Mum had op for rectal cancer last year and radiation therapy. two months ago a scan showed tumours in both lungs. Specialist said it looks as though rectal cancer has spread. We are waiting for appt on Wednesday to discuss treatment for mum. She feels she has no hope and I was wondering if anyone has any experience of this and what are we to expect? Is this a death sentence for my mum, or will chemotherapy get rid of the cancer this time? Specialist is worried that it could be in other places as well. We are so upset by it all, I need to think straight to get her the best possible treatment and help her stay positive, any suggestions would be appreciated.
There are treatments available for lung mets other than chemo. Targeted radiotherapy, sir spheres, partial thoracotomy, wedge resection, etc. Do not give up hope and take your mother along witht he scans for a consult with a thoracic surgeon. Oncologists tend to think in terms of chemo, but a thoracic surgeon will determine if the mets are resectable. Unless the cancer is widespread throughout the lung, something can be done.
Interventional radiologists are good too for things like radio frequency ablation (RFA), Sir-Spheres, or chemoembolization. LESLIETOO is right. Most chemo doctors think in terms of medicine. By the way, I have had stage IV CC for 2 years now. I just finished 19 months of chemo which stopped doing its job, so I'm checking into one of the above procedures right now. I'll know next week after a bit more testing which one I will be a candidate for. While metastatic cancer is not good, it is not automatically a "death sentence." I have a friend who has had stage IV colorectal cancer for 10 years now and has had every procedure in the book and still lives a vital and active life!
Hello to all. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in August of '04, during my first colonoscopy. I was 55 years old (female). The mass and 9 polyps were removed at that time and the dr told me he was "98 % sure he got it all," so I had no further treatment or surgery.I was told that I was either stage 0 or I. I have spent the past 4 1/2 years in constant, very aggressive monitoring, ie:, CT scans, PET scans, 15 colonoscopies, 10 Endoscopies, CEA & blood tests every 3 months. I have had 25 polyps removed, but every 3 months have been assured that all is well. 4 months ago, my CEA started rising rapidly. From 3.3 to now at 12.9. I have been flying from Orlando to Houston to go to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center because I've always heard they are the best. I will cut to the chase here... A biopsy for lung cancer ( in Dec) came back positive for cancer and "most likely" metastatic from rectal cancer. I have now been diagnosed with "Stage IV Recurrent Colo-rectal cancer with distant mets to the lung." I just got my CT scan results from last week and it is shows: "Indeterminate liver lesion, can be followed," AND "Aorotocaval lymph node and perirectal adenopathy of concern for metastatic disease." I had a chemo port installed last Friday and will start chemo on Monday. I was scheduled to have the lower lobe of my right lung removed a week ago, but after the CT scan, it has been "postponed" to see how I react to 6 weeks of chemo and then another CT/PET. I'm trying not to even go into how terrified I am right now. I just do not understand how I could have monitored so aggressively, every 3 months, and have this diagnosis. To me, the last CT report is showing that (most probably) I also have liver mets and rectal lymph node involvement. Could someone please tell me if you agree with my take on the CT report? I have read that I only have an 8% survival rate of 2 years. I know that everyone is different, but I am so very depressed, alone and scared. Thank you for listening. God bless
Just came in to do some reading and research re: my mom who is living with Stage IV colon cancer which has spread now to her lungs and saw your post.
She was first diagnosed May 10, 2005. At that time it was in her colon and found w/a colonoscopy. She had just turned 62 the month before. She was scheduled for and underwent an emergengy colostomy to alleviate complete bowel obstruction from a 33cm tumor that had also grown out thru the bowel and into the abdominal cavity. Next came approx 3 months of radiation followed by 3 months of chemo (5 FU and CPT 11). The tumor was only shrunk by approx. 15%. Next came tumor removal surgery and then 3 months to recover from all up to that point. Spring of '06 cea was back up and pet scan revealed cancer had spread to her rectum and lymph nodes under left arm. More Radiation on the rectum and colon and then more chemo for lymph nodes/anywhere else it might be. She was told she had no more visibles in May '07. Monitored bloodwork every other month until Jan. '08 when told it was back in the rectum and colon. 6 more radiation treatments on the rectum, followed by 6 more months of chemo.
She finished the last chemo last Fall in Sept. and told everything looked good. Nov. bloodwork not good, new Pet Scan and chest xray revealed it's now traveled on to her lungs. SHe is on her 4th week of chemo this round and now there is no end period instead she is told she will be on chemo every week until cured or toxicity levels occur.
I tell you all this first and foremost to let you know that you are not alone as you stated in your post and also to let you know that there are people like me who care. I have learned alot from reading everyone's journeys here and I hope you will too!
If you just want to chat about the weather to how does this all make you feel. I believe we can all be of help and support to each other, whether near or far. Stay in touch and let me know how you're doing.
My mom says, "Stay strong!" and I say to you May God bless you both.
I am here and so are you!!!
Jill, thank you so very much for your reply. My goal is to become as strong as your Mom. Everyone keeps telling me how "strong" I am, but I don't feel that way at all right now. I suppose I'm just going through the "normal phases," although I seem to be hung up in the "angry & terrified" phase. Did your Mom gain a lot of weight? I have gained 25 pounds in the past year. I quit smoking (cold turkey) Oct 08 and put on yet another 15! Last week, my dr put me on an anti-depressant, and (of course) the first side effect is 'weight gain.' I start chemo on Monday and my dr mentioned that steroids will be also given, so more weight gain. The details of your Mom's journey since 05 is a scary one, but she has survived, so I will try very diligently to remember that and take one day at a time. When it gets dark outside is when the isolation and lonliness is unbearable for me right now. My husband is by my side, but I still feel so alone. I will let you know how it's going after the chemo begins. Maybe it won't be as awful as I'm imagining. Take care and tell your Mom that she is my new hero.
Hey JJ, Glad You saw my message and also to hear back that you are going to take Mom's advice. As for your questions, here goes.... Mom was also a smoker for forty years. She quit also cold turkey the month before she was diagnosed in April of '05 because she was feeling so sick she said for the first time since she started they made her nauseous and tasted like "crap". She also has been given steroids along with the chemo infusions (port put in her chest when they did the emergency colostomy in '05). Initially she did gain weight (around 25lbs), but she has yo-yoed up and down since then. We see the chemo oncologist and the radiation oncologist both again on Tuesday when she has her next treatment. She was also put on anti-depressants in '06 but quit taking them after about 9 months. Said she didn't like how they made her feel. I told her about you and what you are going thru and she asked me to tell you that she is no angel, she also is scared and fearful, however she said to remind you that your strength will come and you will endure and the love and support of your husband and family, friends and medical team, and most of all your faith will carry you, even when you get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
So you see dear JJ, there is nothing I could say that will top those ideals..... for I believe my mom is one of the strongest people I know and her heart is true and if her story can help you or anyone else I owe it to her to share it as she has asked.
As for the weight gain, depression, hair loss, other side effects you may get, I say "Don't sweat the small stuff!" As I tell my mom and now you, it is only superficial. The "real you" will always be there. Cancer cannot take that, not if you don't let it!
Stay in touch and let us (me and mom and others here) know how you are and remember, you are thought of and cared for by more than you know.