Dirty Drugs

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Round Three
Tags: , , , , ,

This was a post I started a few months ago in the midst of brain-mets mayhem. I didn’t write much around that time, mainly because my brain had been fried and I found it difficult to string a sentence together. Thankfully my brain has recovered, or at least most of it has.  The gamma-knife seems to have affected the spelling part of my brain so please forgive the odd spelling mistake.

I had some goodish news last week. My latest CT-scan results show that the tumours in my lungs and liver have either shrunk or remained stable. Apart from NED (no evidence of disease) or remission, shrinkage and stability are the two words you hope for when you have Stage IV (advanced, secondary, metastatic) disease. But, and there’s always a but at these appointments, I wasn’t surprised when they told me that I now have metastases (or secondary tumours) in my bones. A mixed bag of results, but as a wise friend pointed out, the bones mets won’t kill me.

The build up to these appointments is massive and it’s something you never get used to. When you’ve been in the game as long as I have, you know that a positive attitude has naff all effect on scan results. There’s no point building yourself up for good news. On the other hand, you don’t want to be too pessimistic. Try as you may to box it away, it’s incredibly stressful having this continually simmering away in the background. If you’re anything like me, you spend the last few weeks, pre-scan, being a complete cow to everyone you know.

I hope so...

I hope so…

Unless they’ve got stable disease, the majority of patients with secondary cancer go through this rigmarole every 3 months. Beginning with shock/elation/disappointment at the latest scan results; followed by acceptance of new symptoms or side-effects; leading up to the scanxiety of the next scan.

My recent scan results were a bit of a shock, and not just to me. The last drug I was on (Tegafur) didn’t work, and I’ve had very little in the way of active treatment since my previous scan at the start of February. I worked out that I’d only had 12 days of Everolimus and 2 months of Exemestane before my most recent scan. The Exemestane wouldn’t have worked immediately as I had to restart Zoladex injections (the ovary switcher-offer) in order for it to be effective. Not long enough for either drug to have had much of an impact.

However there’s potentially another explanation for my good scan results.

Following scan-mageddon in February an article in my news-feed caught my attention. The reason this particular article grabbed me, was because it talked about using everyday drugs such as antibiotics to treat cancer. After being given a prognosis of less than a year, the professor mentioned in the article ‘cured’ his untreatable brain cancer with a cocktail of everyday drugs. He recently celebrated 20 years of being disease free.

Fast forward 3 months and I’m now taking part in a long-term ‘study’ at The Care Oncology Clinic in London. They prescribe a combination of ‘dirty drugs’ which I take alongside my regular treatment. In addition to Everolimus and Exemestane I now take the diabetes drug Metformin, a worming tablet called Mebendazole, an antibiotic Doxycyline along with statins.

The so-called dirty drugs work by targeting multiple receptors or cancer-signalling pathways. Metformin for example reduces blood glucose, lowers IGF-1 & is also an mTor inhibitor (like Everolimus). There are many current trials using Metformin as an anti-cancer agent. Mebendazole is believed to slow the growth of brain tumours. Whilst Doxycycline has been shown to reduce tumour burden in breast cancer bone metastasis.

I have now what is known in the trade as a ‘full house’: lungs, liver, brain, bones. There aren’t many places left for the cancer to go. But strangely I feel really well, better than I’ve done in months. My body is responding well to a lower dose of Everolimus and as yet I have no major side-effects, apart from loads of energy. Result.

I had so much energy last weekend I began to wonder if something was wrong. I managed to pack in yoga, circuit training, Killer Kilts photo-shoot and a 12 mile cycle. It’s so nice to have normal energy levels again.

I’ve changed so many things in the last few months (my diet, my drug regime and the additional dirty drugs) it’s impossible to say what exactly is working, but I’m doing something right. Maybe it’s a combination of things. If you want to know more about the Care Oncology Clinic, drop me a line or contact them directly.



  1. Anonymous says:

    You look wonderful Kath – just keep on keeping on darling xxxxx

  2. linds says:

    I’m excited for you about the scan results! Glad you’re feeling better too these days – hope it continues in this direction (apart from the bone mets – they can do one!). Xx

  3. josnewlife says:

    I am soooo happy to hear this!!! Keep up the good work, you, as always, are my hero, I still go for check up every 3 months, too, so far so good, I pray for you every day too, enjoy your self in any way you can, we are all out here sending good wishes your way, beautiful girl!!! Love Jo

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kath – great writing and sums up exactly what its like. I have a ‘full house’ too – I veer between thinking and expecting to be dead in 6 months, and then dismissing that idea because it seems too surreal. I also have my wee box of Care Oncology drugs waiting to start on – my onc though wants me to get a few cycles of my new chemo, Capcetibine, and the brain radiotherapy under my belt before taking them. He’s not a believer!

    I would be interested in hearing what your onc’s view of these drugs is? Fandabbydozy results anyway and here’s hoping they continue for a very long time xx

  5. vancouver-mummigrant says:

    Wow, Kath, thank you for keeping us all informed; so much information to take in, and you’re the person going through all this! That’s mad you have so much energy! Am pleased you made the most of it and did so much; why does that not surprise me! Love it, though. I’m still trying to get you over to Vancouver… I suspect you’re thinking of doing some travelling soon? We have your room ready for you! Love your blog and how much you are keeping your friends like me updated. I have learnt so much. Lots of love X

  6. I am glad to hear you are feeling well! I hope your energy keeps up for a long time. I’d be willing to guess it’s the combo of all the things you’re doing but most importantly I want the results to continue! Going to check out the study’s website, I’m interested to learn more about this. Look forward to reading your next installment. Take care, Anne

  7. Sheena says:

    Thanks for letting us know about this – I have secondary breast cancer too and will definitely keep it in mind for the future. Best of luck!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Katherine,something’s giving you a boost,your body is mighty fine thing! Go with the flow . Much love Sam and Al xxx

  9. Paula says:

    So glAd to hear more positive news- keeping you in my thought

Don't be shy leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s