Avastin

Intravenous Avastin Treatment

Intravenous treatment with Avastin (bevacizumab) on July 1, 2011

I had my first treatment of Avastin yesterday at the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine in Scarborough.

Avastin (generically known as bevacizumab) is supposed to limit the growth of tumors by choking their blood supply. My oncologist claims I’m a good candidate for Avastin because my tumor was “highly vascular”. (It was so impressively vascular that it became a subject of the oncologists’ weekly case review).

Unlike Temodar, which I take in pill form, Avastin must be administered intravenously, every two weeks.

The treatment room at MCCM has more than a dozen cubicles, each with a vinyl recliner, a small table and an IV pump. I felt uneasy as I waited for the nurse. My last IV treatment (probably morphine) was at Maine Medical Center in early May, shortly after my craniotomy.

My Avastin dose was specified in detail on a sheet of paper on the table:

Bevacizumab 610 mg (at 10mg/kg) Intravenous

Avastin 10 q2wks – Cycle – 1, Day – 1

I asked myself “how many times will I have to come back and sit and watch a bag of liquid drain into my arm?” My oncologist’s answer to a similar question about Temodar was “indefinitely”. He also said “No one can tell you how long you have to live”, citing “5 or 10 years” as a particularly fortunate outcome.

Waiting for the needle was the hardest part, of course. Once it was in, I relaxed. Already the wound is almost gone.

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13 Comments.

  1. Justin Campbell

    Hello Bogart, I just recently heard the news of what is going with you from Matt Smith. I think the last time I saw you, we were playing horse shoes while Ava was a resident- in the late 90s. Suffice it to say, it has been a while. I check your blog everyday. Your writing is wonderful. I look forward to each post. I hope to see you sometime soon, Justin

    • Justin,

      Thanks for your message. It is nice to hear from you. I hear you are a radiologist now. Is that right? I have found the MRI images of my brain and the radiologist’s interpretation of them to be quite fascinating. I am thrilled to hear you are checking the blog regularly. Thank you. There is an RSS feed available by clicking the RSS button in the upper right of the page.

      Best Regards,

      Bogart

  2. Hello Bogart,

    My name is Amy and I have a couple of questions for you regarding Avastin.

    My Grandpa has been fighting his brain tumor for a little over a year. He has had surgery, he has done Chemo and Radiation. Now the tumor is growing back and the doctors recommended “Avastin” which he is neglecting to take. He is scared of the side affects. Can you please tell me how this treatment has been working for you? Is Avastin shrinking your tumor? Please get back to me when you have a moment.

    Ps. I am very sorry you are going through this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers EVERYDAY. Sending lots of positive energy your way! :razz:

    • Amy,

      Thanks for your comment. I began taking Avastin intravenously during my radiation treatments in July. I have never had any side effects. Temodar makes me a little queasy but I don’t notice the Avastin at all. Pretty amazing actually, though of course “your mileage may vary”, as they say. I started taking Avastin before recurrence of my tumor, and it hasn’t come back yet. Thank you for your kind and supportive thoughts. Good luck to your grandfather and your family.

      • kim, bogart and I have kept in youch, as i have the more malignant form gbmmf avastin is very well tolerated, no nasea, it’s main problem is limited effectiveness, as my surgeon said matter of factly, avastin does little to fight the tumor, ultimately more aggressive treatments are required, I just had my 3rd surgery about 2 wekks ago

  3. Bogart! I just came across your diary. My dad was diagnosed in July. He has done 6 wks chemo, Radiation, and one cycle of Temodar. So you are taking Avastin along with your cycles of Temodar? What made you decide to go with the Avastin? Your Dr put you on Avastin before any tumor progression?

    • Kim,

      Thanks for your comment. My oncologist put me on Avastin two months after my surgery, while I was still having radiation treatments. I go back to the treatment center every two weeks for the intravenous Avastin treatment. And I still take Temodar. Based on my limited knowledge of studies and other cases, Avastin treatment before recurrence is a somewhat new standard. Last summer I read that former Mets catcher Gary Carter was taking Avastin for his brain tumors, again before recurrence.

      Best of luck to your Dad and your family in treatment and in life.

      Sincerely,

      Bogart

  4. Hello Bogart.My name is Amy Mufrad.I have a couple of questions for you regarding Avastin.
    My Father has been fighting his brain tumor for a little over a year. He has had surgery, he has done Chemo and Radiation.Now the tumor is growing back.So,he had 3rd surgery in Singapore General Hospoital.Now the doctors recommended “Avastin” which he is neglecting to take.Can you please tell me, Is avastin remove the tumor fully???If there are any other way pls tell me.Please get back to me when you have a moment.
    Best Regards,
    Mufrad Mustavi.

    • Amy,

      Thanks for your comment. As you might have read, I was treated with Avastin for almost two years. From what I understand, Avastin is generally well-tolerated. I did not experience any side effects from Avastin. I’ve never heard of a case in which Avastin eliminated an existing tumor, though I have heard of it shrinking tumors. In my case, I had a very good (gross total) resection and haven’t experienced a recurrence. It seems that drugs like Avastin and Temodar are the best treatments we have at this time, though they’re still not highly effective in the long run. I encourage you to talk to a doctor for more accurate and complete information.

      Good luck to you and your family,

      Bogart

  5. Mufrad Mustavi

    Thank u bograt for the information.My father has taken Avastin and Temodar and it works.The tumor is not growing up now.

    • Mufrad,

      Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear things are going well with your father’s treatment. Good luck to him and to your family.

      Best,

      Bogart

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