Husband Diagnosed Today with Rectal Cancer


Hi everyone, 

I am so happy forums like this exist to help people make sense of this awful disease. Today my husband found out he has rectal cancer and we are just reeling.

He had a biopsy, CT scan and MRI today so we will know more by next Tuesday what stage it is. Here's why I'm really scared: his father had colon cancer when he was in his 30's in the 1970s and had to have a colotomy (I think that is the correct term, still learning), so my husband is already at an increased risk. He had been noticing a lump about 1-2 inches in his rectum that he thought was a hemmorhoid for over a year now. The reason he though it was a hemorrhoid was that he had a colonoscopy last fall, and they removed a few polyps but not the one he had been noticing. They told him he had a few hemorrhoids but everything else looked fine. So he didn't worry about it too much and went on with his life.

Then a few months ago he started having bowel irritation, bloody stools, feelings of constipation and some of the other typical symptoms of colorectal cancer. He finally made an appointment to get treatment for what he still thought was a hemorrhoid last week, and when he went they told him he didn't have a hemorrhoid and sent him to a specialist which is where he went today. That's when we finally learned he has rectal cancer.

So now I'm really panicking since this tumor has probably been growing unchecked for over a year now. He has said that in addition to the bowel issues he has he also is experiencing some hip pain, which makes me think the cancer could already have spread to his pelvic area and be in Stage IV. I know I'm probably overreacting, and we will know more by next Tuesday, but this is all just so much to deal with all in one day. 

Thanks for hearing me out. If anyone has any knowledge of how quickly this kind of cancer can spread and progress to Stage IV, I would really appreciate the info. I've read on some sites that it usually takes a few years to get that bad, but I have no idea for sure. God bless to everyone dealing with this.

-Jo Beth


  • Lovekitties
    Lovekitties Member Posts: 3,364 Member
    Welcome Jo Beth

    So sorry you had the need to find us, but you have come to a place with lots of great folks with their own experiences as either patient or care taker, who are willing to share and support.

    Until you know the "kind" of colon cancer it is difficult to tell if it is a fast or slow growing type.  Unfortunately there are a number of varieties lumped into the catagory.  It is rare, but not unheard of, that a colonoscopy does not find the cancer even when present.  The CT hopefully will answer the questions you have about spread.

    Yes, you used the term colostomy correctly.  I have had one since my surgery 5+ years ago.  Today it is much easier to deal with than in the past (even the 70's) and many more choices to get the correct products.Getting the diagnosis is a really tough day.  Lots of questions and no answers or plan.  Take a deep breath.  Tuesday seems a long way away when you are worrying, but it will be here soon enough.  That is when things will pick up.  Can you give us a general idea of where you live (state, near major city)?  Some of our members may have experience in your area and be able to offer more specific suggestions based on their own experience.

    Hope you will continue to hang out here for info, suggestions, emotional support or just to vent.  We do it all here, since we are or have been walking the same path.

    Prayers for best possible results on Tuesday.

    Marie who loves kitties

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
    Welcome, Jo Beth

    I am sorry to hear about your husband's dx. It really is a time of panic and uncertainty. So many questions unanswered. 

    I am really glad that you have found our forum. It will be a great help to you and your husband as you move along this Cancer journey. 

    Obviously, all here on the forum, caregivers and patients, have 'Been there, done that'. Some are still 'Doing that' others are through and out the other end, so to speak, and all of us know exactly what you are experiencing. 

    Everyone of us would proabably tell you now to take a deep breath and TRY to stay calm, but we all know just how hard that it. So we emphasize the TRY.

    Marie, who posted above, is right. There are several types of Rectal/Colon/Colorectal, and all are the same but different.  My GI Doctor told me that my Cancer had probably been growing, very slowly for many years. I was 54 when diagnosed, and he said that even if I had had my colonoscopy at 50, it would have been there. So, even if your husband has been thinking he felt something for one year, and if a previous colonoscoy didn't pick your husband's tumour up last year, then maybe it is slow growing and at a very early stage. This is what you need to grasp on to at this point. 

    I have found that looking at the positive until I knew different, really helps me handle things better.  Always thing of the best senario. A positive attitude goes a VERY long way. 

    So I wish you both the best, and hope that you come here and ride this journey with us. 

    Sue - Trubrit

  • DD3
    DD3 Member Posts: 136 Member

    in there Heaven... My wife was diagnosed with rectal cancer some 2 1/2 years ago at the ripe old age of 45.  I asked the surgeon how long he thought the cancer had been there.  He repled 3 to 4 years would be his best guess. 

