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rectal cancer -can anyone help me to understand more

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2005

My dad was just diagnosed with rectal cancer on friday mar.11.He is 60 years old and has always been healthy --we are all still in shock ,I'm trying to be there for him but I am terrified,we know nothing about this cancer- can anyone please please help me with some answers!!I can see in his eyes how scared he is and I would like to give him some answers and the hope he needs.

littlejulie's picture
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi there,

I emailed you through the network - check it out. Hearing my mother's diagnosis was the worst part. but she is doing well!!! She HAD (key word) stage 3 rectal cancer and a year later she is cancer free. There a SO many people you will hear from who are survivors of rectal/colon cancer. This network helped me out a lot. Hearing the survivor stories is a caregivers medicine.

keep positive and stay strong.


Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi Lauric,
I was diagnosed at age 53 with rectal cancer, and I'm now a 12 year survivor. I can certainly understand your feelings of terror at discovering your dad's having such a scary disease, but if you can try your best to take a deep breath and get over the fear and shock over your dad's illness it will be most helpful to you and your family. Having cancer is not an automatic death sentence, as many on this site will testify to. He'll probably need surgery to remove the affected section of colon and rectum, and radiation and chemo to help eliminate any cells remaining. Treatment can vary depending on the stage, or degree of progression, of the cancer. Hopefully he's caught it early before leaving the immediate area. The doctors will give you statistics, but remember that they're just statistics, not numbers carved in stone. Try not to be overly alarmed if you hear those numbers, they're essentially meaningless when it comes down to each individual being treated. Make up lists of questions to ask the Docs, if you're not happy with the answers get a second opinion. The more informed you are, the more you'll feel in control of the situation, and I think that helps a lot. There's no doubt that you dad's in for a rough time over the next several months. But this scary disease can be beaten, and the majority of us are able to beat it, and have many more productive happy lives. In many ways those of us that have had cancer or are still engaged in the battle are better for it. Our appreciation of life and better understanding of what's important is mind altering. You've come to a great site. Come often, read the chatter, and ask any questions on your mind. The people here are incredible, and display a courage, wisdom, and knowledge that's sure to rub off. Good luck,

Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2005

I just joined yesterday and it is great and inspiring to hear your story! I printed this for Mom!

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

I am a stage 3 survivor diagnosed last year at age 31. I can understand and remember this initial stage of shock you will all be in at present. Give yourself time to let it sink in and learn about the illenss and your options.

The first step that will happen is docs will look to stage the cnacer by doing bloods, scans and investigations eg a colonoscopy or barium enema to look at the bowel. a treatment plan will then be put together which may include preop chemoa nd radiotherapy followed by an operation which is the key to curing this illness. Afterwards they will look at the tumour closely to more accurately stage it (according to how far it has spread) and consider any furhter treatmetn needed.
It willl all seem incredibly daunting at present but take it one stage at a time and just be there to talk to your dad as he needs it. The initial shock will wear off but you are in for a long ride- there is no lying to you about that. but it is doable and there are many here to prove that. It is a curable illness in many cases and the important thing is to keep hope and an eye on the fact that while the illness and treatments will come to dominate your dad's life for a while he must also keep living ie doing 'normal' stuff that brings you all enjoyment and happiness.
you can beat this and this site can help you do that as well as be here to offload anxieties and worries. LEt us know how thing sprogress and feel free to ask more questions.,


Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2005

I too thank you for your story. I am inspired---I can't wait to give this to Mom this afternoon. What an awesome resource this is!

Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2005

I, along with others understand. I remember the date-August 27, 2004 and time: 3:23. My Mom walked 9 miles a day and was 49-in excellent shape. What was this? How were we going to get this under control? I am the only child and I wish I had siblings to share this with, instead I have a loving group of friends and family. The good thing about this cancer is that it is a very common cancer and a lot is known about it. My mother is currently on a new drug Avastin that was not avaiable last year-it has the potential to rid her of her tumors. Her rectal tumor was large-1cm. They removed it and she now has an osti bag. I am learning that metasis is common and very treatable if it gets to that stage. We too were lost and everything was new for us. I would love to share and encourage you through the steps. The chemo is great out there and this is 90% preventable, beatable and treatable (I wear my braclet everyday, reminding me)! Take every day one day at a time and please DO NOT think that cancer means death, it doesn't! It means fighting, educating and watching the miracles of friendships, family and health happen.

Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2005

Your Dad is not alone. I am a 55 y/o male who was diagnosed in 10/2004 with Stage IV rectal cancer and mets liver. I too was unbelievably scared and was a basket case for 2 weeks.
Beacause of the advanced stage of my disease, I was told I probably would not survive until Christmas, but 4 months later, my liver lesions have shrunk 40% and my rectal tumor by 50%. I have not had a colostomy because of my liver.
Tell ur Dad to ask questions, read, Pray, talk to other survivors and take personal charge of his treatment. Knowledge is power.
May God Bless You and Your Family,

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Lauric and welcome. Although it has been said before I will repeat. Carers/family/friends have a very great burden forced on them when hearing of a loved ones first dx. In a lot of ways it can be harder on them. To see their loved ones subjected to all the trauma's of tests/surgery/chemo/follow-ups is so very hard. The real difficulty Lauric is trying to deal with all this and try to remain positive and also at the same time trying to look after your own health. Depression can be very debilitating for carers and family....in short you are no good to your father if your own health suffers. He would not want that. Ask all the questions you like here and be sure to tell us when you really get down..these times will come and you, yourself will need support. Thats why we are here.
Research and ask questions about your dads cancer because the more you know the better you will be able to understand how he will be feeling.

To Ronnie..hullo
Your comments are of paramount importance to all of us---thank you. There is absolutely no substitute for information and support. The fear we have all felt during the course of our illness unfortunately is an ongoing legacy of this disease.
Our luv and prayers to you both, kanga n Jen

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