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I am confused, please help!

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2005

My dad met with the oncologist this a.m. and my mom said the doctor told him that it's not that there is cancer anywhere that we are continuing the chemo it is that there may still be cell alive really to multiply. My das is colom cancer stage 3, 11 out of 19 lymph nodes involded (permanent colostomy, March 2004) What does the doctor mean when he says "there is not cancer" when 11 out of 19 lymph nodes are affected and his overall chance for cure was 20 -30%. I am just a little confused. If anyone ever got news like this or can clarify this a bit for me, it would be appreciated. Do you know of anyone that's cancer spread while they were doing chemo? (just curious).

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond

alihamilton's picture
Posts: 348
Joined: Jan 2004

My husband was almost the same....11 out of 18 nodes involved with Stage 111 rectal cancer. He was not given such a low chance of survival....I think they said 50-60% chance. Apart from the surgery to remove the tumour in the rectum, or colon in your father's case, they would have taken out the lymph nodes, thus removing all the cancer. However, during surgery some cancer cells can get away, hence chemo/radiation. Some cancer cells too are too small to show up on a scan. The chemo is intended to kill off these cells before they develop any further.

There are cases that I have read of where the cancer spread during chemo but it did not happen with my husband. However, with that many lymph nodes involved, the chances of recurrence or mets are pretty high so you have to be closely monitored for any signs of that.

My husband was diagnosed in July 03 and finished chemo in April 04. His last tests showed no sign of cancer but he has to be tested again at the end of this month. I hope this helps you. Do not take too much notice of stats....there are many on these boards who have survived much longer than the doctors predicted.

grobins's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2004

Hi, how are you?

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Julie...

I was stage 4, diagnosed at age 33...today, all clear. The regulars here have already heard me say this, but it bears repeating: When the doctor offers you "stats" on survival, and getting through this, also ask that physician to give you some winning lottery numbers as well. If they can predict expiration dates on patients, then they must be in tune with that, as well. I honestly believe that people beat their odds often with this disease. And to put the thought in someone's head that they only have a certain percentage of success, I feel is plain wrong. I agree with being totally up front about the progression of the cancer, but no need to send out the statistics...just my opinion, of course.

When the doctor says that there is not cancer, he is referring to actual tumors or visible signs that there is still cancer in the patient. By continuing chemo, the doctor hopes to conquer any microscopic little nippers that may be forming alliances, kinda like an internal version of "Survivor."

Cancer can spread while getting chemo, as different cancers can result from original types diagnosed, and aren't responding to that particular type of chemo.

There are SO many stories of LIVING proof that this is able to be beaten...so tell your dad to keep his chin up, and work on being yet another success story!

All my best,

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