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Author Topic: colon cancer and hiv positive  (Read 6108 times)

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Offline johnnie66

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colon cancer and hiv positive
« on: September 13, 2008, 05:20:53 pm »
A family member has just discovered that they have a mass on their colon.  They are going in for a biopsy and colonoscopy.  What are the affects of Chemotherapy treatment on the HIV infection?  This family member was diagnosed 27 years ago.  Does anyone know of what kind of treatments are offered if the tumor is malignant?  and how does this affect the immune system, since he is alreay HIV Positive?

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: colon cancer and hiv positive
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2008, 06:44:10 pm »
I would think this all hinges on factors like his current health, as in cd4 counts and viral load, in terms of treatment and recovery issues.  I will assume that seeing a colorectal specialist with experience treating someone with HIV and who will work easily with your family members regular HIV specialist?

At any rate I know someone in my long time survivor support group who had colon cancer (or maybe it was just anal... ) last year and while it was not the easiest experience, he recovered well and is currently back working full time, and looks well.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Tim Horn

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Re: colon cancer and hiv positive
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2008, 10:13:07 am »

As Philly says, the type of treatment used will depend on your family member's overall health -- and, of course, an actual diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The usual options include surgical removal, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

In years past, chemotherapy and radiation was riskier for HIV-positive people, as they can do a number on the immune system and increase the risk of complications. Today, however, antiretroviral therapy for HIV has basically leveled the playing field -- it can help keep HIV viral load low and CD4 cell counts high while undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. 

The key, As Philly says, is the expertise of your family member's health care team, which should definitely include an oncologist with HIV experience or at least a colorectal specialist who coordinates appropriate care with an HIV specialist.

Tim Horn


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