Is chemotherapy best idea for late stage rectal cancer?
I have a family member, aged 62, who has had rectal cancer and it was first detected back in 1991. At that time he had surgery underdone and came out with a stoma. The doctors recommended chemotherapy at that time, letting him know that he had two years to live if he did not take the option.
22 years later, not taking chemotherapy, he is still alive, however, now the cancer has spread and become late stage cancer. He has undergone the same surgery and cut off another portion of the affected colon as well as a piece of small bowel. The doctors said that they found 3 lymph nodes that are affected and recommends chemotherapy. It has not yet spread to other organs according to the CT scan. The other two doctors that he has seen have both also recommended chemotherapy. My family member is operating his daily activities fine so he believes that no treatment is needed. This belief also exists because of his past has proven the initial doctor otherwise. The doctor has mentioned that this cancer is different from the cancer in 1991 since it is now late stages and affecting the lymph nodes.
The doctor mentioned that the side effects of chemo are small, which I don't believe. He said if anything there could be dryness and cracking of the hands and feet or he may feel a little tired. The doctor has also said that no hair will fall out during this six month treatment.
The doctors have made chemo seem like a small deal, however, I am still nervous of the idea and my family member is also against it since most of his friends have passed away from or during the treatment period so there is an extreme negative stigma. Is there anyone with experience in this realm that could give me some information as to whether chemo would be a good option to take? It was the only option given and I know medical advances have come far but it seems that everything I read have very small ~2% positive benefits. I appreciate any feedback and anyone taking the time to read my concern. Thank you.