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post-TEM, pre-treatment for rectal cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

I am a 70 year old woman in excellent health who plays tennis regularly and is married to a retired oncologist.
On sept 20,2005 I had a colonoscopy and a large polyp was found and removed.It looked benign.
6 days later we got the report that the entire polyp was a cancerous tumor right down to the stem where it was attached to the colon wall.
I then had a PET scan and a CT scan to determine if cancer had spread.No cancer cells were found in any organs in any part of my body.
A spot in my lung was too large not to have picked up dye if it was cancerous. They say it is a granuloma;My husband is still worried about it.
No positive nodes were found outside of the colon.
On Oct 13th I had TEM (transanal endoscopic microsurgery). There is no incision made thru the stomach. Everything is done microscopically with an instrument that goes thru the anus.
The procedure scooped 4 inches out of the colon and the biopsy results showed 2 of 12 lymph nodes to be positive. This means i will need treatment.
Does this history sound familiar to anyone?

Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2005

Yes it sounds familiar. My mom had a benign looking polyp that they later discovered had a "tiny" bit of cancer on the inside. Six months later she was diagnosed with cancer in the abdominal area and liver. She has had two surgeries and several chemo treatments. She is really fighting hard to beat it. There are a lot of success stories on this site.

Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1079
Joined: Aug 2003

Welcome to our world. I am not familiar with the surgery that you had, I had rectal cancer with 2 positive nodes also. that makes it a stage 3. Make sure that the surgeon had clear margins, (free of tumor.) You will probably need chemo and radiation. If you have any questions about that , just ask.


Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Hi.. so sorry about your recent diagnosis. Sounds like you are getting cutting edge treatment, in good hands I presume. Your husband probably knows too much. I am a stage 4 rectal ca survivor; now getting chemo treatment number 4. YUCK. Both my husband and I are doctors; it is difficult when you know too much. This will be very rough on your husband I am afraid.

You sound like such a wonderful and healthy lady. You are up for the fight. Get good docs you trust and begin the battle against cancer.

Please come and ask any specific questions as they come up. When you get an idea of what chemo you will get, just post and we can let you know what we went through with similar agents.

Try not to get overwhelmed. You have a HUGE support network here; and we've all been there. :)

Nice to meet you. Be well, jana

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi Jana,
Thanks for the prompt reply. You sound like a very brave lady.

goldfinch's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Oct 2003

Welcome to the boards. Sorry you have to join us here.
I've never heard of the procedure you had to remove the tumor. I was diagnosed with rectal ca, stage 3 July of 2003. Stage 4 in Dec 2004. So currently under treatment.
Sounds like you are in good hands. Believe you will beat this thing.

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi Mary,
The procedure I had (transanal endoscopic microsurgery, known as TEM) is widely used in Europe but only a few drs. here do it.I was fortunate to live in a place where the only dr. in the northwest who does it, has done 250 of them.
Actually my tumor had already been removed during the colonoscopy since it was thought to be a benign polyp. But the surgeon did get a sample of 21 lymph nodes which I understand is a very large sample. The 2 positive ones were just too small to show up in the ct scan.
Isn't it amazing how quickly we learn medical stuff when it is our own bodies that are involved.
Good luck with your treatment.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Welcome. Your history is not the same as mine. But, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer which everyone hoped was Stage I, then looked like Stage II, and ended up being Stage III (one positive node). My treatment was presurgical chemoradiation (5-6 weeks) followed by surgery (APR -- my tumor was very low indeed), followed by chemotherapy. Two years after the original surgery, a small lesion was found in my lung. This was surgically removed and I am now having further chemo. I don't want for my story to be discouraging....I am doing well.

I wish you all the best with your planning and treatment. Please don't hesitate to be in touch if there is anything...

jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Fayelynn,
Welcome to the Semi-Colon Club; but sorry you had to pay the price of admission. I also came to this site right after surgery (the good old fashioned abdominal kind; my polyp was higher up) and before chemo. I had a little cancerous polyp, found on colonscopy, no nodes eveident on workup, and 1 positive node on biopsy.
Sounds like your surgery and treatment thus far have gone well; keep the attitude up. There is much info here regarding treatment, management of side effects, etc. During my chemo I was always on these boards, not knowing anyone else who was dealing with colon cancer. I still haunt this site, but now that I am back at work, my time is more limited. I am nearly 2 years out of surgery, with No Evidence of Disease.
Good luck to you and to your poor husband, who probably knows too much; on the other hand, it must be great to have someone who can help guide your through what felt like a field of landmines to me after diagnosis and surgery.
So, as I was told on my first post (by Stacy, thanks) You will beat this thing; we will help. Reading some of the personal web pages here was a pretty inspirational way to pass some time when I felt worried! Keep us posted, Judy

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