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My wife was recently diagnosed with cancer; she had a section of her colon removed and is now starting chemotherapy. She had her first session on Monday.

I was talking to a friend of mine today and he asked if the Doctor told me to pump my septic system on a regular basis while my wife is going through chemo. I told him that she did not mention it; he said another friend of his wife's had cancer and the doctor told him to pump it on a regular basis (how often, I don't know)

My friend said the stuff in the chemo that kills cancer cells will also kill the bacteria in the septic. I will ask the Doctor at our next appointment in about a week in a half; but until then I was wondering if anyone else has gone through this or know of someone that has and what did you/they do?

What he said does seem to make sense to me, I just thought I would throw it out here until I get a chance to ask the Doctor.
 

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Seems to make sense, but I haven't heard that before.

I definitely wish your wife the best and a speedy recovery! :yes:
 

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My wife HAD Breast Cancer. She didn't need Chemo, but I did A BUNCH of reading on the subject.

Chemo drugs kill cells that rapidly reproduce...like the ones that make hair. So it makes sense to me that the drugs could take out a septic system.

I wish your wife and yourself well during this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Seems to make sense, but I haven't heard that before.

I definitely wish your wife the best and a speedy recovery! :yes:
Thank you for your concern; we're optimistic that all will go well. The treatment is more of a preventative measure based on the stage the cancer was in when they found it, family history, and her relatively young age when it was discovered (for this type of cancer)
 

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I don't believe that cancer is treated with antibiotiocs but the cocktail may include antibiotics. You have to ask your Dr.
She is given antibiotics as part of her chemo; if I understand it correctly it is not to treat the cancer but to help fight off any infection being her own immune system is down.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My wife HAD Breast Cancer. She didn't need Chemo, but I did A BUNCH of reading on the subject.

Chemo drugs kill cells that rapidly reproduce...like the ones that make hair. So it makes sense to me that the drugs could take out a septic system.

I wish your wife and yourself well during this time.
I hope your wife is doing well.

I know the chemo for colon cancer is different than it is for breast cancer. We were told she should not loose her hair, it may thin, but she should not loose it all like breast cancer patients.

Thanks for your kind thoughts.

PS I never could figure out how to do multiple quotes in one reply, that is why all the separate replies.
 

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Brokenknee, septics are a simple process, but complicated when you see exactly how they work. I am (somewhat) a believer in the old adage "If it didn't go through you, it shouldn't go through the septic". Thats overkill but has some merit.
I hope your wifes treatments go well, but I do question anyone telling her that she will not see much hair loss. My Mother-in-law is currently undergoing chemo for kidney cancer. She lost most of her hair. Sorry, just a fact of life.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Brokenknee, septics are a simple process, but complicated when you see exactly how they work. I am (somewhat) a believer in the old adage "If it didn't go through you, it shouldn't go through the septic". Thats overkill but has some merit.
I hope your wifes treatments go well, but I do question anyone telling her that she will not see much hair loss. My Mother-in-law is currently undergoing chemo for kidney cancer. She lost most of her hair. Sorry, just a fact of life.

Both her surgeon and her oncologist said she should only have "thinning" of the hair and should not loose it all. I told her if she did loose her hair I would have mine all cut off in a show of support for her.

I wish the best for your Mother-in-law.

I have been thinking about the pumping of the septic system, somehow I do not see how this would help. Once the system is pumped you would still need to build up the bacteria to make the system work. Once it is pumped you would not only loose any bacteria you had built up in there, she would still be using it, so she would still be adding the bad chemicals back into a system that is not fully functioning yet.

I want to make it clear that the health of my wife is the top priority; whatever happens to the septic happens. I would not even thought about it but a friend mentioned it to me.
 

