Are there Taxotere side effects?

39 answers | Last updated: Dec 03, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Are there long term Taxotere side effects, and what are they?


Expert Answers

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

Taxotere (brand name Taxol) has many of the same side effects of other chemo drugs, but some are better than others, some are worse. According to a survey of cancer patients, taxotere caused a lot of bone pain and muscle aches. Some say their arms and legs ache, while others say the pain is worst in the neck, back, and shoulders. Taxotere is also known for causing neuropathy, or nerve damage, which makes feet and hands feel tingly or numb. One more thing to watch out for with Taxol is hand-foot syndrome, in which the palms, soles, and fingertips become red and painful, and may even peel or develop sores. If hand-foot syndrome develops, you need to talk to your doctor about it, as the chemo dose may need to be lowered.

The good news is that taxotere seems to cause less nausea for many cancer patients than other chemo drugs, such as the A/C it often follows. Hair loss may also be less of a problem.

Side effects are very individual, and they also vary according to dosage. Anytime you're in pain or having a lot of discomfort during chemo, talk to your doctor about it. There are many medications and alternative treatments that can help with these symptoms.


Community Answers

Cvshah answered...

I am a breast cancer patient and completed my cycle of chemotherapy 2 months ago.I had total 6 cycles of chemotherapy and my last 3 were of taxotere. This drug is very harsh, i faced severe body ache during the cycles and i had tremendous loss of energy, i was not able to walk, had severe loose motions etc. But the worst thing this drug did to me was nerve damage in my legs, i have tremendous pain in my legs which increases by night i don't get sleep due to the same.My doc says it will continue for some more time. Life is like HELL now. Please think twice before taking TAXOTERE.


Sunnid007 answered...

I found your response helpful. My mother's oncologist seemeed surprised that she was able to walk into the hospital but had to be carried out. She had been taking taxotere and must have suffered every known side effect. She cannot walk, has new skin (the old peeled from inside out), lost finger/toe nails, had tingling in hands and feet, and is starting to lose her teeth. I wish we had done more research before she started this bout of chemo maybe the side effect could have been minimized after the first couple of dosages. Right now she is hopeful to get out of the bed and at least be able to sit up in a wheele chair. It has been 3 months since her last treatment and she can see some improvement to her skin but the nerve damage remains.


Lisa320 answered...

Ihad bilateral mastecomies in December 2008. At the end of January I began 4 rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan. I had excruciating bone pain and extreme fatigue. I never recovered my former energy. Now I have chronic kidney failure attributed to the chemotherapy. I feel maybe I escaped death from one disease to slowly die from the cure. I know side effects were part of the treatment, but I never expected to ontract such a serious, debilitating disease.


Br2204 answered...

I would like more information from women who had treatment with Taxotere and are experiencing joint pain. My pain in lower extremities started during chemotherapy in early 2010. The pain has continued, though it is now localized in both knees and hips. My knee pain can be excruciating, particularly with flexion and extension as with sitting, standing from a sitting position, and stair climbing. I recently heard of two women who have had total knee replacements several years after treatment with taxotere. Any information on this joint pain as a long term side effect from this drug?


A fellow caregiver answered...

I completed chemotherapy in August 2011 (breast cancer); I had 12 weekly treatments of Taxol and another four after that, different formula, three weeks apart. It was a total nightmare; the fatigue was excruciating. I still have neuropathy in toes, including balls of feet, and fingers. I also developed excruciating back pain that I attributed to spending so much time in bed--but now that I have read these responses, I suspect that may have been chemo-related. The back pain has subsided somewhat but pain, tingling, and occasional sharp pain runs down one leg and includes the knee on that leg. One of the most disturbing side effects was the complete ruination of my fingernails and toenails. The nails lifted up from the nail bed, and I somehow contracted a staph infection in my fingernails, so they were full of pus. I kept complaining about this to my oncologist, who did nothing. Finally, when the pus became unbearably stinky, he referred me to a dermatologist--which should have been done at the very outset of this problem, and I still have a major resentment over that. I also ended up in the hospital for almost a week with high fever, nausea, weakness, and was told I only had 1/3 of my kidney function. My oncologist ultimately decided I had the flu, which I still do not really believe. Now I am reading here that kidney disfunction may be a side effect. I am feeling fairly well now, and although I lost several nails, they finally are growing back--thanks only to the concerted efforts of the dermatologist to determine what was causing the infection; he sent nail and pus samples for lab identification and kept switching antibiotics until finally finding one that worked. In hindsight, I realize I was just not aggressive enough with my oncologist in insisting on something being done about all of these things. If I had it to do over again, I would have sought a second opinion at several stages of my treatment. And, incidentally, I was being treated at a world-renowned cancer center, which I think gave me a false sense of security. Speak up about these side effects and insist on getting help with them! I should add that now, almost five months after the last chemo treatment, then surgury, then radiation, I am finally feeling better, so the worst has passed. God bless everyone who has shared on this topic.


