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Cancer: Bowel Message Board
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
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Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lots of questions for survivors out there!

So, my mother has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. The CT scan showed a large mass in her bowel, that appeared to be starting to infringe on the abdominal wall. The doctor reading the scan made a comment that it looked like it "hadn't spread", and I guess this means he didn't see it had spread to the Lymph nodes? Can they tell that from a CT scan?

She goes in for surgery this week, and has been told that they will remove the mass, part of the bowel, her spleen (because it's "in the way") and maybe part of her abdominal wall. She has been told that they can't really tell what will happen afterward until the surgeon sees what he's dealing with during surgery. I suppose they can't definitively stage the cancer until after the surgery?

Anyone out there have a similar story/prognosis? I am not allowing myself to get sick with worry until after the surgery. I am scared of hearing that it has spread to her lymph nodes, because I know this complicates things. I guess I'm just looking for someone to answer this and tell me what to expect. She is 62 years old, if this makes a difference, and otherwise pretty healthy.

 
Old 07-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #2
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lotsof questions for survivors out there!

You can't definitively diagnosis colon cancer from a CAT scan. Did she have a colonoscopy and was a sample of suspicious tissue sent for pathology to analyze it?

Until the growth is removed during surgery, the diagnosis of what stage the cancer is and how aggressive it is can't be determined, as well as if any lymph nodes are involved. Prior to surgery, your mother should have a blood test called a CEA taken so that it can be used as a basis for comparison after surgery and for some people it is a good indicator if chemo is effective or if later on there is a recurrence.

In addition, if she hasn't already had them, she should have a CAT of the chest and pelvis as well as the abdomen to see if any other organs are involved.

With modern chemotherapy, the survival rate for colon cancer is much better than the statistics based on old treatments would indicate. Even people with Stage IV are surviving much longer and for some, it can be treated and managed as a chronic disease with good quality of life and longevity.

Wishing her well

Leslie
2003 Stage III colon cancer 2 positive nodes, treated with right hemicolectomy (removal of the right side of the colon)and then bolus 5FU and Leucovorin for 6 months.
7 years NED (no evidence of disease)

Last edited by LESLIETOO; 07-16-2010 at 02:12 PM.

 
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:18 PM   #3
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lotsof questions for survivors out there!

Thanks. That's pretty helpful. I don't think they've done a tissue sample and tested it to confirm cancer, but they have done her bloodwork in preparation for her surgery. The doctor commented that the growth has probably been there for years, but wasn't caught. A lesson to all of us to get checked regularly, especially after a certain age.

I don't want to seem overly optimistic, but I really have a feeling that she's going to be ok. The surgeon she has is apparently the best in the area. I just want to focus on getting her through the surgery and recovery for now.

 
Old 07-18-2010, 01:33 PM   #4
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lotsof questions for survivors out there!

im sorry to hear about your mom. i felt as if i was reading my own story. my mom also was 62 and dx . hers was stage 4 and they could not tell about the lymph nodes until she went into surgery and did biopsy. she had 8 out of 10 positive. good luck and keep me posted

 
Old 07-18-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lotsof questions for survivors out there!

It could mean it did not spread beyond the bowels. CT scans are good for these. Colonoscopy as we found with my mom does not see what may be on the outside. I hope that is all they find and that she goes on to live a long life. good luck. this kind of caner sadly runs in my family. i could only say if she has it to be aware of it and be tested for it. i am sorry cancer is not fun but if they catch it early like it seems they did she can have a full recovery. there is the federal cancer site and the national cancer org out there you can always contact. free and comforting at the same time.

 
Old 07-30-2010, 06:37 AM   #6
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lots of questions for survivors out there!

find a local cancer support center. you can google them. we found that those who drink and smoke a lot incease the risk of this type of cancer. hopefully they caught in time and then it needs to be monitored very closely

i think some people over 50 have a higher risk of this type of cancer. many were exposed to high levels of radiation from the 20 yrs of above ground nuke testing. human lab rats. we did some research when my mom and several others relatives got this type of cancer and had lived near the first nuke testing. govt told us and gave us moer info on the radiation maps they all got the same type of cancers.

 
Old 07-30-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: Mom diagnosed with bowel cancer. Lots of questions for survivors out there!

Thanks everyone!

My mom had her surgery last week. They took her spleen, the tumor, part of her bowel, the surrounding lymph nodes and part of the abdominal wall. The tumor was quite large, but the surgeon looked around and didn't see any cancer on any of the other organs (liver, pancreas etc.). The lymph nodes will most likely come out positive for cancer, but the surgeon feels like he got it all. Now she's home and recovering from this very invasive procedure, and once healed, will most likely face some chemo.

We're feeling pretty positive about the outcome, considering that the tumor was probably growing for years. It's amazing that it hasn't elsewhere that they could see.

Hopefully the chemo will zap any microscopic cells, and she'll be able to manage this for many years to come!

 
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