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My Re-ocurrance w/ cancer

Posts: 120
Joined: May 2004

Hi all new to here but have been on chat line. Just had CT scan today and am finally asking for 2nd opinion because I just needed another ongologist.I have had colon ca, some removed, then total hystreretomy 1 month ago, I still have cancer cells (of course) but going foranother opinion because I am 43yrs.Am I right? I think so. I feel too good to be sick, Honestly! so has anyone been there b-4 with 2nd opion, by the way it is considered stage 4 because of re-orrcurance, right? Thanks for any in-put Amy

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Amy -

If I were a betting man I would guess you have the same type cancer I do - HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer). Do you have a family history? It typically hits us young folks (I'm 41) and plays havoc on the digestive system and reproductive system. It also poses a breast cancer risk for women.

Second or third or fourth opinions are good - just be careful of "shopping" for an opinion that you like - when everyone else is telling you something that you don't want to hear.

I believe that a recurrence somewhere else is, by definition, stage IV - although it may actually be like a stage I or II in reality (Jana, correct me if I'm wrong on that...). I was just talking to my mom ("CatWoman")about that the other day - she was Dx-ed with bladder cancer "Stage IV", but it appeared to be more like a stage I tumor - fully contained/no nodes. Sort of confusing, isn't it? She also has HNPCC and has had cancer 4 times now (Stage 5?). UGH!

Good for you going for another opinion. Don't forget those docs work for you as YOUR consultant!

Be well.

- SpongeBob

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Amy,

Sorry about the recurrance. My colon cancer recurrance was diagnosed about 2 weeks ago. I was with an oncologist that I had lost faith in and went to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and will begin treatment tomorrow morning.

As for restaging - it is my impression that you are not restaged. I was originally diagnosed Stage 3, but now they just call it metastatic disease. However, I could be wrong. I was initally diagnosed with 2 pos. lymph nodes and my spread is still in the lymph nodes, not in any organs (as far as I've been told).

Like Bob said, don't go shopping for an answer you want to hear, but a 2nd opinion wouldn't hurt, especially if you are not pleased with your present doctor. Having the right doctor with good communication is so important for us going through this disease. I look for the "smarts", "common sense", and "compassion" when I look for a doctor.

Best of luck to you Amy. I will hold you in my prayers.


Anonymous user (not verified)

Hi Amy. I agree with Kerry and Sponger...second, third opinions are always good but caution just like they do to not keep searching until someone tells you what you want to hear. It's what we all would like to do.

As respects recurrence, I was told that even if a recurrence occurs, you are still considered what your original diagnosis was...with metastatic disease...in other words, once a stage I, 2, or 3...always a stage 1, 2, or 3 with metastesis...still very treatable and in many cases curable.


Posts: 238
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Amy,

I am a HUGE proponent of second opinions. I firmly believe switching oncologists saved my life. Not only do I believe in second opinions, but I also think that you should only work with a doctor who "gets" you. In other words, deal with a physician who shares your philosophies, respects your limits and understands your priorities. I do share the others opinion about not shopping around for what you want to hear, but given your youth, stage of disease and general good health (I understand you're feeling well), I would say aggressive might be the way to go. Maybe you need a "cowboy". Perhaps you should find a doctor who is ready and willing to go out on a limb (of course, ONLY IF that's what you want). I recently had many tumors resected from my lungs (rectal adenocarcinoma). Not many health care professionals agreed with the intervention but my oncologist, surgeon and I weighed the pros and cons and decided to go for it. I am hoping the surgeries will result in a remission, but, regardless of the outcome, my heart, mind and soul are at peace with my decision. I'm hoping the cowboy doctor and long-shot treatment will confer survival. What I do know, without a doubt, is that I have absolutely no regrets with the chosen course of therapeutic action. My best advice is to follow your instincts and do what you feel is right. The best of luck and hope you find a helpful, caring professional.


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hullo Amy--hey--ditto to all of the above!!
As for opinions, well, I for one sought out another doc. It was not because I "wanted" to hear something different or positive. My reason for changing was purely on a personal basis. My doctors reactions to my questions and his ability to pretty much shrug me off as just another patient/ just another statistic/ just another $$$, pretty much told me that I was going to get simply no-where trying to talk to him about not only my physical state but also my mental state. I needed some-one who I could "really" talk to and would give me straight answers. Now I have a wonderfull lady doc. who has the ability to communicate and help me with my fears.
Go for the second opinion Amy--but for the right reasons.
luv n huggs, kanga n Jen

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Sorry to hear of your recurrence and would certainly agrree with the above about getting a second opinion- little harm in doing so and treatment does differ from centre to centre.

With regard to staging yes you are now stage 4 if there is spread to toher places in teh body than teh bowel. The staging systems are complicated as there are three main ones used-
TNM system where T is how far the tumour has spread, N is the number of nodes and M is if metastases are present.
Then there are Dukes stages A for it being only in the inside layers of teh bowel, B if it is spread through the layers of bowel. C if there are nodes involved and D if theere is any spread to other parts of the body.
Stage 1- 4 corresponds pretty well with the Dukes so if there is distal spread to another part of teh body than the bowel eg to the liver and lungs are the most common places then it is stage 4 whether it occurs at diagnosis or at a recurrence.

hope this clears things up a bit- best ot talk to your oncologist about it really esp if you can find some one you can put yor faith in. best of luck,

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