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Bad news from Biopsy

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2004

My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer 10/03 Duke's stage C2, 6 months of chemo, then incisional hernia surgery, then a staph infection at surgery site, and they had to do another sugery to remove the mesh and staph infection. He was finally doing well..when the doctor ordered the CEA test as a follow-up. The CEA was up to 8, so the doctor ordered a repeat test and it was 13. He then had a CT scan and it showed a mass near his right kidney. The mass was biopsied and it is adenocarcinoma. The surgery to remove the tumor, and do a complete exploratory is scheduled for 7-11-05. The doctor didn't sound very positive, he said "typically these tumors will now just keep returning in the abdominal cavity, and we will do what we can." I am just so worried. He is in alot of pain..and I'm not sure if it is from the tumor or what. Please send and advise and your prayers. Thank you! Debbie

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

there's little that's typical to this disease, and
there are probably as many response variables as there are patients. Sounds like time for a second opinion. It doesn't seem like this Dr is looking at the entire picture, or may not have enough confidence in his own procedure. There is also little reason for pain..the Dr. can give him a large number of options to eliminate the pain.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Debbie. Maybe the doc's "we will do what we can" statement is a way of explaining that he is not entirely sure at what extent the cancer has spread.Your hubbie would not be the frst person that has seemed to get an evasive answer to questions. My situation was similar in that I was stage 2 dx(sigmoid cancer) but my surgeon explained, very thoroughly, I might add, that he could find more substantial spread or none at all.
In short I went into surgery not knowing the full extent of the amount of colon he would remove. I was also told that I "may" need a colostomy, may lose bladder function.(did not happen)
Sometimes we are never given straight answers because either a doc is not prepared to commit themselves, they are trying to be evasive so as not to alarm us or they simply don't know until they explore.
Just as an example my original doctor(I have since changed docs.) found it very hard to tell me I had cancer! Our best to you and your hubby Debbie.....have faith.....things may not be as bad as they seem.
love kanga n Jen

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Dear Debbie,

I am so sorry for your husband's recurrence. Doctors, gosh people in general, sometimes have a hard time finding the right words. This is especially hard when one is hanging on them and hoping that they will be positive and reassuring. The nive thing is that you do have some time before surgery - if you would like to show the pathology report to another doc for another opinion. You an also set up another consultation with the current doc - to voice your concerns and ask for further explanation. Either way, you are keeping to dialogue going....something ood will come from that.

Best wishes to both of you. Prayers and thoughts are with you.

kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Debbie,

I agree with Bud, it is time for a second opinion. I agree that Doctors need to be upfront with us, but not before they know what (for sure) they are dealing with and never to the point that all hope is lost. There is ALWAYS hope and prayer and miracles.

You will be in my prayers.


Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2005

Please get a second opinion for reassurance. We took my Mom to 3 doctors until we found a plan that is going to give her the best chance of fighting this thing.

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Debbie -

I concur with my friends here - time for a second opinion. Find someone who is going to be a robust advocate, not someone who will "do what he can".

Keeping you and your husband in my prayers

- SpongeBob

MoonDragon's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Jun 2005

You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers. Never settle for one opinion. Two and sometimes even three will give you a really clear over view of all your options. Good luck!!

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2004

Thank you all so much! I am going to get that second opinion. When one gets the news of a recurrence it puts you in a tailspin...and I am so appreciative to come here and get straight forward advise from caring people who have walked the walk. After reading your messages, I also realized the doctor we are talking to now is the surgeon, we have not talked with the oncologist yet. The surgeon IS concerned that the cancer may be elsewhere because he did state the "typical" site for recurrence is the liver...and even though the CT scan did not show any liver involvement, a complete exploratory would be necessary to fully access the situation. Thank you again! Debbie

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