Jun 25, 2006 - 6:19 pm
Hello, my mother was recently diagnosed with IC uterine cancer. She is 62 and in excellent health (competes in triathlons, rides horses) and has a very full and happy life. She had a complete hysterectomy a few weeks ago, which showed no spread of the cancer to nodes. The cells are apparently grade 2 with some indications of grade 3, so they are doing a 5x5 radiation course just to be safe. They say without radiation, risk of recurrence is 26%, and that goes down to 6% after radiation. This is relatively comforting, though my mom has been pretty nervous anyway. I have questions, but am trying to avoid going to her with them, since she needs to focus on healing and thinking positively.
So, I've come here. You seem like a very helpful and supportive community. The questions I have are mostly related to the studies I've seen -- which have a wide range of numbers related to her type of cancer -- and also the meaning of recurrence.
As to the first, when a doctor says 6% chance of recurrence, to me that says at least a 94% survival chance. But some of these studies dealing with IC-grade 3 uterine cancer have much lower survival rates, one as low as 66% after 5 years and 51% after 10. I don't understand the discrepancy. I know probably many of you aren't doctors, but have any of you had similar confusion over statistics like this? I know the statistics can't predict any individual situation, but I would feel more at ease if I could reconcile them somehow with what my mom's oncologist told her (he's supposedly one of the best in the country).
Second, as for recurrence, all my mother will say is "this would not be good." I understand recurrence in that area (they're not concerned about metastases, they said) may be harder to detect and harder to treat, but does this just equal hopelessness? Can they treat local recurrences successfully? I'm confused about this too, and I don't want to unload anxiety and tough questions on my mom as she recovers and looks positively toward the future.
Thank you all for your help and your support.