Kimmiec answered...

I took taxotere for 3 or 4 cycles, can't remember, following 3 or 4 cycles of epirubicin, 5-FU, and cytoxan, in the fall of 2008. I had radiation to the clavicle area and chest, and have been on Femara for 3 1/2 years. I had bone pain and flu-like symptoms, as well as chemo brain and nail loss while I was getting the taxotere. I also had peeling of my entire digestive tract from lip to rectum (sorry if that is too graphic), and my rectal bleeding was so bad that I had to stay in bed with my feet over my head for what seemed like weeks. This continued for months, even after I finished my radiation. I was warned about all of it but the bleeding. I now have some ongoing symptoms that I believe are from the chemo or Femara, or both. I still have alot of memory and concentration issues, I have burning in several of my toes, I have repeated peeling of the inside of my mouth, I have ALOT of bone and muscle pain (pretty sure this is the Femara), and I have this issue with my feet that seems to be worsening -- they just do not want to work, I don't know how else to describe it. When I put my feet on the floor and stand, my feet hurt like crazy and are hard to flex. After I make myself walk a few feet, they work better, though. Oh, and the FATIGUE! It is the worst! BUT, I am functioning, I am alive and able to watch my children grow, and I stick to the little cheer my kids and I came up with when I was at my sickest, "Chemo sucks, thank God for chemo!" I put my two cents in here to say this -- I think that Taxotere has some really rotten side effects for many patients, and I do wish I had known many of them would last. BUT all patients are different, and if you are facing treatment with Taxotere, you might have a pretty aggressive cancer. You will recover from the worst of the side effects. Life is good.


Winnie s answered...

I was on taxotere for 3-cycles and my side effects were severe. During chemo I had shooting pains in my back, jaw, down my legs. When I finished treatment, I was left with nerve damage & pain in my legs which took 2-years to subside. I still have neuropathy in my feet, numbness and tingling, which gets really painful in cold weather. I pray that the taxotere eradicated any rogue cancer cells in my body. I am told it is a highly effective chemo drug.


Nochicken answered...

I just finished my 7th treatment of Taxotere. I haven't had any side effects other than I'm losing my fingernails. I get tired...but thats OK...I rest. This drug has done a great job of shrinking the tumor in my lung.


Aussiebc answered...

My last Taxotere was june 2012, but i had refused the actual last dose of July due to being in hospital 15 days with near death side effects! From the beginning of chemo, Feb 2012 of 5FU, Epirubison, i was in hospital every time within 48 hrs for up to 7 days at a time. Combatting nausea, vomiting, diarreoh, and high temps, ( total cytotoxicity). After each Chemo hit, Id inject the Neulaster injection to strengthen bone marrow, and Clexain injections daily to stop clotting. The clexain gave me long nose bleeds and anal bleeds, so i had to stop those after my final bout in hospital and I think I overdosed on the Nuelaster injections as I think this is what causes the bone aches, ( just my theory, marrow has stiffened to cement!). My last Taxotere sent me cyto within 8 hrs; kidney and liver failing, excruciating feet pain, skin peeling so badly, lost 3 toenails, pooing & spewing dark green stuff that looked like seaweed! temp of 42, cells above 75, rashed all over due to 3 intraveinis drugs to try and fix all this, a staff infection in my gut & bowel, no appetite, lost 12 kilo's in around a month, no taste, no feeling, no energy, and a threat of being sent to Melbourne for a blood transfusion! THEN... day 12, i began to turn a corner! DAy 15, my cells were 14.5... i could go home! Now, 10 months past Taxotere, and Im off for a gastroscopy & colonoscopy due to constant reflux ( vomiting bile and mucus most nights), swollen tummy, feeling full all the time, and i can poo up to 6 times within the first 2 hours of getting up, and its loose. My legs and feet ache like hell to stand on them, but once i get going im ok. Hip pain, knee ache, back, neck and lymphodeoma pain, ( massage once a week from nurse, very relieving!!). I complained about my actual treatment,and I am very greatful for being alive and in remission, but JHC!!! The after effects are just as bloody bad! And i was NEVER told anything about it except i might experience numbness in my fingers and toes, peripheral neuropathy, and i have that too!! Would I do it again?? NO!!! Id either seek an alternative, or die. I went through this, am going through it still, and so is my gorgeous husband and family! They've suffered along side of me, and i couldnt put them through that again!! My Onc is ignorant and arrogant, he said he's never heard of any of the symptoms im experiencing. He's either deaf, or and idiot! As long as he's getting paid $300 a visit, why would he care how i feel!!?? Im over it!!


