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Stage II, chemo; yes or no?

Raiderfan
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013

Hello,

I'm a 37 year old male and was diagnosed in late June 2013.  I had resection surgery at the end of July and I'm starting to feel a little better.  I have my first appointment with an oncologist this week and anxious is an understatement regarding how I feel.  From what I have read so far it looks like chemo or watch/see is about 50/50 in terms of next steps for folks in my age range/stage.  I'm hoping to get some feedback on what chemo is like and if working is still an option.  Knowing that all medications will affect people differently I understand that my situation will not follow exactly what others have been through.  Basically I'm really nervous and would love any information.

Thank you.

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 1240
Joined: Jun 2013

I think the hardest part is behind you. It would be hard for any of us here to even suggest anything for you. The best approach is get 2-3 opinions from independent institutions and then make your decision. Big part of it is what kind of tumor did you have. Family history? Did you have genetic counseling?

Do the work, good luck and the best outcome for you.

Laz

steveandnat's picture
steveandnat
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

I pray that they caught your cancer early and maybe surgery will be good enough . Worst case is probably some chemo treatments. Keep us posted. Jeff

darlad
Posts: 18
Joined: Nov 2010

I was diagnosed with Stage 11 Colon Cancer in 7 2010.  My doctor had genetic test performed that indicated I was at high risk for reoccurrence.  After surgery, my physician recommended that I start chemo.  I recall feeling overwhelmed and wanted to do anything possible to get rid of the problem (cancer).

I had quite a few problems from taking the chemo but I am grateful that I was given the opportunity for treatment.  For me, if the cancer would have reoccurred years later I would have felt that I could have done more from the beginning.

At the time, I prayed for the right answer to make itself known to me and then I relied on my doctors’ knowledge and expertise to assist me to make my decision to proceed accordingly.  I feel the doctor knows all the facts of your specific case and can provide you an educated opinion on the best alternatives. If you are not comfortable with your physician, then I would make certain to have a second opinion.     

For me personally, if I were to go back and make this decision again, I would follow the same treatment plan.  I wish you the best of luck and hope your decision feels “right” for you.  Thinking of you…

Sincerely,

Darla  

 

LindaK.
Posts: 506
Joined: Apr 2013

Diagnosed in December, 2012.  Right hemi-colectomy to remove large tumor, which oncologist said pathology put him at high risk.  He was 59, turned 60 during treatment.  Onc. said chemo for his age and type of tumor would give him about 8% improvement on the chances of reoccurence.  My husband didn't think that was a lot, but in the cancer world, we have found out it is a lot.  He decided, rather reluctantly, to do chemo, 12 rounds of Folfox.  He does not work so that was not an issue for him, but if he had to, I think he would have been able to work at least part time.  He hated going anywhere with the pump on.  He had extreme constipation from day 1 of chemo.  Drugs were adjusted, but after 5 treatments he ended up back in the hospital when they decided to stop the oxaliplatin portion of the treatments.  7 sessions of 5FU and Leucovorin, which he tolerated much better.  Also kept ahead of constipation. All doctors we spoke to (our gp, cardiologist, doc who did colonoscopy, surgeon) said "You need the chemo" so he put his faith in their hands.  Our oncologist said more than once "You're 59, not 89 so I highly recommend it"  And if you're only 37, I would think most doctors you come in contact with will recommend chemo also.  He also wanted to feel he had done everything he could right now to avoid cancer in the future, but you never know so you never can be sure.  I think you will need to feel out your oncology appt. this week.  If you don't feel comfortable, get a second opinion. We felt comfortable with our onc. right from the start.  We have since found out all cancer centers in our area treat his type of cancer pretty much the same.

He is getting his first scan right now and his follow up with oncologist is Thursday.  If the scan shows anything, I know my husband will be so disappointed, but we're hoping for the best. 

Hopefully your oncologist will give you the stats for people your age, they will probably suggest a week or so for you to make up your mind.  Discuss it with your loved ones, they will be part of your treatment plan also.  Best wishes, there's a lot to digest at first.  If you do decide on IV chemo, I would strongly suggest the power or medi port - it makes treatments much easier.

Linda

ajouteast
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

I was diagnosed in January of this year.  I am 46.  Had surgery to remove the "mass" at the end of January.  In March I started chemo (Folfox).  My oncologist left the decision up to me.  But he said he was seeing "good results" with people who had had the chemo at stage II level.  When asked if I was his daughter what would he recommend, he said he would definitely have her do the chemo.  The thought was to do everything possible to increase your odds.  So I did it.  I have one treatment left.  It's been a long road, but I think it was worth it... for me anyway.  I have been able to work through the whole chemo treatment.  (They stopped the oxi portion of treatment at round number 4 because the neuropathy was so bad.  Other than that, no problems.)  Everyone reacts differently, but the nausea wasn't too bad.  The contipation and the diarrhea were the worst of it.  But, I learned the pattern and was able to take colace to help with the constipation.  Now looking at treatment number 12 coming up next Monday... I am very happy with my decision.  I know that I've done all that I can at this point to fight this horrible disease.  Best of luck with your decision and treatment should you choose to do it.

Cathleen Mary
Posts: 827
Joined: May 2011

Welcome to the forum.  Anxiety is high in the beginning days so take a deep breath.  I, too, am stage 2 diagnosed four years ago at age 59. From everything I have read and experienced, there is no right or wrong decision. I chose no chemo.  This decision was made after a second opinion at another major medical center and a meeting with the tumor board. The best advice I can offer is to take the time to choose the best team and the best hospital for you.  It is well worth the time and the effort. 

I have no regrets about my decision even though my CEA is slowly rising.  Scans still clear.  Although my age did not influence my decision, it might have at 37....I have no way of knowing. 

Know this is a great place to come whatever decision you make. Wishing you every blessing in whatever you decide. 

Be gentle with yourself.

Cathleen Mary

impactzone's picture
impactzone
Posts: 542
Joined: Aug 2006

stage 4 here and I have always believed that you do all you can to fight the disease. Chemo sucks but you know you are fighting. Some great advice here and following your onc is a great plan. Whatever you decide, forge ahead

Chip

Raiderfan
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2013

I can't thank everyone enough for the replies and support.  The stories shared have me feeling better and also provided a great sense that life is not over.  I have one appointment tomorrow and another on Friday. My goal is to have a solid plan in place by Friday evening.  My thought right now is that chemo is a good idea.  I would like to do whatever I can to keep things from getting worse.  Update to follow Friday.

Thank you all again,

John

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

I was stage II in 2007 and told Chemo was not necessary.  I did another surgery in 2010 and Chemo followed.  Another surgery in 2012 and Chemo followed.  Another urgery in 2013.   

 

If I had done Chemo would I have done the other surgeries? Would it have beat cancer into remission?  etc....  One can not second guess the past. It is just not productive. I would go with your best intuition!  Chemo beat the snot out of me.  The second time was more difficult then the first time.

Things I would do different:  

I was a bit over weight.   I would lose any extra pounds as fast as you can. (Obviously in a safe and life changing way.)

I would start eating an exceptionally healthy diet.  (No more chemicals, fast food, junk food, etc...)

I would start exercising as much as you can. 

The idea is to get the body as healthy as posible, as soon as posible.  If your immune system can not fight off the cancer, then neither can the chemo.

I would start juicing.  The added micro and macro nutrients can not hurt ou and they may be able to build your immune system as strong as posible.  It also tastes good!

 

We are sending our thoughts and prayers to find the answer that works for you!

Best ALways, mike

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