    As a fellow caregiver, I will tell you're not feeling any different than any other caregiver.  This is part of the whole journey.  Things will settle down... I promise. 

    The doctors will get this all figured out in regards to the staging and a treatment plan and the way forward.  Waiting is the worse though. 

    Drop in any time here.  The folks on here helped me tremendously through my wife's treatment.  So sorry you had to join us, but no better place to be for love and support.  Keep us updated.


  • sandra2468
    sandra2468 Member Posts: 2
    Prolapse and possible cancer advice most welcome


    So sorry to hear this news, my apologies for asking.

    I may be in a similar situtation too.

    I have noticed a lump but discomfort in my anus for over 2 years beginning 5 years ago with pure discomfort on waking leading to haemorrhoidal symptoms, however only one bout of bleeding in 2011 with a normal colonoscopy showing haemorrhoids, however no biopsy taken. Due to my pelvic lesions I worry as biopsy was not possible a they are very near sciatic nerve.  However they appear stable for many years although there is some involvement of the contributing nerves S1-S3.

    The discomfort has now become a full blown disability waking up with discomfort, sitting worse and relieved when standing not resting on my bottom.  However discomfort as though there is a foreign object there  all the time 24/7 now. This has all led to very weak anal sphincter muscle control and some urgency and accidents.

    To confuse the issue of have prolaspe in all 3 departments. However was told within limits on the colorectal side.

    Gynaecologist is not convinced my symptoms fit in with all of this. I was somwhat semi discharged from hospital and told to find pain management.  I am though getting worse and I believe further investigations may be an idea after reading some patients comments on this site.  If there is anyone out there who could advise on tests they had would be most grateful.  I appear to be seeing colorectal doctors and gynaecologists with conficting views. Banding, HALO, Ventral rectopexy have been named as a way forward by different specialists. My concern is that may be cancer has been missed after all. I do feel very ill with this and wake approximately 6 am with this continuing discomfort. I suffer with incomplete evacuation a need to wipe several times. Urgency to go and some anal incontenance from weak sphincter muscles. Have tried strengthening anal muscles. Diffiucult with a feeling of an obstruction in the way. 

    Uterine surgery no guarantee that this will help with my continuing anal discomfort. Ventral rectopexy a fairly new surgery. 50-60% success rate.

    Tests I have had:

    Sygmoidoscopy showing internal and external haemorrhoids 2010

    Colononscopy 2011 normal apart from haemorrhoids told needed attention/ however surgeon thought not necessary.

    Proctogram MRI lying down position - prolapse in all 3 departments

    Proctogram sitting distal intussusception 

    Any help would be most appreciated

  • UncleBuddy
    UncleBuddy Member Posts: 1,019 Member
    Hi Jo Beth

    Try not to panic. It's going to be a long ride. Just because it may be rectal cancer doesn't mean he has to have a permanent colostomy or ostomy. My brother has rectal cancer and had a temporary ostomy that was reversed after a few months. They did a lower anterior resection and did the ostomy to let the rctum and colon heal. They reverse it and he has accidents sometimes, so he wer depends just in case. 

    I know you're worried, but try not to get yourself worked up over this. The plvic pain could be anything. Wait until you get the results of all the tests, then you can make plans accordingly.

    I wish you and your husband the best.


    Please let us know how it goes. I'll say a little prayer that it's a lower stage and hasn't spread.

  • vtspa6
    vtspa6 Member Posts: 172
    Jo Beth, like you my husband

    Jo Beth, like you my husband was dxs with rectal cancer with mets to the lungs .  It is scary and your emotions will probably get the best of you at times.  I know mine did.  My husband will finally start chemo tomorrow.  He had a colostomy surgery this past Wed and he is so thankful for that.  He has not more pain of trying to have a bowel movement.  This has helped him big time!  They left the tumor alone for now, just got a colostomy bag.  Please keep us updated, we are all here for you.


  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    I just want to say that I'm

    I just want to say that I'm sorry you're here because of the reason for it. There are some really knowledgeable people on here that will be able to help you through this. I'm not one of them. I remember certain things about my cancer situation but I think I've blocked out a lot and never did keep track of anything. I wish I had now so that might be something I could suggest. Keep a journal of meds and treatments and results. It might make you feel a little more in control of the situation as well.