Solowalker answered...

checked this site as i am 11yrs post 8chemo the last 4 docetaxal i have had 11 great years since but every two or three yrs i have a fatique relapse & severe shortness of breathe and muscle and bone pain around my lungs. after 3-6wks its lifts and it doesn't effect my day to day life of work as a nurse practitioner & family life. Though it does stop my favourite hobby of walking....... last year i walked solo the camino de santiago 500miles for cancer charity in 24days... clocking up 45km daily........but when this comes over me reaching my top stair at home is a massive achievement. but im booked to walk more camino in sept so i hope this new event lifts soon. i was wondering has anyone had this side effect from chemo or radiation. but take it from me it was well worth every side effect to be given a second chance of life & to see my six children grow up. i even wrote & had a book published about my cancer journey "Angels under my Bed" & it has been received with unbelievable reviews & great success. so you never know what you will go on to achieve post cancer. good health everyone. x


Psycho answered...

Taxol and Taxotere are different drugs. Similar, but not the same. Also with Taxotere, lets not forget permanent male patterned baldness - alopecia. check out www.aheadofourtime.org for more information... It is real and it just happened to me!


A fellow caregiver answered...

I feel better reading this. I had chemo that finished about 18 months ago and I have never bounced back. Headaches, body aches, my hair never came back, my nails are a mess and I feel like a hypochondriac. I go to the Dr. and they want to give me pills. I don't want to take medicine, I want to feel good. If only someone could wave a magic wand and make me human again. I want hair and nails.


Chejacques answered...

After reading all of these replies, I'm not sure I feel comforted. I had five rounds of taxotere, and I've been in such terrible joint pain since. My feet feel like they've been beat up on the bottoms and my hands are in terrible pain all the time. My hips and knees feel like I'm full or arthritis... though before I started this treatment I was feeling so healthy... my doctor doesn't offer any help, I'm very depressed because of this and knowing that I went from a rather healthy 49 year old that worked out and was very active, to a now 50 year old that can barely get off my couch and play with my young son... it's just terrible. I hope and pray every day that this drug will leave my body and I will soon feel as I did. What I fear is all that is to come from these terrible drugs. We may be cancer free, but what price will it cost down the road... this all saddens me, why didn't my doctor tell me about the long-term effects! Shame on them all!!!


A fellow caregiver answered...

I had 6 rounds of Taxotere and I too have joint pain in all joints, neuropathy, and nerve pain. I too was very healthy before chemo and could work out etc. Now, I have difficulty using my legs or my knees hurt. My shoulders, arms, and wrists are in a lot of pain all the time. My Oncologist says he has never seen anything like this with the chemo drugs and has diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. I don't believe it. I know my issues are due to the chemo.


Dave h. answered...

so, I believe the answer to the original question is a resounding yes, there can be, but I (and probably "we") all know many who did bounce back from taxotere and ran their happy little 5Ks afterwards. My wife had a history of nerve pain and we all had concerns about taxotere treatment for stage 1 breast cancer with a very high oncotype score. She finished chemo in the summer of 2010 and cannot really function as the mother of 3 young kids without steady pain medication. Like some of the posters above, she has lots of aches and joint pains, the worst in her thighs. For the first several years (its 2014), she had lots of nerve pain in her arms and legs which seems to be at a lower volume now. Not being an MD, I'm not qualified to give advice but I'll go ahead and suggest that if anyone has a history of nerve pain maybe just doing AC would be nearly as effective as AC followed by taxotere. And I hear you about oncologists and their lack of concern about quality of life, they seem to just focus on you being alive or not. We found a palliative care specialist and got him in our corner which was so necessary. Some cancer centers have one, but don't wait for your Oncologist to refer you, get online and find yourself an MD that will be focused on helping you get through the day, not on reading your regular scans and bloodwork and checking the box that you are alive still. It may take a few journeys with a few different MDs. If you are a lower risk type of breast cancer, especially with a history of weird nerve pain, maybe in your balance of factors just AC treatment would be a better compromise than AC/TC. There is a study out of Madrid that showed that AC alone was not as good as AC/TC but really not that much less effective. Maybe there are posts full of people who are suffering bad symptoms from AC treatment out there too, I don't know. I wish the best to all of you out there!


