Advice Needed! Chemo or Not

beachinmom Member Posts: 73
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Hello everyone, My wife, age 40, was dx 4-08 with stage 1 cc. 3cm tumor of sigmoid colon. Preop CEA .6 Colon resection 5-08. Path T2NOMO - G4 LVI

Met w/ onc today. 1st appt. after surgery. We are confused as what step to take next if any. The onc. laid out the statistics but wouldn't recommend or not recommend chemo. We know stage 1 does not call for chemo.

Where we seem to be hung up is with the high grade tumor, LVI and her young age.

Can anyone offer any advice on whether chemo would be worth trying for early stage cc? Not sure if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Thanks, Mike


  • Moesimo
    Moesimo Member Posts: 1,072 Member
    I had T2N1---stage 3 so chemo was done.

    I would get a second opinion at a major cancer center. Maybe they could help with your decision.

    good luck and welcome to our group

  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    Hi. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cc last Nov. I had surgery only. My oncologist did not recommend it, but was also willing to suggest larger treatment centers if I wanted a second opinion. I chose to go with his recommendation, and all the research I've done makes me feel good about that decision. I only have 1 kidney and did not want to compromise that with chemicals that I did not need. Good luck with your decision!

  • mrsgrandlake
    mrsgrandlake Member Posts: 23
    Hey Beach, After my experience I say better safe than sorry. I was dx'd in 2005 with Stage II colon cancer, low grade, no lymph nodes involved. Did surgery removed the 2 lesions and did follow up w/ onc who did not advise chemo. Now it is standard procedure to do chemo with that diagnosis. Long story short, cancer returned now I'm stage IV with mets to the liver and lung. Chemo isn't fun, but cancer has a way of looking like it's gone but it's still there microscopically, and I was so glad I didn't have to do chemo in 2005, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have done the chemo in 2005. Just thought I should share my experience with you and you are both in my prayers!!
  • jsabol
    jsabol Member Posts: 1,145 Member
    Hi Mike and mrs.
    Sorry to have you join the semi-colon club, but hope you get the answers you are looking for. I can't be of much help; my one small polyp was positive, but 1 out of 10 nodes was also positive (at age 53). Since I was thus stage III, I went on to chemo (4 years ago). My question then was what type of chemo, as Oxaliplatin was just completing trials; we went with only 5FU and leuco.
    Does anyone do chemo for stage 1? I agree with Maureen that a second opinion is in order if your onc did not make clear recommendations. Best of luck, Judy
  • pamness
    pamness Member Posts: 524 Member
    I was Stage IIIA so I didn't have a decision to make. I do know that chemo is often not done for stage I. However, I agree with everyone else, I would go to a major medical center and get a second opinion. I am surprised your oncologist wasn't willing to be more helpful. Peace of mind is worth a lot. Good luck.

  • rmap59
    rmap59 Member Posts: 266
    My surgeon told me that I was in a gray area but if it were his wife or mother he would recommend chemo/rads to be almost sure of no reaccurance. I had rectal cancer and it has a high reaccurance rate so I said whatever it takes. I would do it again. Chemo is hard but for me I have more side effects from radiation so I am glad radiation was not mentioned. I had a big tumor 5cm and my onc said since I was young and healthy (47 at dx) he would go for the treatment. Well your wife is 7 years younger than me so hope this helps and like Pam said peace of mind is important. You will make the right decision. Also second opinion sounds like a good idea.
  • usakat
    usakat Member Posts: 610 Member
    Hello Mike,

    Sorry about your wife's diagnosis, but hopefully it was caught early and she is cured with surgery alone...chemo is drag. Anyway, you tapped into a huge resource here for information, support and friendship - welcome to our group!

    Not that my opinion really counts, but I agree with the others about getting a second opinion since your oncologist is on the fence and didn't give you and your wife a clear plan. Perhaps a second opinion at a major cancer center might help you decide.

    Something else to think about...since your wife is Stage I, maybe alternative courses of treatment might be something your wife would consider. They are less invasive and far less destructive on the body (please chime in CSN members and survivors, Scouty and Emily!). Check out the book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillan and look into fitness programs that promote good health and wellbeing (yoga, pilates, cardio, etc).

    Whatever your wife decides, whether she does chemo or not, please encourage her to maintain a rigorous surveillance regime - annual colonoscopies for a few years, CT scans and blood tests every couple of months - at least for a year or two. Remember the old saying, "the best offense is a good defense"!

    Wishing you and your wife the very best of health and happiness.


