Surgeon explained about cancer

EissetB Member Posts: 133

I am a bit on a downside today, all day long. It's all about this chemo thingy and stuff!! I hated everything about this chemo!! It is toxic to our body...and the side effect & other stuff sucks!! I remembered what my surgeon explained to me when I get so down and upset..that after my surgery, the cancer were gone. The only thing he's protecting me now is to kill the floating cancer cells that may had escaped during my surgery. Meaning from the time I came out from the surgery room, I don't have the cancer anymore!! But no matter how I looked at his explaination the more I get confused. Then why do I have to get this chemo?  I was asking myself, how about there was no floating cancer cells at all? And now I am getting this therapy and might get a chance of getting sicker because of the chemicals getting inside my body system!!! This is way too much to think about. I better get to bed and put this stress away where I won't see it the next day :D


  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
    Chemo is scary and nasty. The

    Chemo is scary and nasty. The hope is that if you have enough of it it will somehow 'get' those random cells. Cancer of less than a million cells in a group is undetectible so a person can have no detectible cancer but still have a number of cells floating around that they hope the chemo will deal with. 

    I've heard two versions of a description of mop up chemo. One is dandelions. You use some sort of dandelion killer and spray your whole lawn and they're gone. Maybe you do this a few times and you're convinced you've dealt with them all. But there can still be a few rogue seeds sitting there somewhere that will come up and grow again despite what you've done. The other is wolves. You're out in the woodsa and there's a wolf out there. You can't see it, you don't know where it is but it's there somewhere. So you have something to protect you just in case. The wolf might be miles away and would never attack you but it could also be just around the next bend, waiting for you.  I prefer the dandelion one because I think its more accurate and a better vision and wolves rarely attack people, bears might be a better example. 

    The problem is that they have no idea if there are any loose cancer cells so they have to assume there are. And it's better to assume there are and treat that than to assume there aren't and find out the hard way there were. Prevention is key in cancer. I didn't have a met show up until a year after my last mop up chemo treatment. I'd been seriously considering not doing the mop up because I'd had to wait much longer than the time period they like to start it in and that seriously reduces the effectiveness. So I ended up with mets. Is it because the effectiveness was reduced?  Is it because the mop up chemo is only a certain percentage effective anyway? Is it because I had to cut the chemo short due to having a blood clot before I finished the round of treatments? Is it because the place where the mets are is where they where sticking things in my lung when I had the blood clot and they irritated the area? There's no way to know. 

    While I was torn at the time about whether or not to do it I do think it's the best idea. Its really lousy while you're doing it but if you end up not having mets ever or even for a long time you'll be glad you did. From what I've seen on here the people who have the best outcome are the ones who do what their doctors tell them. They may have tried something in addition and it may or may not have helped bu the bottom line is that they did what they were told.

    Sorry I'm not much of a help encouraging you to not to do chemo. Sadly, at this time it's our best bet for a long life. I'm sorry you're having a tough time of it but try to tell yourself you're doing the best thing for you as crappy as it is. I'm not having a bad time with the chemo I'm on right now for my mets but as my onc ups the dosage I'm finding that my fatigue is going up. I'm sad and frustrated because I thought that I've been feeling so well that I was going to have my first good summer since diagnosis. And I'm only at 80% dosage. I'm having a tough time just dragging my butt through the day. But I have to tell myself that if its working then I'm buying myself more summers in the future. It's hard now but I will probably be glad for it down the road.

    I hope this helps. Sometimes I think I blather on and on. I just hate to see someone feeling down about all of this and I want people to know that they're not alone, we all have the same feelings from time to time. The same doubts about treatment, the same fears for the future, the same exhaustion about knowing this is a life sentence and we'll always have to worry about it and fear it. Its sad and disheartening. It's unfair. It's just wrong.

    Sending you a hug.


  • mozart13
    mozart13 Member Posts: 118
    edited June 2017 #3

    What to say about chemo-I hate it, had 4 doses of folfox and alerady have numbness in tips of my fingers and toes and its not going away, never mind the weakness few days after, my blood work is in boots, skipped alerady 2 times scheduled chemo, next oxilaplatin is gonna be only 65%, but I am usually very sensitive to any meds.

    But what choice do I have, like Jan I am going to drag myself through.

    I skipped surgery beceause of complete clinical response, but are there any microcells left in site , or are there any floating cells, who knows, they are not detectable by any mean of diagnostic tools at present time, so back to choice, to decrease the posibility of reccurance and distant mets, I have to bite the bullet and go for it, and I know there is no guarantee in this bussiness, but chemo gives me head start. Things are improving in cancer treatments, eventually it will become like chronic disease, one will be able to live almost normal life with it.

    My surgeon told me  that there is no guarantty, surgery or no surgery that I wont get reccurance or distant mets down the road, my undrestandig is some times cancer cells get disturbed during surgery, and brake away, thats one of the reasons for chemo post op, even though its shooting in the dark, just like with me now, maybe will hit few cells.

    Just my opinion, good luck to you!


  • danker
    danker Member Posts: 1,276 Member

    I had chemo & radiation prior to the tumor removal.  Oncologist wanted chemo after surgery,but surgeon nixed it.

    So I never had any more.  NED 7 years since surgery.  Lucky me!!

  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,381 Member
    edited June 2017 #5

    My situation is similar to yours.  There are hard choices to be made and you need hard statistics to help you to make the choices, not generalities like "floating cancer cells."  Maybe you could get back in to see your oncologist and demand a hard evaluation of your chances of recurrence and the chances that chemotherapy will help.  For me, those numbers are that chemotherapy has a  one in ten chance of helping.  There is a 20% chance I will have a recurrence even with the chemo, and a 70% chance that I will be disease free.  If they have not provided you with information like this, then it is very hard to make choices about whether or not to continue chemotherapy.  Then you can conduct your own research about optimizing your chances, either with or without chemotherapy.  Listen to what other people say, but only you can make the best decision for you.  Good luck with your choices.

  • Kazenmax
    Kazenmax Member Posts: 463 Member
    edited July 2017 #6
    adjuvent chemo


    I was in the same place June 2016. Both my surgeon and my oncologist said that after surgery I was "cured". However, they both recommended additional chemo.

    I saw studies that said the "wait and see" method was about as sure as chemo after surgery so I asked my doctors. My surgeon said that he took the question to the hospital board. He said that because the colon/rectum area is very "blood rich", there is no way to really know if microscopic cancer cells escaped during surgery. He felt positive that he got all the cancer, but all agreed that to be more certain, extra chemo was necessary.

    I will tell you that it was rough but now a year later, I'm on a 3-month check and  so far I'm NED. Just wanted to share my experience. It's a tough decision.

    Good Luck


  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,742 Member
    edited July 2017 #7
    It's Mopup Chemo

    A lot of people do it and me too.  It's done because the initial chemo/radiation could be successful there can become loose pieces.  It's ok to feel frustrated.  Mine was chemo and radiation then surgery then more chemo.  It's very hard on yoiur body but you can do it.  Good luck.



  • NewHere
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,427 Member
    Lymph Nodes

    Take a look at your pathology report and surgery report.  Take a look at the extent of the surgery. When the operated on me the tumor was larger than shown on the scan a couple of weeks earlier and extensive.  The pathology report showed 11 out of my 20 lymph nodes were cancerous - which means the cancer were on the roadways to get to the rest of the body.  (There were suspect spots and one turned out to be cancer that was monitored then removed.)  So some of the details in those reports can also help explain the chemo.