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Recurrence in the Colon??

jcavanaugh
Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

My dad was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in May 2002. He had surgery in June and July to remove everything (including one spot on his liver). Then, he received chemo (campostar) for 14 months. He received a clean PET scan in December 2003. In March 2004, his CT scan showed some spots on his liver and a spot on his colon (hepatic flexure - where his colon was reconnected during surgery). Brief Background - In April 2003, this spot on the colon was evident on a PET scan so the oncologist ordered a colonoscopy (completely clean - just irritated). PET scan in December 2003 did not light up in this spot. Now, this spot is back. Very weird?? Has this happened to anyone else. Now, liver surgeon says he can cut out or burn spots in liver and resect colon if necessary. According to the liver surgeon, if all of the cancer is contained in the liver, we are in good shape and still on a way to the five year mark because it is operable; however, if what is on the colon is cancer then we begin all over again. I guest my question is: Has anyone had a weird spot like this on their PET scan that turned out to be nothing? Liver surgeon said it could be an infection or something else. PET lights up other stuff besides cancer. Please advise!!

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Well, that is one of the downsides of all this "modern technology". I am in a similar situation. My CT scans in Nov. were fine, but in Feb. they saw two very tiny "spots" on my right lung. They are so small, only 3-4mm, that they cannot tell from the CT what they are for sure. So then they ordered a PET scan. The smaller of the two spots did not light up at all, and the larger one did show some uptake of glucose, but not what would be expected from a recurrent cancer. The wierd thing that I learned is that any area of inflammation will light up. For example, there was uptake of glucose at my liver resection site, in my urinary tract, in my throat, etc. etc. Clearly that does not mean that I have cancer in all of those areas, just irritation for various reasons. So my PET scan was "clear", even though some spots light up. Ask the doctor if there is any way to biopsy that spot on your dads colon. If not, then unfortunately, you probably have to just watch and wait. With all of the modern equipment they have now, unfortunately, we sometimes find things that are not even cancer, or WAY before anything can be done about them even if they are cancer. The good thing is that things are detected early - good for a person physically, but not mentally!
Keep us posted, Susan

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