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Mom diagnosis

Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello all- I just found this resource so I would love to ask all of you some questions. My mom has had quite the last 15 months. Aug 9, 2010, she was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. In the same scan, they discovered breast cancer. It was stage 3 with the Her2 nue/ positive gene. The breast cancer was worse so they treated for that. After 6 mos of the CAT regimen and another 30 radiation treatments, we thought we would be mostly on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, she started losing blood and so they found another type of cancer in her colon. ( I know that seems hard to believe but yes, three different types in less than a year). This last colon cancer was very aggressive (mutinous adenocarcinoma). It had grown to 11 cm and through the colon wall in less than 11 mos. We found out on sept. 22 that it had spread to her peritoneal cavity and was now diagnosed as stage 4 carcinomatosis.

Her oncologist has given her very little time (march or April next year). He also says she is not a candidate for the cytoreductive surgery. The chemo regimen has been 5-FU and lucovourin only. Strictly palliative in nature. All the research I have done has really led me to believe that we have no other options but when I read this board, it seems all of you are having more aggressive treatments. Now, mom is not in the best health anyway. She is only 71 but is diabetic, and the first round of chemotherapy/radiation was really tough on her. However, I want mom around as long as possible. What are your thoughts? It is hard to compare each diagnosis but I have to wonder if there is more we can do.

AussieMaddie's picture
Posts: 345
Joined: May 2011

Hi and welcome to the forum,

I'm so sorry that your mum has gone through this and that there seems so little chance of her getting well.

Those of us who have peritoneal cancer knowt that we can manage the cancer but cannot cure it, but I've not heard anyone else say that they've been given a short time. Maybe it just hasn't be said even when it's true.

I hope that others can help you with their ideas. I'm sorry that I don't feel that I can help at all. I have so few symptoms, and even no sign - so far - of the cancer except to find it in a sample of the fluid they took from my abdomen.

You might find more help under the colon or breast cancer boards in here as well.

Mostly, I just want you to know that my thoughts go to you and your mum. I shall hold you firmly in my heart.

Take good care,


abrub's picture
Posts: 2130
Joined: Mar 2010

like Memorial Sloan Kettering or MD Anderson?

My peritoneal cancer spread is from a mucinous adenocarcinoma that originated in the appendix. I was able to have cytoreductive surgery and intraperitoneal chemo with a 5FU relative (FUDR.) I also had systemic chemo of 5FU, Leucovorin, Oxaliplatin and Avastin.

Note that my tumor was not aggressive, and is of a very slow growing type. In any event, 4 1/2 years out from diagnosis, and 3 1/2 years out from treatment, I'm doing great. I don't even have another CT scan scheduled until April of 2013 (not a typo - 18 months out.)

If you can get your mother to a specialist, you may find there are other options. However, understand that tumors, even with the same name, act differently. There are no guarantees. Your mom's current drs may be right. But it never hurts to get another opinion.

Wishing the best for you and your mom,

Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks to both of you. I know mom's colon cancer was hugely aggressive. It grew from nothing to 11 cm (size of a big orange) in less than 11 months. I know this is what is in her abdomin. I know she hurts all the time. I don't want her to suffer but I don't want to lose her either. I honestly didn't realize that this was a primary cancer as well. I have lots to learn!

I am going to look to see about another set of eyes on her medical records. Her oncologist has recommended we start researching hospice already so I am wondering if I will waste my time but I am willing to do what it takes to keep her here as long as possible as long as she still wants to fight.

Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

If ur mom is willing to give it a go, I would DEFINITELY seek a second opinion. Sometimes it seems like there is no hope but if she could keep it in maintenance, she could live for another yr or two atleast. It sounds terrible but i think that if u are strong and ready it's possible.
My mother is 62. She was told in April she has peritoneal cancer. Hers is rare that it shingled off her ovary yet her ovary showed no sign of cancer. Therefore she gets treated as an ovarian cancer patient. I know we were scared. The general surgeon told her she had little time. Her's had spread to her omentum, colon, spleen, and her liver. So, we finally saw the oncologist at our local hospital and he said it was treatable and he would do his best to shrink it to the point where she could live a normal life and try and stay in a remission, or something like it. We double checked and went to University Of Penn. The doc there gave the same opinion, we said ok, and she was on chemo a week later. Carboplatin and Taxol. She had several rounds, than they did the surgery. Maybe if they did the chemo first for ur mom they could get it to the point where surgery IS possible. They got most of it and than she had some on her spleen, so they started more chemo. By the end, she actually sat in her chemo chair and her heart stopped and she was rushed to the ER. Sounds scary, but wait! They brought her back and she was ready to go home. Of course they didn't send her but it was her last chemo. He knew she needed a break. And now she doesn't go back till January. Amazing. She may lose the fight at some point, but she got through so much to live for us kids a couple more years atleast.
Your mom may have it in her. Just cause she's 71 doesn't mean they should just give up on her. Oh well. Keep us posted!

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