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durr3 answered...

My husband has gone thru 12 treatments and in the first several started having the neuropathy of the hands and feet..the dr. right away told him to start taking B12..if caught in time this helps tremendously..and in just a few short weeks it has disappeared..So wanted to share with all of you..


birdnight answered...

Hello, I had last chemo treatment 6/17/10 ..Still suffering after effects.. somwhat..nerve damage in thumbs and forefingers, extreme fatigue from time to time.No long term stamina and of course still hairloss..total 8 chemos consisiting of carboplatin/taxol..Hope to improve eventually..Just have to be patient TG everyday for surviving


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LVKDRA answered...

I had to take 6 cycles of the same chemo for Ovarian Cancer in 2007. I still have some neuropathy in the balls of the feet. For me, from what I understood when I had each cycle: the longer lasting effects were cumulative (they became more so with each cycle) The shorter term effects seemed to be only the worse at the beginning. Also it seemed to me that the worse effects were in the first 14 days of the infusion of each chemo. The next 7 days the body felt better, less toxic feeling and under less of an attack. Then I would have the next treatment. So in general by the time two weeks had passed most of the previous treatment had left the body. However it took several months for hair to grow back. And of course it took a long time for my fingernails to look and feel normal again. My last chemo was two days before Thanksgiving Day in Nov '07 but it took till Christmas for me to really enjoy food again. By April '08 I needed a haircut. I did use B vitamins daily, a 5000mcg Biotin, 200mg CoQ-10, and an herb known for helping nails and hair, Horsetail Shavegrass. They seemed to help. The CoQ-10 was to help with energy and to help protect the muscles and heart tissue.
Lois D.