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Products like Riddex are nothing more than active bactreia as is Draincare by Zep for cleaning pipes. They are both enzymes (bacteria by another name) that make septics work. Enzymes actually cling to and eat organic matter. The link I added to my other post stated to pump the tank "more often". Normally, you would only pump every couple years. Once a year would be "more often". Most pumping companies leave some of the liquid in the tank, to start treating the newly added water.
I hope your wife only has thinning hair. I think a lot depends on the amount of chemo used and the person themself.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
She only has chemo scheduled for six months, once she finishes the chemo I will have the system pumped (if we don't get an early winter). I will also add the Rddex.

I will still ask the doctor at our next appointment.
 

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My wife survived incurable breast cancer for 15.5 years, and was off and on chemo for much of that time. We are on a septic system. I didn't do anything differently, and it worked just fine.
I only have the tank pumped out every five years, as is recommended by the state as the only "maintenance" needed. Also, their extensive testing over the years reports that all of those additives are totally unnecessary. Normal usage will put all of the bacteria in the system that is needed.
I have the tank pumped in every year ending in a 0 or 5 to keep it idiot proof. We have never had a problem with our system (32 years).
Best wishes for your wife and you. You have enough to deal with, and if it aint broke don't fix it. Sounds like overkill to me based on my direct experience.
Good luck!
Mike
 

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I totally agree with Mike (as I usually do) since septic systems have been around much longer than all the "fixes' for them. Adding any chemicals would only be a "boost" but really are not necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mike I am glad to hear your wife is a survivor, I hope she is doing well to this day. Your answer was the exact one I was looking for; someone who went through this, what they did and how it turned out. :)

Thirty two years on a septic that is pretty good, I have heard the average septic system only last twenty.

Thanks to everyone who responded, all the input was very informative.

Right now my plan is just to have the system pumped next spring, no additives. It will be do for a pumping then anyway, the system will be four years old then. I would pump it this fall after she gets done with chemo but I have heard it is best not to pump before winter sets in.

Thanks again.
 

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That Sounds Like Nonsense

My wife had breast cancer 11 years ago and thankfully is fine now, as your wife probably will be. We have a septic tank and never had any problem during her period of chemotherapy.

I've never heard of this issue (about killing the bacteria in the tank) but it sounds ridiculous to me. If it killed all the bacteria in a large tank, what would it do to the bacteria in her small stomach?

I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My wife had breast cancer 11 years ago and thankfully is fine now, as your wife probably will be. We have a septic tank and never had any problem during her period of chemotherapy.

I've never heard of this issue (about killing the bacteria in the tank) but it sounds ridiculous to me. If it killed all the bacteria in a large tank, what would it do to the bacteria in her small stomach?

I wouldn't worry about it.
I am not sure it is not messing with the bacteria in her stomach; lack of appetite, nausea, constipation, diarrhea. There has to some cause for it. She has lost thirty pounds in the last few months. That is the only part of this she is happy with, but it can not continue.

If you followed the link by Mdragon, chemo drugs are listed as a problem for septic systems.

I am not going to worry about the septic, I have bigger things to be concerned with. A friend of mine mentioned the septic to me (trying to be helpful) and I posted the question more out of curiosity than anything.
 

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If the bacteria in a septic tank are all killed off, the tank changes function from septic tank to holding tank. Solid matter doesn't decompose as much ergo it accumulates faster. The tank will likely have to be pumped out three times as often (1 year 8 month intervals if the normal interval was 5 years) The article in the link mentions that the solid matter after decomposition is reduced in volume something like 70-80%.

The above is an extreme case.

There is still trial and error in deciding when to pump the tank since it only depends on how fast solid matter accumulates.

Until the sludge in the tank builds up again, the bacterialess fluid will go out to the leaching field in the same fashion as fluid from a normally functioning septic tank.

If you have the septic tank pumped every month or two, you are wasting money since more chemotherapy chemicals are being added continually and a new crop of bacteria will still not have a chance to grow back.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I wonder how long the chemo stays in her body after she is done with the treatments? Once she quits putting it in the tank wouldn't one pump be enough?
 
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