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Today my mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer

maneen
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2004

My mom is 84 years old....never sick a day in her life. I am terrified for her for what she faces. Surgery will be November 4 2004.....please, tell me, what can she expect. Doctor is not very optimistic....

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi maneen, I'm so glad you came to the board. First, I'd like to tell you that my father-in-law had colon cancer surgery at the age of 85, and while he's somewhat frail now, he always was sort of a sickly guy (according to my husband and his brothers) and no one really expects him to be the picture of health at 89! He drives, works on his models, etc. The surgery was tough, and he had some delirium from the anesthesia afterward, but I wouldn't be surprised if he lived to the 94 his dad did.

I wonder about the IIIC diagnosis. Ovarian cancer really can not be accurately staged until after the ovaries are removed. Will her surgery be by a gynecologic oncologist? It is important to have someone who is very familiar with ovarian cancer and staging to have the best diagnosis. There are women on this board who discuss relatives and friends who are given rough diagnosis, and then find it's not as bad as originally predicted! Hope for the best!

What is the doctor not optimistic about? A hysterectomy should not be looked on as the end of the world, even at her age. It's not the easiest thing to recoup from, even at at younger age, but I'd think about how she's been in the past few years, and shoot for getting her back to that level of health.

My in-laws are in their 80's, and all of the their sisters and brothers who are alive and are in their 70's and 80's are pretty tough cookies. The women are in better shape than the men : ), and that's expected, because we're tougher than them and live longer.

The oncologist will advise as to the usefulness of having chemo after the surgery - another reason to ensure an oncologist is involved. There are no gyn/oncologists in my area, so I went 100 miles to a larger city for my surgery. My gynecologist wouldn't consider my having the surgery in our town, even though my initial diagnosis was uterine cancer, and another doctor may have suggested I have a local surgeon do it.

Please don't give up on her yet! Geriatric docs may not have the best view of how their patients will respond after surgery, and may not want to build up your hope too much. There's a good reason why OVCA has been called the "silent disease" for so long. Women of your mom's age weren't inclined to discussing "female" cancers - especially those other than breast, and the older they are, the less they themselves are inclined to want to discuss it with anyone.

I hope this helps you - please keep hope in your heart! Cancer is not a good thing, and surgery can be a stressful thing to have to think about, but there are many old folks having cancer surgery and living on after it-spending time at any cancer center will convince you of that. I'll make a special prayer for your mom, as I'm sure others on the board will!

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

Sorry to hear of your mom's cancer. Cancer is a hard word to hear at any age. I am a stage 3c survivor and there are many at stage 4 that are counting away the years. Some young.. some old.

Sounds like they feel she is strong enough for surgery, that is wonderful. My mom passed away last year at only 79, she was very week and frail. We will keep you all in our prayers.

kschzcake
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2004

Hi Maneen. My mom was diagnosed a few weeks ago at stage IIB. How did they stage her without surgery? Originally, my mom's regular gyn told my mom that she thought her diagnosis would have to be III or IV based on the CT scan and ultrasound. Thankfully, she did refer us to an excellent gyn/oncologist. Staging happened after her surgery and wasn't as bad as the regular gyn was trying to convince us it was. I've learned from this board, everything else I've read, and experience that only a gyn/oncologist should do the surgery-no exceptions. Prognosis is directly related to this surgery- the ability of the surgeon to remove all visible cancer and correct staging.
My mom is younger than your's but I can tell you that my grandmother had open heart surgery at age 89! We were all very concerned about how she would handle the surgery but there was no alternative. She handled the surgery amazingly and it extended her lifespan. Take one step at a time and make sure your mom is under the care of a good gynecological oncologist.

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