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Adjuvant Therapy...

BusterBrown's picture
Posts: 221
Joined: Mar 2005

It's been 3wks since my colon resection surgery and I'm happy to report that so far so good. The incision is healing up nicely, and everything seems to be in good working order. I met with my surgeon on Monday to talk in detail about his findings. After inspecting my liver he said there was no residual he could see, and the 11 lymph nodes he removed were all cancer free. He did remove 6" of colon but said it went well and as far as he could see everything looked good.
I met with my onc today and he wants to do at least 6 more cycles of folfox plus 6wks of radiation. Remember,I have already done 8 cycles of folfox prior to surgery. I guess I was expecting at least 3 more cycles of chemo, but I wasn't expecting radiation therapy. I'm curious is radiation therapy at this point in my treatment even worth the risk? I understand that radiation therapy can have long lasting ramifications and serious side effects...
Anyone with experience in this matter please feel free to chime in...

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

BB -

I agree with you. I always thought radiation was for specific sites that had active cancer. You know, if you aren't comfortable with what your doc plans to do you can always get a second opinion or simply not sign on to his plan. I always tell folks that their doctor works for them - not the other way around. Make him explain why he wants to do radiation and what he intends to be shooting those rads at. If you still aren't convinced, nothing says you have to go thru with it.

Stay well, my friend.

- SB

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

So glad to hear the surgery went well -- sounds like you are making a great recovery. Excellent news re the clear lymph nodes - hoorah.

I was diagnosed with a very low rectal cancer. I had 6 weeks of radiation (actually chemoradiation) prior to surgery. I'd be happy to discuss side-effects with you anytime. My understanding was that radiation tx is fairly common for rectal cancers (pre or post), but not for colon cancers (because the colon can move around...). That's just my non-professional understanding. Was your tumour very low? (excuse my memory if you've said previously). May be worth exploring the radiation recommendation a little further.....

I just started folfox myself -- one down, 11 to go!
All the best,

BusterBrown's picture
Posts: 221
Joined: Mar 2005

The surgeon removed 6 inches of my sigmoid colon. My Onc wants to radiate the area that was reconnnected. What kind of side effects did you experience?

Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

I also had chemoradiation prior to my surgery. I tolerated it well, although the radiation made me very tired. I also had diarrhea that was controlled with immodium. I was able to work full time, although I did take one day off because I was so tired. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

As others have mentioned, I had some fatigue -- but not too bad. I also had diarrhea -- which was fairly bad. I also had skin "burn". For this, I did sitz baths and occasionally used a steroid cream. The radiation fried my ovaries (I knew this in advance, and this was not a problem for me). The combination of diarrhea and burn was the worst for me, but perhaps because the radiation was targetted at the low rectal area. I haven't had any long term effects. I have a colostomy and am able to irrigate, which is apparently unusual in someone who has had radiation -- but no-one told me! All the best.

Posts: 206
Joined: May 2005

I had 36 radiation treatments to my pelvis while I took 5FU continuously with a pump for 6 wks. The only problem I had with the radiation was diarreah, and Imodium helped that. Also I was very tired. So far, it will be 2 years in July, I haven't had any problems from it.

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi Buster,

Glad to hear of your smooth recovery from surgery. I think we are on similar but different roads. I got dx in Feb of this year with rectal cancer with 2 liver mets.

I did 4 rounds of FOLFOX + Avastin. Now I'm doing 6 weeks of radiation with a continuos 5FU pump. I'm half way through right now. Not too shabby so far.

I know there are some risks to radiation and that it can cause other problems. But for me I really wanted it. My rectal tumor was through the rectal wall and lymph nodes looked infected on scans. I want to make sure that everything is gone down there.

I won't have my rectal tumor removed until after surgery.

Anyway there's my two cents...best of luck with your decision and recovery

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