Violetruth answered...

It always helps to read the question carefully before answering. The question here referred to LONG-term side-effects. Not too many of the answers reflect this,


A fellow caregiver answered...

I finally completed treatment for breast cancer with taxatore and other chemo drugs at the end of 2011. The neuropathy in my hands and feet never went away, and continues to get worse and worse. I lost a number of nails and the ones I didn't lose were horribly infected with what turned out to be staph. I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis about six months after completing chemo, which I'm convinced is also a side effect. I also have long-term chemo brain; not as bad as it was during actual treatment, but I am just not the same person now. The whole awful experience aged me about 20 years physically and I really resent it. Just recently I was listening to an NPR report about chemo brain research, and the researchers were still not convinced this is even real. I was just livid listening to them. On top of all this my oncologist was a complete dick, and ignored all my complaints about worsening side effects. I confess I am not the least bit cheerful or even especially grateful in retrospect about my horrific experiences. Supposedly I'm in remission, but still feel wretched most of the time. If the cancer comes back, I will absolutely not go through this again.


Dave h. answered...

I'm sad to hear you are also in this boat. I strongly recommend trying to find a palliative care specialist to help with the pain of your arthritis and nerve pain. They are the type of MD that will focus on your quality of life and ability to get out of bed in the morning and stay on your feet for at least some portion of the day balanced with the ability to still have reasonable bowel movements while on pain medication. My wife has shown improvement so slow that she would never notice. For example there are things she does now that she probably wouldn't have been able to a year ago and that she clearly would have had a hard time doing two years ago. And she has been able to reduce her pain meds to the point where number 2s are happening at least every 2 days, sometimes better. Things can improve, but I don't know if it will be very noticeable on a month to month basis. Hang in there, I hope my wife can be one reason to believe that your symptoms can gradually improve.

It seems like most of the treatment for metastasis are also meds that can cause neuropathy and other long term side effects. Here's to hoping we don't have to make that choice down the road.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I just finished reading all of the comments from people who like me took the cancer drug Docetaxel and I cried because I remember what it was like for me. I thought that I had a lot problems during treatment but mine were nothing in comparison. My biggest problems were breathing, fatigue, infection, not being able to eat and keep food down. I too was not told about the long term effects of the cancer drugs that I was given. After reading all of the bad side effects that other people have endured, I feel very blessed that I did not have to suffer as they did ,I pray that God will heal them.


Jen62 answered...

I am on my 5 taxol threament I have 4 more to do. I am getting very worried as I have cancer in my back and my back pain getting worse and I have swelling where my cancer is. Not seeing doctor untill next week


Lisa l answered...

I am continually wondering if my current problems are related to the taxatore and cytoxin, the radiation, or something else. I finished surgery, chemo and radiation with minimal problems in April 2014. Since then, I am experiencing intensive back/neck/head pain. I have been through my GP, neurologist, many meds, physical therapy, etc. with no relief. I had pain in legs/back through treatment, but now it has moved, so not sure if related or not. My many doctors just keep asking me about "stress". At my wits end, and not sure what to do. Before breast cancer, I was completely healthy. Any advice would be so appreciated.


Jamies22 answered...

My husband completed his 5th round of taxotere in April 2015. His legs and hips ached so badly that he decided not to do the final treatment because he felt like he'd be in a wheel chair when it was all done. After almost 8 weeks of being off the drug, his aches continue. He has inflammation in his hips and knees that prevent him from doing most anything. His energy level is terrible, he has frequent sweats. He was an active 59 year old man and now he looks and feels 80. His doctor is trying to get him off of the pain meds, but it's impossible for him to function without them. Is there anything that has offered relief? Tramodol has done nothing for the inflammation or pain.


Wonderfulmom answered...

I had Taxotere in 2010. I struggle with tingling hands that feel like they are falling asleep. I have also had leg and foot pain in the past. This morning I woke up and both hands were asleep.


Charadrake answered...

