biopsy results after surgery????

betula Member Posts: 86

Hi there,

My 47yr old husband was diagnosed with stage 2 rectal cancer in December and has been through chemo and radiation and just had surgery which resulted in permanent colostomy due to the location of the tumor.  He will have more chemo to go too.

He had a biopsy prior to treatment that allowed them to stage his cancer.  At that time they said that there were no lymph nodes around affected, it had started to go through the rectal wall but was contained.  No problems on CT scans in liver, lungs, etc.  After his surgery the surgeon said that everything was very inflamed and he is not sure if it is from treatment or that the tumor was "angier" than they had thought but we won't know until these biopsy results come back and they can check the margins, lymph nodes etc. 

Did anyone have a worse prognosis after surgery than prior to?  The surgeon's information was a little unsettling as I had it in my head that after surgery and the last chemo he would hopefully be good for a while but of course would anticipate problems down the road with a reoccurance or another cancer.

I know every one's situation is different but just trying to find some light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for any info,




  • EissetB
    EissetB Member Posts: 133
    edited April 2017 #2
    When I had my colonoscopy

    When I had my colonoscopy then biopsy, the result came back as benign. Then 3 weeks later the doctor sent me for another colonoscopy for a second opinion. It was a stage 3!!! The second doctor found 2 massive tumor and needed a surgery the next day!! Yes, sometimes doctors make mistakes!! It happened to me...and I am now on FOLFOX for 6 months, 12 sessions of treatment

  • zx10guy
    zx10guy Member Posts: 273 Member
    Biopsies are only a guess at

    Biopsies are only a guess at what is going on.  When biopsy samples are taken, it's only at certain points of the tissue being sampled.  If the doctor has pretty good access to a good area of the mass, then chances are the doctor will be able to get a good sampling.  But this sampling is only on the surface of the mass.  The doctor has no idea what is happening deeper into the tissue.  When my polyp was found in my appendix last year, my GI doc was only able to sample part of the polyp.  The other part was hidden by the appendix.  The results came back as high grade dysplasia.  Not cancer but close.  The pathology after surgery said appendicial cancer stage 0.

    With rectal cancer, there's a distinction on staging.  What you received prior to the surgery pathology is a clinical staging.  It's a best guess based on any biopsies and scans done.  It's not a pathological staging which is the final end all be all.  Your surgeon should have explained this to you.  Sometimes, the pathological staging is better than the clinical.  Sometimes worse.

    I also had colon cancer stage 3b which was my first diagnosis and trip down this wretched disease.  Prior to surgery, a CT and PET scan was done which didn't show anything more than the primary tumor in my decending colon and two lesions in my liver which were later determined to be hemangiomas.  So there was hope that I would be stage 2 based on the scans and what was seen in the colonoscopy.  Pathology comes back and 1 lymph node was affected out or 17 removed.  There are other things which the pathologist will be able to see which no scan can pick up.  Things like vascular/neuro invasion which also has an affect on prognosis and staging.

    I don't mean to add to your anxiety but the true answer is going to come from that pathology report where the pathologist can cut apart the removed tissue and examine it under a microscope.

  • SandiaBuddy
    SandiaBuddy Member Posts: 1,381 Member

    My biopsy from the colonoscopy was inconclusive, but after colectomy, it turns out I had stage 3 cancer with 3/27 lymph nodes involved.   Sometimes it seems medicine is an inexact science.  Sorry if my experience does not provide you with comfort, but it is probably best to be prepared for the range of possibilities.