    Oh yeah....have you had your colonoscopy yet?
  • Joy1216
    Joy1216 Member Posts: 290 Member
    I was diagnosed at age 56 with stage 1 colon cancer 03/06. My tumor, which was in my cecum, was also T2N0M0. After surgery, the oncologist told me that the standard of care for stage 1 adenocarcinoma was no chemo. He recommended follow-up colonoscopies and thorough annual physicals. I felt like I needed to do something more, so I met with the nutritionist at the cancer center and followed her advice about exercise and eating a healthy, high-fiber diet. I have had two colonoscopies and two physicals since my surgery and am NED (no evidence of disease). No chemo was the right thing for me.
  • hopefulone
    hopefulone Member Posts: 1,043 Member
    Hi and welcome. This is such a hard decision that many face. My hubby stage IV, of course went thru aggressive chemo regimen and , thanks to God, after 2 major surgeries currently NED. Currently, no chemo also. It was a tough decision for us to make after the surgeries, whether to go forward with some more "preventative" chemo or not. We chose not to because of it's cumulative effects. He was fortunate that he did not have serious side effects throughout the regimen however. We felt that the risks of having the chemo continue with no evidence of disease could do him more harm than good. I urge you to research before your wife's decision is made , (studies should be available on the internet, and a second medical opinion is wise as well , but know that whatever decision you both arrive at it will be the right one for her and don't look back once you decide. Good luck and God Bless.
  • TY2HC
    TY2HC Member Posts: 46
    Hi Mike,
    I was diagnosed with stage 1 cc at age 27. I was told that I would only need to have the surgery. I did not get a second opinion, but I would recommend it. You have to do what is best for your family. I wish your wife and family well.

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  • PGLGreg
    PGLGreg Member Posts: 731
    You say your wife's oncologist laid out the statistics. I say, go with those. If further treatment improves her odds of survival, do it, otherwise not. There's no guarantee that's your best course of action, but there just are no guarantees. It's her best bet. The oncologist is telling you what her best bet is -- what else do you want from him?
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064 Member
    Hi Mike,

    sorry to hear about your wife. Thank goodness her tumor was found relatively "early" so as to have a great prognosis.

    At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN -- a world-renowned cancer clinic and research facility --they do NOT recommend chemo for Stage I or Stage II colon cancer. In fact, they have come out with a study that it does MORE harm than good. So, maybe your onc is aware of this study. Surgery for Stage I & II can be curative.

    I was stage III lymph positive in my sigmoid colon almost 7 years ago. I was 39. They told me my tumor was in there between 5-10 years. Considering that, I had cancer at a young age. So I understand what your wife is going through.

    I was advised to have adjuvant chemo -- 5FU and leucovorin -- which was standard first-line treatment at the time. I declined the chemo and here's why:

    Cytotoxic chemicals can cause

    1) permanent heart and kidney damage.
    2) secondary cancers
    3) peripheral neuropathy
    4) severe rashes
    5) diarrhea and dehydration
    6) mouth sores

    I chose to go a different path for healing my body. My oncologist at the Mayo Clinic supported my decision.

    I focused on a dietary protocol with juicing fresh organic veggies as the foundation. Colon cancers are 80% dietary related so it made more sense to me to start there. I made lifestyle changes and approached this cancer gig with a holistic attitude.

    My favorite quote for today:

    "The person who has the disease should be treated, not the disease that has the person" by Dr. William Kelley who cured himself of mestastic pancreatic cancer with a program of nutrition, detoxification and pancreatic enzymes.

    I follow the ancient advice of Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine your food."

    I consulted with a Naturopathic doctor who got me going and then I spent 6 months getting "treatments" from a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner of acupuncture, massage, lymphatic drainage, herbs, etc.

    I have remained cancer free with no recurrences for 7 years (in august).

    Everyone is different and respond differently to treatments, but this has worked for me.

    You can read more in depth about this on my webpage--and scouty's--she was stageIV and has quite a testimony on natural healing.

    I hope this helps.

    peace, emily the juice chick
  • kristasplace
    kristasplace Member Posts: 957 Member
    Hello! Late entry here, but i thought i'd put in my two cents. First of all, let me say how sorry i am you both have to go through this. It isn't any fun, and the decisions are never easy. It has always been my amazement that chemo for stage I isn't standard. I know of several people who got either recurrences, or spread many years after their surgeries. If it were me, i'd be safe than sorry, and do the chemo.

    Keep us posted, and good luck!