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stage 4 colon cancer with liver/bone mets

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi, my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last year, after having surgery and chemo everything was looking good. Two weeks ago she was informed she has liver and bone mets. I am scared and devestated...I am a nurse, but when its your family common sense and everything you learn goes right out the window. She plans to start chemo again in the next several weeks. Does anyone have an idea what her life expectancy is or prognosis. She will go home with a pump containing chemo...does it really work?

I would appreciate any comments. Thanks

Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello. I'm sorry to hear about your sister. Life expectancy and prognosis--all I can say is don't believe what the doctors might tell you. I think a positive attitude and a good support system contributes to our life expectancy. I was diagnosed stage 4 with met to the bone in 2/03, and they didn't think I was gonna make it, and here I am 17 months later alive and kicking. I had a recurrence in May with a nasty little brain tumor, but I said I was gonna kick this stuff's butt, and we did radiation therapy and here I sit, bald, but alive.
So basically, what I'm trying to say is, your sister needs to keep a positive attitude, believe she can kick some cancer butt, and you and the rest of your family need to have that same positive outlook.
As far as the pump for chemo goes, I didn't personally have one, but I know a couple of other people who do, and they have had no problems whatsoever.
You hang in there and keep a positive attitude!!!!

Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

I also am sorry to hear about your sister.It is tough news even when you have medical knowledge. That knowledge helps out though in the long run, once you have a chance to get over the initial shock of the situation. As Mel said a positive attitude helps a great deal.

Although the potential for cure is low, life expecancy is only a statistic that applies to a large group. There are a number of people here with stage 4 disease who are feeling well. I was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal carcinoma with peritoneal carcinomatosis 9/02. I am still feeling well, I have been on oxaliplatin/Xeloda (the oral 5-FU like drug) for 1 yr.

Although more recently treated with Xeloda, I have been on continuous IV 5-FU with a pump in the past. It was quite easy to deal with. It is thought that continuous infusion of 5-Fu may be more efficacious than bolus injections.

If she has not already been to a major cancer center for evaluation it may be useful to consider this. They often have access to drugs through clinical trials that may not be available elsewhere.

Bone metastases are not as common as liver metastasis. I think I have read somewhere that there are some some biphosphate drugs that have been used for primary bone tumors and may help in the case of metastastatic disease also. Maybe this is something to inquire about.

Here is hoping that your sister responds well to treatment for a very long time.

Best wishes,


nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

Your sister could be elegible for a trial; call the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER, and they will research available trials for you, or you can do your own research at www.cancer.gov Bud

Anonymous user (not verified)

I am so very sorry to hear about your sister. Yes, I know how devastating it can all be. Two years ago my mother was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer....last year, my husband and the absolute love of my life was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. Needless to say, it's been a roller coaster ride ever since.

My mom's "statistical" outlook at her stage was about 12 months. Point here being is that after a few months of chemo, she went into clinical remission that lasted almost 8 months. Although the cancer did come back, and we knew it would, it didn't make it any less of a shock when it did. However, she is now in a clinical trial chemo and it is working. It will be two years in September and she is going strong...and that's a big blessing.

My husband, at stage III, was hopefully cured with surgery. However, four nodes were positive (high recurrence odds) and he will be finishing up chemo in two weeks. He has been on well over 10 months, the firs four on just 5fu/leuc and then after switching oncologist, oxaliplatin was added to the cocktail because of his high recurrence risk. So far, so very good...he's clean and he gets his chemo and has been getting his chemo for the last six months via pump over a period of 46 hours...that's just the 5fu. It's much easier for many folks to tolerate and yes, if chemo works, it works just as well as direct infusion over a period of a couple of hours and is a little less harsh on the system.

As far as survival odds or length of time for your sister...heck, no one can say. There are plenty of stage IV's right here on this board who've been around for quite some time, some even cured, and still going strong. My husbands oncologist treats three of them that have been in "remission" for well over 8 years. Only God can determine how long each of us have on this earth. All we can do is try to seek the best medical treatment that we can and not give up hope that our time hasn't come yet and that God will help us on our journey. Hang in there for your sister and give her the support and strength that she will need. Having fought this demon already, she sounds like a real tough cookie to me so please, don't you go and through in the towel by asking "how long has she got." May, and hopefully, and most likely, a lot longer than you think.

Big, big hugs,

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003


I was 33 when I was diagnosed with stage 4...my mets was to two lymph nodes and 40% of my liver. Today, I am all clear. I too had the chemo pack which fed the chemo right into my port continuously. And I'm not kidding when I tell you I had NO side effects. I was confident they were giving me a placebo, as nobody even knew I was sick while getting treatment. Today, at 36 (and a half!) I am healthy and no signs of cancer whatsoever.

Tell you sister to stay strong, and positive. Have her e-mail me through this web site if she has more personal or detailed questions or concerns she may have. There are some very inspirational books she can read, but sometimes it's hard to keep your mind from racing long enough to sit down and read something.

Tell her not to concern herself with statistics regarding prognosis. Everyone here will agree that if doctors are that good at predicting timelines, then they should also give each patient some winning lottery numbers as well.

Everyone here understands what you are going through as a caregiver, but probably one of the most vivacious people here is Monika (monikaz)...she is a true pillar of strength, and will be able to help you understand how to best help your sister.

Please keep us posted,


P.S. Two VERY encouraging words...LANCE ARMSTRONG...talk about beating odds!

Anonymous user (not verified)

Ah Stacy thanks!!! I owe it all to you guys for helping me see this nightmare through. You continue to stay healthy....you are one of my biggest inspirations for hope for my Bert and mom.


Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2005

Stacy, Did you have a liver resection? How about a intrahepatic pump to the liver? Glad to hear you're doing so well.

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004


I am sorry for your sister's recent diagnosis, but as others have said, cancer is no longer a death sentence. Hopefully, she will respond to the new chemo she is being given and will not have any side effects.

I had the continuous pump along with a bolus of 5 FU. I have a Groshong Catheter and on my final treatment, the tubing came apart, and I had to go back to the cancer center to get it repaired. It was not a big deal and I think that it happened because my oncology nurse shortened the tubing and didn't get everthing put back correctly.

Please keep us posted on your sister's progress. She is blessed to have you as a sister.



Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Heya, I am Randy(that is my name!)

I have not yet had the courage to ask what stage my cc is in. I have what they refered to as seeds all over my guts, whatever that means, I will be asking. I just turned 30. I am on 5fu/leuc/oxi coctail, I would rather a Martini but so it goes. They were unable to remove a "woman's fist" size tumor from my lower colon and then called me incurable...damn them....damn them all too...just kidding.

I'm not scared, just looking for every way to battle it and anyone to battle it with.

any body hear of "seeds"?

good luck to all and fight the good fight!

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