I was treated in 2002 for Breast Cancer with a bunch of different chemo drugs, including Taxotere. I had two rounds (one was every 3 weeks for 4-5 treatments and the next was 6 treatments, 2 or 3 weeks apart. ) I didn't have some of the symptoms most of the people on this page seemed to suffer: no joint pain, etc. I was 26 at the time, I don't know if my age helped my situation. I also was given a shot (can't remember what it was called) 3 days after each chemo treatment to increase my white cell counts, and I always felt the side effects of that were worse than the chemo. I still (13 years later) have neuropathy in my feet. Sometimes it's just annoying - the bottoms of my feet feel hot when things are cold, cold when things are hot , and if my feet fall asleep it hurts a lot. But there are some nights I get pins and needles in my feet and can't sleep very well. I came here looking for LONG term (10+ year) side effects of this drug. Anyone have any information about that? Can it increase your risk for getting other cancers later?


Tattrigoo answered...

My mom is on Day 9 following her first Taxotere treatment. She previously did Alimta/Carbo followed by Alimta maintenance. Taxotere is her 2nd line treatment and it's very hard on her. Between the excruciating bone pain and sores down her throat (she has trouble swallowing) not sure if she'll continue.


Cchix49 answered...

I had 6 rounds of taxotere with carboplatin, prejeta,and herceptin. I am 65 years old with div breast cancer. My side effects have been harsh but not as harsh as some posts. I have tingling in hands and feet but only mildly. I have only experienced bone and joint pain a few times and I attributed that to neulasta shot maybe?? I have hair loss, nausea, vision changes, taxotere nose drop, and FATIGUE. I have had rapid heart issues and put on beta blocker. I feel blessed that SE have been manageable. Hope this helps to give some encouragement. It is an ugly cocktail but so thankful it is working.


Dustyroth answered...

I only had one dose of taxotere. I had the most severe reaction they'd ever seen locally: purple streaks on my ribs under my armpits; swelling from my lips, through my hard and soft pallets, down my throat to my stomach; ERG; GERD; hand-and-foot syndrome so bad I couldn't touch anything for 3 weeks; 5+ layers peeled from hands and feet; pain like fire ants racing up and down my legs; my sclera was a brilliant red; I lost all 20 nails.

One dose. When I called my doctor's office, they asked if I could still breathe and said that if breathing became difficult to go to ER.

Long-term effects: doctors deny that Taxotere was the precipitating cause for any of the long-term effects I have experienced. I have since shown, through research, that inflammatory edema (the type of edema that is associated with hand-and-foot) can set off both neuropathy and fibromyalgia. These are, indeed, long-term and debilitating. I have acquired both to an extent that my abilities have been limited. I also have GERD and I am unable to eat some foods that surprised us: bananas (incredible pain at the Lower Esophageal Sphincter) and sometimes apples, potatoes, or chicken will also irritate the LES.

I am hypersensitive to drugs and the Lyrica that was helping me was causing my kidneys to become impaired, so I had to discontinue that. Until I started Calmare treatments 3 days ago, my only pain relief was 1/2 dose of Trammadol ONLY during a fibromyalgia flare-up and ONLY in the morning, as I am unable to sit still while the drug is active.

I highly recommend that anyone who has chemo-induced neuropathy investigate Calmare therapy. It is the only thing that has worked for me, so far. I am fortunate that, in my case, it appears that it is also helping with the fibromyalgia. My tender points are not nearly as tender as they were three days ago.


Daran answered...

As 'solowalker' I have had several episodes of extreme fatigue since my 4 doses of docetaxol 3 years ago. For last 6 weeks it feel like my chest is just suffocating with a heavy weight and I am breathless and very tired, but otherwise all my bloods are fine. I am worried that the chemo has damaged my lungs, but glad to hear from other people that these symptoms are temporary. Or at least I hope so. My nueropathy in hands and feet resolved after about 2 years, and my chemo brain also went away about 2.5 years after chemo.


Stkngarnd4awhile answered...

It depends on the person. Yes, there can be long term side effects, mainly joint pain from Taxotere.

I had my first bout with breast cancer in 2012 (stage 3) with a left mastectomy (down to the bone...ouch! But that's another story) and removal of 21 lymph nodes. In June 2012 I started my chemo and 3 rounds were not Taxotere, but the last 3 rounds did include Taxotere. My nurses put my fingers and toes on ice each treatment. This really helped with the finger and toe nails and to keep the tingling down. I was on a very high dose and was taking Neulasta injection for each Taxotere treatment (wow, that was expensive!).

During treatment joint pain started mainly in the knees and hips, but also the ankles, elbows and shoulders. Following treatment, the pain in the shoulders (with exception of my frozen shoulder which intensive physiotherapy did repair) and elbows and most time the ankles subsided, but the knees and hips persisted. It took a year, but I was referred to a pain management doctor who tried many drug combinations and we settled on 9mg twice a day of hydromorphcontin and 2mg of hydromorphone every 3 to 4 hours as needed (which I needed always). If I took both medications I was ok. Still felt it, but only about 20% of the pain which was tolerable.

