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Very good CT results; how soon will they consider surgery?

Eric Grush
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

I am 38, and was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer (adenocarcinoma) on October 27 last year. I've had 4 rounds of chemo (EOX). After 3 rounds the large tumor at the top of my stomach/esophagus had disappeared, as had the enlargement of my lymph nodes (the CT report lists the stomach and lymph nodes as "resolved"). A lesion on my liver has shrunk from 1.2 cm to .7 cm. These seem like very good results, although I understand chemo often stops working after a while with stomach cancer, and surgery is the only path to a cure.

My question is how soon is too soon to consider surgery? My oncologist seems to want at least 6 months of good CT scans, if not more, before referring me to a surgical oncologist. Are other doctors more willing to do surgery more quickly, in circumstances where there are good chemo results for a (relatively young) person who is stage 4? I'm trying to decide whether to get another opinion regarding surgery, and if so, how soon.

Thanks in advance.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1561
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Eric and welcome to this discussion board. I would go with your gut feeling and get that 2nd opinion now. Why wait a whole 6 mos or more? Do it now while the tumors are smaller. I do not understand why your dr. would suggest waiting. What state do you live in?
Tina in Va

Eric Grush
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks Tina. I think the doc wants me to wait because they don't want to put me through a difficult surgery until they know the metastasized part of the cancer is under control and can be stopped. But to me it seems like there is a risk in waiting too long too. I don't know how to balance it. I live in a 'burb of Chicago, so there are places closeby I can go for another opinion.

have2believe
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi Eric,
First off, CONGRATS!! I'm so happy to hear the news that the chemo is working!!!! I'm much more active on cancercompass.com and if you look through there stomach cancer section you'll find people who were at stage 4 and are survivors. I can think of two off the top of my head, both had spread to liver, one got surgery, one continued w/ chemo until she could no longer handle the side effects. Here are some links:
http://www.cancercompass.com/message-board/message/all,53687,0.htm (scroll all the way to the bottom to read momwtwokids' post
http://www.cancercompass.com/message-board/message/all,53500,0.htm?mid=381955#381955
(mellb had surgery)

I really hope this helps.

Eric Grush
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you, have2believe. I will check out those links -- I wasn't aware of cancercompass.com.

Eric Grush
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

As a follow up, my Oncologist plans to talk about my case to a surgeon sooner than I had last heard - in about a month, after my next chemo round and then a scan. This is encouraging.

neverquit
Posts: 221
Joined: Oct 2010

Eric, Glad to hear such encouraging news. I believe the best outcomes are when surgery ultimately can be done. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

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