I'm so glad I found this board. I have a couple of questions and I am hoping that some of you may have some answers or "guesses" for me. A couple of weeks ago my mom went for her routine annual check-up. During her rectal exam the notice that she had blood so they referred her to a surgeon.
On Friday of last week she went to have a colonostomy and they found a rather large mass in her colon. They did a biopsy on it and we should find out the results on Wed. The doctor seemed to think it was a good chance that it was cancerous. My aunt that was with her asked the surgeon if she thought it could have been pollups and her exact words were "If it was pollups, I could have removed them today". They went ahead and sent her for a CAT scan and she has to go and do some x-rays tomorrow. We meet with the surgeon on Wed at noon to find out the results. I have listed some questions and any help or insight would be appreciated.
1. What are the chances that the mass is NOT cancerous? They did state that they tried to use the smallest tube possible during the colonostomy and were unable to get around the mass. (They are pretty sure they are going to have to do surgery to remove the mass)
2. In removing the mass, how is this done? I would assume with the size of it, it would be a open surgery and not laproscopically.
My mom also has some other health problems (high blood pressure, swelling in her arms and legs and a shunt in her head) so I'm a little concerned about how well she would do with treatments other than surgery. Any help would be appreciated as at this point I'm just beginning to research this information.
I am not as knowledgable as some, but when I got diagnosed with rectal cancer in July, the dr told me that after a mass is a certain size in the colon, it is almost always cancerous.
As for your mom's other health conditions, a whole lot of folks have various things like diabetes, high blood pressure and the like, and do just fine with treatment.
While many of us here are younger, like most cancers, this is more common in the elderly, and often other health problems exist. So drs expect this and overwhelming folks do fine with the treatment despite there other health conditions.
Sorry to hear about your mother. It sounds like the doctors are on the right track. My recommendation is have a COLON RECTAL SURGEON do the surgery. If this mass is rectal cancer, your mother will probably have chemo/radiation prior to her surgery, followed up with more chemo after the surgery. If it's colon cancer, they will do surgery first, then chemo and possiblly radiation.
I believe most doctors prefer to remove the cancer via open surgery. They are able to look around for possible spreading and the chances of reoccurance are higher with the laproscopy surgery (unless the cancer is stage 1- then it is possible to remove via laproscopy surgery).
The doctors are usually pretty sure if they are seeing cancer or not. The biospy will tell for sure. Her other health issues should not effect her greatly as far as dealing with this cancer.
It sounds like they are staging her now, with regards to c-scans etc. Good luck with Wed.'s doctor visit.
Thanks you Lee for your information... once they started talking about doing more x-rays, bloodwork and CAT scans, I was pretty sure they were seeing something they were really concerned about.. i'm not sure if I mentioned it in my previous post, but it seems like the mass is higher up in her colon and not really affecting her rectum.. she hasn't had any bleeding prior to her annual exam and she isn't having any bleeding now.... thanks again for your help! I will let everyone know what we find out on Wed..
My 70 year old father will also find out on Wednesday, 10/4 the results of his biopsy taken from his colonoscopy last week. Initially, my father thought his upset stomach and vomiting was a recurrence of his hernia. Last week, in a matter of two days, he had an appointment with his primary physician, an immediate blood draw, CAT scan and a colonoscopy. Basically, Colon Cancer is suspected. My father has been on a liquid diet since last week. I too was looking for advise on questions to be asked to the doctor. Personally, I always leave dr consultations forgetting all that was said and having not asked enough questions.
I am so sorry to hear about your father. I guess you cannot really plan until you get a definite diagnosis but it is good to be prepared. I am wondering if he is on a liquid diet because there is a blockage? That might explain the vomiting. If he does have a tumour, it might well have to be removed quickly to prevent a complete blockage. Sometimes, chemo and radiation (if the tumour is in the rectum) are given before surgery. The first thing to find out is if it is malignant and then what the treatment plan is. Staging will be done at surgery unless something shows up on the ct scan, ie liver or lymph node involvement. When you have a definite diagnosis, do come back to us and let us help in any way we can. There are lots of people here who have been through this and are doing well, so try not to be discouraged. It is a frightening time for your family but treatment is available.
Love and prayers,
Husband dx July 2003, advanced rectal cancer stage 111C; myself dx July 2006 indolent lymphoma; husband dx February 2010, stage 2 prostate cancer.
Yes, it is because of a blockage that he has the upset stomach and is vomiting and is on the liquid diet. Also, his cat scan report said that his liver and kidneys were clean. I think following his appointment on Wednesday surgery will be scheduled asap to remove the diseased portion of his intestines. We are all trying to think positive and are anxious for Wednesday. Thank you!
My 74 year old dad had a colonoscopy 2 weeks ago and a mass was found in his ascending colon as well as two polyps. He received the biopsy report yesterday and it was confirmed that the mass is indeed cancer and the polyps are precancerous. His doctor had told him immediatley after the colonoscopy that he was almost 100% sure that it was cancer. So I think most doctors can identify cancerous masses in the colon before pathology reports confirm it. He also spoke with his surgeon yesterday who told him that they will have to go through his abdomen to remove it thru surgery - it cannot be done via a laparoscopy.
thanks sealy67 for your help... as for the surgery, when they go through the abdomen, does anyone know how long she may have to stay in the hospital and what the recovery time would be? thanks for all your help!
I will echo the advise to make sure you find a good Colorectal Surgeon rather than just going with a general surgeon. Colorectal surgeons face this sort of thing all the time and are best experienced to do the surgery. Also, I don't know what other people's experience are, but my surgeon was wonderfully honest with me. He recognized that my tumor was cancerous and told me immediately with the caveat, "I could be wrong, but I've seen a lot of these things and I want you to know that you are dealing with something very serious". He also got back to me in less than 24 hours with the biopsy report. This may not be possible in all hospitals, but in my experience a good surgeon should be able to work the system and get results for his clients. My guy knows how painful it is to wait - he always calls me with CT results within hours of the scan. I feel very lucky to have him and I recognize that many doctors do not feel the same sense of urgency.
As for length of hospital stay, probably a week or slightly more depending on his health and the severity of the surgery.
Other considerations: She will probably have a colostomy - at least a temporary one. Discuss this with the surgeon. Find out whether it even makes sense to have a reversal. The surgeon will want to take into account your mom's age and other health problems. Educate your mom on the colostomy before hand. It's not really that bad, but it sounds horrible. Make sure you plan the location of the stoma before hand (if possible) to insure maximum comfort for her.
The only other advise I would recommend is walk, walk, walk. They will try to have her walking (maybe just a few feet) the same day as surgery. This helps speed up the recovery/healing process, and really does help to wake the bowels following surgery. Have her try to walk as much as possible. I was suppose to be released from the hospital on a Saturday morning, but my surgeon released me Friday evening, when the nursing staff informed her I was walking around the hospital parking lot (with my brother). I really wanted out of that hospital badly.
Hugs to all who have a loved one facing abdominal surgery.
Where I come from, the surgical patient will stay in the hospital until they have a bowel movement.
Until then, I echo Lee's advice...
walk, walk & walk!!