My pain management doctor was a breast cancer specialist at a world renowned cancer hospital. He told me that a large percentage of breast cancer patients that receive Taxotere recover around 4 months following the last treatment, with the next largest percentage recovering by the 2 year mark. He said those (like me) who's pain persists following 2 years are considered chronic and there's nothing that could be done.

Sadly, last December my breast cancer returned (but in my abdomen and even more fierce than the first time), this time stage 4 and metastasized. The tumours made me look about 7 months pregnant! Scary. This time around I was given Taxotere for all 6 rounds along with Herceptin and Pertuzumab (Perjeta) and again had my fingers and toes on ice during treatment. This time I was not given the Neulasta. I don't know why? It saved a LOT of money and I came out the other side ok, so no complaints. I am currently 3 months out of the treatments of the 3 drugs and will continue the Herceptin and Pertuzumab for the rest of my life as maintenance (unless I get in a good trial that works for me? Fingers crossed!). I am finding the joint pain much better, but am now on a 15mg dose twice daily of the hydromorphcontin and have 4mg of hydromorphone every 3 to 4 hours available but only use it if I'm going to attempt to walk more than a block or two (even taking this I can only do about 6 or 7 blocks before my legs go numb below the knees). Over the last 6 months I have been prescribed medical marijuana to assist with the chronic joint pain from the Taxotere and the chronic nerve pain from the mastectomy. This took my hydromorphcontin dose down from 24mg when I started to 15mg today and I expect to drop another 3mg over the next couple of weeks and settle in at 12mg twice a day. It's also topped off my nerve pain medications to treat the pain at about 65-70% better to about 85-90% better. I highly recommend seeing a good marijuana doctor and discussing this option. Mine monitors with quarterly appointments to review progress and make suggestions and tweak strains and dosage. It works.

If you've passed 2 years of Taxotere induced joint pain, it's likely chronic and you'll probably need to have pain treatment. I have always been the kind of person that didn't even take an aspirin for a headache until it persisted for 2 days so it's been a huge adjustment for me to take the number of pills I do each day, but my quality of life has increased a thousand fold! You get used to the meds over time.

It's unfortunate, but there are plenty who suffer the joint pain long after Taxotere. Sorry! I hope you're one of the majority that it goes away for within about 4 months!! Good luck and all the best. :)


Stkngarnd4awhile answered...

I wanted to add to what KimmieC said about Taxotere...It is likely that if you are being given Taxotere, you need it...so the side effects, although they can be nasty during treatment and in some people can become long lasting...are worth it.

I said the first time I didn't think I'd do it again. The second time I had to do twice as many treatments of Taxotere as the first and at the beginning, I said I'd never do it again for the second time. But by the time I got to the last two treatments, the side effects were not as bad as the beginning (still rotten, but not AS rotten) and I decided I would likely have one more go at it if necessary (which my oncologist predicts). It won't be enjoyable for sure, but my son is barely 19 and has been watching me go through this since he was 16 and he's scared and still needs me around for a while. I'm working on a long time, but will be happy with getting him to 23-25 years old and settled.

I don't know if I could turn down Taxotere when the time comes unless I was in a good immunotherapy or cannabinoid oil trial. Even with that, I've read that cannabinoid oil in combination with Taxotere (and Herceptin if HER2 positive) works better than either alone, so I may still opt for Taxotere again? Never know!


Baldmary answered...

I have breast cancer stage 3. FEC (4 doses) decreased my tumor size. It gave me nausea and fatigue and low WBC, but it worked. Then I was switched to docetaxil. After 3 doses (4 were planned) the tumor had stopped shrinking (no shrinkage since FEC stopped). The side effects were scary: tingling sore finger tips, weak sore knees, mouth sores. The surgeon said the tumor was small enough to do a mastectomy, so she stopped the useless docetaxil. I am now recovering before surgery in three weeks. My fingers are still numb and sore and my knees are still weak. I truly believe that if I had taken the last dose, I would be facing permanent damage. I just hope the symptoms don't hit me in a month or so....it happens. I had a friend who lost all use of her legs a month after her last docetaxil and has to be in a wheel chair in a nursing home. Docetaxil needs to be replaced with something less dangerous and more effective against cancer


Magsa answered...

