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Mom diagnosis - any ideas and help???

Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello all - I am new to the boards and am hoping for some insight or help with my mom. She has had quite the run of bad luck lately and I am curious to know if any of you have similar cases (although I have to say I hope not). In August of 2010, my mom had a colonoscopy. They found a 6cm tumor in the right ascending colon. She had a right hemicolectomy the next day. Stage 2 colon cancer. She had a CT scan the same day as her colonoscopy and during that scan they found two tumors in her right breast. In September, we found out that her breast cancer was stage 3a but she was HER2/nue positive. Her oncologist decided the breast cancer was what we needed to treat right away which we all agreed.

Mom went through the CAT regimen for chemotherapy and then had 30 radiation treatments. She finished her treatments in June. Unfortunately, mom kept losing blood and felt that something was wrong. Her doctor decided to move up her colonoscopy to July and they found an 11 cm tumor on her left descending colon. There was no record of this tumor on her previous CT scan or colonoscopy from the prior year so that is how fast this grew. She had a left hemicolectomy 51 weeks to the day from her first colon surgery. This one was staged at 3C as it had already gone through the colon wall and was in her lymph nodes. The actual cancer was mucinous adenocarcinoma. They were lucky enough to be able to connect the remaining colon but she has only 12 inches left.

We knew we were going to have to have another round of chemotherapy and we had asked for another scan prior to starting chemo. During the scan, they found that her cancer had spread throughout her abdominal cavity and has now been diagnosed as Stage 4 carcinomatosis. They put her on a palleative chemotherapy regimen of 5FU and lucouvorin and gave her approximately 6 to 9 months to live.

She had five treatments of this chemo and her oncologist has already canceled this treatment as she was getting too weak. I have researched this diagnosis and I know the outlook is not good. I have already asked about the debulking/cytoreductive surgery and she is not strong enough for it. I just want to know if any of you have experienced this type of cancer and what treatment options you were given.

I just have to believe with the medical technology that we have in today's world, there should be more options.

Thanks for all your help and advice in advance. I appreciate it more than you know.


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

that you have to go through this with your mom, Sherry. I've been both the caregiver (for my sister) and the patient, and I think it may actually be harder to be the one on the sidelines, unable to help someone you love. I don't have much in the way of suggestions, except perhaps to ask for a 2nd opinion. Do you have a major cancer center that you and your mom could visit (if you haven't already done so)? I know there are some other procedures that people can have done when there is spread in the abdominal cavity, like HIPEC (combines surgery with heated internal chemo), but this is an incredibly difficult procedure and it sounds like it may be too much for your mom, if she's already very weak. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Ann

abrub's picture
Posts: 2129
Joined: Mar 2010

Memorial Sloan Kettering does not do the heated chemo. They clean out as much tumor as possible, and then do a series of intraperitoneal chemo treatments that are easier on the body (but just as hard on the cancer) as the heated. I had that treatment 4 years ago, and have been in full remission since. Mine was stage 4 appendix cancer, with extensive peritoneal seeding.

It might be worthwhile to get another opinion, if your mother is up for it. Otherwise, do everything you can to keep your mom comfortable and functioning for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes there really is nothing more that can be done. Cancer isn't fair. Some of us are luckier than others in the way the disease presents or responds to treatment. Others, not so much. I'm sorry that you and your mother have to go through this.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008


I really don't have any good answers for you, but I do want to offer you my prayers that you will find a wonderful solution.


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