New treatments for vision/speech problems with metastasis?

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Question from Steve: My wife has metastatic breast cancer. It is believed that she is experiencing increased cranial and spinal fluid pressures that are causing her double vision and slurred speech. She's taking Dexamethasone to reduce the swelling, but with very little effect. Are there new treatments for these symptoms? Thank you for assisting all of us.
Answers - Generosa Grana, M.D., F.A.C.P It appears that what you may be describing is a syndrome known as carcinomatous meningitis. Unfortunately, this is a setting in which treatments are difficult. Steroids can be helpful in some, and radiation encompassing the brain and spine can be helpful in some. But the use of these things needs to be discussed in detail with the treating oncologist. There are medications that can be instilled directly into the spinal fluid, called intrathecal chemotherapy, but its activity is limited. Again, working carefully with the oncologist is the most important thing in this setting.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting featured Generosa Grana, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Carol Kaplan, M.D. answering your questions about the latest research advances on screening, treatment, side effects, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in June 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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