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When do you start counting?

markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi all,

I'm doing well today..I'm sorry to read that others aren't.

I got another clear CT Scan today since being dx'ed in Feb 2005.

The weird thing is though that my oncologist told me today that he considers me to be 15 months out. I started chemo in Mar 2005. That was 15 months ago. So according to my doctor, I am 9 months away from reaching that very hopeful 2 year mark.

Most re-occurences happen with 2 years. But I thought that the 2 years started after your body was clear of the cancer or finished with treatment, not from when you started chemo.

Anyone got the official answer from there docs?

Also, since I am now 15 months out without re-occurnence he considers my survival chance to be up to 75%!! Wow! I'm cautiously excited! This is after going through a year of everyone thinking I was stage IV, so that prgonosis is wayyy better.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Now you have ME confused, too.....I'll have to ask...I know survival starts on the day you are diagnosed, but....hummm
CONGRATS on the good scan.....I LOVE good news!!!
AND the 75% YEA YEA YEA Happy dance!!!
Hugs, Kathi

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006


Having the negative scan is Wonderful News!

I'm not an authority on the counting but I think you really would start counting from the time the cancerous tumor was removed- which for you looks like it was in Sept 2005. That may sound worse for you but it really means you want your oncologist to watch you closely for longer than he may think at this time. Those with chemoradiation prior to surgery have to be watched for a longer time- it seems to cut down the recurrance rate but seems to delay the time recurrances come back for a few.

Keep NED.


Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 597
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Marie,

Congratulations on your negative scan.... Oh Happy Day

Everybody has a different opinion on when to start that magical five year count down. . . When I asked my surgeon she said ~ the day the cancer was removed ~ so I picked my surgery date. Many folks take the day of diagnosis or the last day of treatment for the count down ~ bottom line you pick the day that works for you and celebrate everyday after that.

I sure like that 75%

Congratulations Again
Lisa Rose

littlejulie's picture
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

My mother counts back from her surgery date as well. So on July 8th - she will be 2 years cancer free. Looking forward to that :)


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003


First, congratulations on all your fabulous news: clear CT scan, 75% -- yea yea yea!!!

Yes, when to count from is debatable. I have discussed with my docs. I had chemoradiation then surgery then more chemo. My oncologist suggested I could count from the day treatment started ie the presurgical chemoradiation. But my surgeon said from date of surgery. Her argument (not just because she is a surgeon ha ha) is that the traditional treatment was surgery. As new treatment protocols were introduced (ie presurgical chemoradiation), researchers wanted to compare the survival stats with the traditional method. This made sense to me -- so I have been using my date of surgery to count. But, whatever makes the most sense to you and to your doctors.

Of course, as we all know, statistics are just statistics -- they may be of interest when looking at large groups of patients, but they say little or nothing about one individual.

Best wishes,

lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Maria,

Happy Dance here too for the good scan. Have fun being NED. I hate stats too. I just don't want to know them because I'm not a number but a person. Take care and celebrate the good scans.


Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Maria -

I think there is no clear answer to this - I celebrated one year from diagnosis, one year from surgery and am hopefully looking forward to one year NED.

Years ago when I was pregnant with my first child (she's 24 now), I was talking with my OB about due dates - as I recall his calculation method was actually 1 day off from what it really would be if you did the calculation correctly (ok - I can be a bit of a nerd!). He said "This is more like nuclear war than it is a precision strike. Stop worrying about a few days." I think cancer is a bit like this. As far as I am concerned I am a 13 month and 5 day survivor, because that it when I was diagnosed.

Regardless of how you count, Maria, you are a survivor and with your incredibly good news of not really being Stage IV, you are no doubt well on your way to being considered "cured".

Congrats on the clear scan!

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

This is a tough question with no clear answer. I count from the day my body was free of cancer, which is my surgical date. I've never asked my doctor when "they" start counting, though.

Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2006


I am brand new!! a newbie..

I had colorectal cancer surgery three years ago this last June 10th. I have never posted a word about my cancer.

I have been scared and hopefull all at the same time.

My doc. said at three years my odds go way up. I agree that stats are only that stats but then again I live for the good stats.

Can someone give me some infomration on colon cancer if it is stage three and I know n1. *three nodes involved*

I may be off on the subject content but I too ask myself about the date I can say I have three years in.

When asked my doc. said at three you WILL be almost out of the woods. Aay thoughts on this?

Like I say I am brand new and first time to the site and first time I have spoken to anyone about all of this.

Thanks for any help


suzannchili's picture
Posts: 135
Joined: Mar 2003

I was told from date of diagnosis which in my case was also the same day as surgery.

jerseysue's picture
Posts: 626
Joined: Oct 2005

Congrats to you! I would also say from the date of surgery which for me is the date of being diagnosis just like my friend Suzann.

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

The reason we count time and have magic numbers like 2,3 and 5 years is because of teh parge population studies that have followed up people with cancer and looked at recurrence. The ahve almost all used surgical removal as day 0 and counted from then so technically that is the best time.

But hey- if we get too caught up in this we forget to live each day so I try not to think to hard about it.


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