I have just been reading all the effects of docetaxal from you fellow sufferers and having been someone who has had hardly any contact with BC ladies it has made me feel like I'm not alone. I had 3 cycles of chemo followed by 2 cycles of docetaxal. Very ill and hospitalised and constantly sick after the first 3 so was anxious about starting the docetaxal. Oncologist said much less sickness with docetaxal but oh my the effects were much worse. Having already lost my hair I then lost my finger nails got peripheral neuropathy in hands and feet neutropenia and it affected my heart so badly that I had to be hospitalised for 3 weeks where I got sepsis ( which the cardiologist was convinced it was the central line) and was on permanent high dose intravenous antibiotics. I heard them talking outside my room about organ shutdown and I had no immune system. I survived thankfully but the had to stop the chemo as they said it would have killed me. This is why oncologists don't tell you the full facts as people would decline the treatment. Now 18 months post treatment for triple negative BC I am slowly regaling my strength. Hair grown back albeit baby hair and nails too. Lingering neuropathy and my digestion and bowels has never been the same since. I have to be very careful what I eat. Like many of you I was a 'healthy' 65 year old before all this. My advice is to build yourself up nutritionally and physically to face the onslaught of these drugs. Let's hope they work! God bless you all.


Michmitch answered...

Taxotere=docetaxel. Taxol=pacitaxel. Both drugs are taxanes. Expert answer uses the drug names interchangeably. As a healthcare professional and current cancer patient, I would prefer the answer be edited by the Expert. The 2 are different drugs with different dosing recommendations and infusion schedules. For breast cancer, taxol may be scheduled once a week, though taxotere can only be scheduled every 3 weeks, per my MO. Wikipedia is not the best, nor worst source of information. However, it suggests Taxotere (docetaxel) carries stronger SE than Taxol. Taxotere is the more potent of the 2, per Wikipedia and my spoue's nursing pharmacology book. This said though, every one responds differently. Words, as these, are just words for those of us who've had many cytotoxic cocktails, including either of these drugs. Some fair much better than others on taxotere than those on taxol and vise versa. One more point though, docetaxel is on the WHO model of essential medicines. Benefits outweigh the risks in most cases, even if quality of life is not as well as before chemo. Seek a palliative care MD, as others are suggesting, as soon as possible. They are very specialized and will hopefully alleviate the unfortunate SE experienced.


A fellow caregiver answered...

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Please check click on link. Mother Earth has everything for our health. Listed are cures for neropathy. Lots of water, Blueberry, Blackberry, Fresh green vegetables sound good to me I am going to blend these together in a smoothie. Also Cayenne pepper is very good for our circulatory system and add Magnesium which we all lack. Good luck to all. Love and Blessings.


Cancer ninja answered...

Anyone who is looking for long-term side effects, I have some firsthand info for you. I was given Cytoxan first in 1985, at age 11 (acute lymphocytic leukemia). I relapsed at 15 1/2 and received several more doses. I have been finished with chemotherapy since 1994 (age 20). I am now 41 (Thank God). I had a secondary cancer (tumor on the roof of my mouth) two years ago. I suffer from neuropathy in my legs, feet, and hands. I also have severe back pain, lymphodemia, and joint pain. I have had 19 confirmed broken bones over the past 20 years. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD. My hair is increasingly falling out, I have a lot of weight issues, but the most dibilitating thing is a nausea/vomiting disorder that started about 15 years ago that also includes severe abdominal pain. I usually have one episode a month. I vomit several times a day for 3-5 days. I usually end up in the hospital for it. A lot of ER doctors tell me that it's in my head, although the University of Washington GI lab told me that it was a long-term side effect of my chemo. The side effects are actually increasing as the years go by. I have been with the same man for 23 years, but we have no children. I want all of you who read this to know that this medication is worth every side effect. I wouldn't be alive, period. There is a cancer survivors clinic in Seattle at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. They get all of your records, analyze them, and let you know what to expect from the meds you had. All of you should see if you have a similar clinic in your areas. If any of you need to ask any questions, please email me. I will be happy to help. Don't refuse this med. It's worth it. RachelSchreiner40@gmail.com


Beckykallio answered...

