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Confusion (my Dad's stage III colon cancer)

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2005

My Dad was diagnosed a year ago with Colon Cancer stage III, he was operated on and has a permanent colostomy. He's done his three rounds of chemo and radiation, and is going for a SCAN (scray word) on March 21st. I am soooo nervous for the results.

My question is: They said my dad s tumor must of been there for five years...After the patology test came back they were able to tell us that 11 out of 19 lymph nodes were positive for cancer. If the tumor was there for 5 years doesn't it mean that the lymph nodes were involded back them? If nothing had spread last July when he got his scan does that look like good news or should I still keep the though it my mind that it might have spread, say to the liver?

Who often does cancer spread during chemo and radiation, are the chances of it spreading smaller during treatment?

I would really like your honnest opinion, even if it's now all good news.

Thanks in advance for helping me understand all this. Your help means the world to me right now.


Posts: 60
Joined: Jul 2004

My husband has stage III colon cancer, surgery was 5-6-04 chemo started in July with a two month postponement, restarted in September and finished in Feb. of this year. He also had much lymph node involvement but all scans were negative for metastisis to liver, lung or brain. He will have another colonoscopy in April and CEA test which is a blood test to see if cancer is back every three months. While on chemo and radiation chances are pretty slim that anthing good or bad would continue to grow. Recurrence is greatest in the first two years but not to be afraid. What you will find here are survivors with tremendous stories of hope and great lives. They have been a Godsend to me and most of them don't even know it. Just keep posting and reading you will be amazed at the info you will get and the good will too. Good luck to your dad. Louise

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 595
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Julie,

Welcome to our family, if I can help in anyway please feel free to write me.

At age 40 I was diagnosed with a stage 3 rectal cancer 10 out of 14 lymph nodes tested positive. Prior to surgery my MRI & CT Scan came back negative for any metastisis. Well that will be 3 years ago next Sunday March 20th, that I had my surgery and everything is fine today. I was also told like your Dad that my tumor was with me 5 years... No two people are the same Julie, so it's hard to say when when the lymph nodes became involved.
I still go for my blood work now every 6 months , chest x-rays , abdominal ultrasounds & colonoscopy yearly.

Stay strong and think positive thoughts only, I know that's hard right now but with time things do get easier...


Posts: 259
Joined: Nov 2004

Hi Julie,

Welcome to this wonderful site. I echo Louise's praise for the community you will find here. Lots of excellent information, support, and encouragement.

I was diagnosed last June with stage III colon cancer. Regarding the chance of recurrance, I have found it most helpful to get basic information, so I'd know in a broad way what I might need to prepare for, but then to try to let go of the "what ifs." I know it's hard to do this--I just had my first post chemo C-T scan last week and I was, of course, quite anxious. But hanging out on this site has also given me the sense that even if the news was very bad, there would be things I could do with whatever the doctor told me. And to worry much about it before that point is just borrowing trouble.

I know that everyone handles anxiety differently, so maybe my way won't work for you and your dad. But I encourage you to try to stay positive. Please write us when you get the results of the scan. We're with you.

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Welcome- I was diagnosed stage 3 age 31 and have recently finished my psot op chemo. There is no hard and fast rule about spread but the basic law is the more spread previously the more spread is likely again hence the worsening statistics as you get to higher stages. The good news on your dad is that the spread is confined to via the lymph system and there is no evidence it has spread via the blood which is how cancers get to the liver and lung. This reduces the risk of blood born spreading in the future.
the tumour would have been around for years prior to diagnosis and at some point during that it grew into the lymphatic drainage system of the bowel. This is the way ot spreads to multiple lymph nodes. It is impossible to say when this happened.
The key now is vigilance- there is nothing more that can be done except keeping healthy and keeping a watch out for any signs of relapse and getting ontop of them early. Hence teh scans and tests.
Do use this site to ask questions and vent anxieties- there are many ehre in a simialr boat who can understand you worries and concerns. your dad is lucky to have such acaring daughter. Let us know how the scan goes,

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