I had stage 2 triple negative bc diagnosed in Oct. 2011. I had 8 rounds of chemo first 4 were "red devil" and last 4 were Taxotere. I am suffering from severe joint pain in my shoulders and neck, lower back also. The nerve pain has gotten worse over the last couple of years. I have also noticed that I am not as smart as I used to be, unable to stay on top of things. My oncologist told me that I am not suffering from the chemo drugs, that they are out of my system. ( I have not been back to him because I think he is an idiot). My family doc probably thinks I am a hypochondriac, or looking for a disability check, so I don't know if he takes me seriously. I am becoming more and more depressed because I can't keep up with simple house keeping, not to mention enjoy life. I started taking Viviscal, and my eyelashes, and the hair on my legs are starting to grow back. I try to exercise, and am told I need to "push" myself. I also am pushing leafy green veggies, and healthy fruits. I am seeing no improvement! These things also seem to come on cycles. Some days do not seem quite as bad, then BAM!


Trpcl1 answered...

I am sad to see so many of us are suffering long term effects. As all of you, it has been quite the journey. My diagnosis stage 1c IDC, er/pr+ clear nodes. My raw, gut instinct screamed NO chemo for me. Somehow, though, in the midst of all the stress and emotions, I let my family, friends, and 3 Doctors talk me into it. (Once again I have learned to tune out all else and listen to any strong gut instinct I have) I received one, yes just one, treatment of Taxotere and Cytoxin. My body's reaction was so bad that my Onco said Well, we tried but i can't give you any more chemo. I don't want to make this into a book so I will shorten it. I had many horrific side effects but I will stick with this discussion and what has been the worst part. A couple days after treatment, amongst many other severe side effects, I had a sudden onset of severe back pain. About 3 days after treatment, I was suddenly doubled over and rocking with severe pain in my low back which over the course of a couple hours continued into my pelvic area, then hips, then my knees and down my legs. I also aquired neuropathy within that week as well. These were the two most dibilitating long term side effects I am trying to learn how to live with. It has been 1 year and 3 months since my treatment and the pain has just continued to get worse. The pain in my back, legs, and knees make it difficult to function in even the simplest tasks like just making dinner, or a shower, walking any length. I have gone to many Docs and specialists to no avail. The best they can do is put me on many types of med and pain meds. The meds only bring it down a notch or two and if I do any activity, and I mean any, I have bad breakthrough pain. This also seems to "baffle" many of the Doctors and they don'the seem to know what to do......or that is the ones who will at least acknowledge it even remotely. There is so much more detail I could be adding but I really want to get to two main points. One being that every Oncologist should start off by asking their patient what is most important to them and one of those should be quality of life or quantity. In a perfect world it would be nice to have both but....! Every persons situation is different, each body different, each cancer, each side effects, and so on. If given a choice of only one, either quality or quantity of life, I believe each of us would lean towards one or the other. Our Oncos should ask us, and then should ask if we want the possible side effects given to us "sugar-coated" or gut out honestly. ALL of them, even the less common ones. Then they should tailor our treatment according to each of us. For me, I would choose quality.......I even told my Onco that but he was not listening. My other point is that our Oncos should report unusual, new, or severe side effects. I know there are databases for this. I will research further and post the info. We need to be heard. If all off us suffering from the awful joint and/or muscle pain were heard and reported then maybe we wouldn't have to go to Doc after Doc to be heard and helped. If they knew just how many of us were suffering then maybe they could research why and how they can prevent or treat this! We shouldn't have to be searching online trying to find answers! Our voices need to be heard! I will find that info and post it. Until then, hugs and prayers to all us brave warriors!


Desire answered...

In my case yes there are long term side effect. I did 6 rounds of this medicine in 2014 & I still have side effects. I'd say on the second dose I developed weakness in my legs. It was so bad that I had to take the bus to the doctor which is only a 7 minute walk from my house. After running tests the doctor said I had an allergic reaction to the meds & he was going to change to A/C. However when I did my research the first thing that popped up was Red Devil which is the nickname of his harsh drug. I decided against taking that. Besides doc said the side effect would go away after meds done. Okay I thought I could live withdriving for 30 minutes & then taking breaks to rest. As well as taking pain meds after the pain set in. Its been two years now & I still have same problem. I am up to driving for an hour & half now thanks to adding walking to my daily exercise routine. I do get the pain right afterwards that put me in serious pain & out of work for the day. I am 43 years young & I have handicapped plates. That's how bad my pain is. Another side effect I have is hair loss. I was told my hair would grow back. It did grow back it about 6 months later it started breaking off. I cut my hair boy short in March of this year & it just grew back nicely. It is now breaking off all over again for the second time since I finished the treatment Sept 2014. Every person is different just like every case is different. The thing to remember is that when something doesn't feel right go to the doctor. If that doesn't work get a second opinion & do your research. Had I not done my research I would have never found this site with you guys with some of the same side effects I have. Hope this helps.