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Liver biopsy

pepperdog's picture
pepperdog
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

This has been a SUCK A-- day!

My husband is in day 2 of folfox treatment three (for rectal cancer).

We found out last nite that a lifelong friend succumbed to brain cancer that started in his arm.

A co-worker had surgery today to remove scar tissue from a previous colon polyp removal and a malignancy was diagnosed. I don't have much more information at this point, but was told a liver biopsy was done. Is this normal?

All they biopsied on my husband were the margins and 10 nodes. Do you think this is an indication that the doctor thinks the disease is advanced? Supposedly he 'got it all,' but why would they biopsy the liver?
Thanks

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello,
I am sorry to hear you had such a rotten day. I really don't think that they would biopsy your friends liver though unless there was some spot on there. The good news is, it may not be related to his cancer. I have a benign cyst on my liver. I know it's easier said than done, but try not to worry until you have all the facts! There is enough to worry about without letting your mind run wild!
Good luck trying to remain "positive".
Susan.

pepperdog's picture
pepperdog
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

Thanks Susan....sometimes I have to look for the good news....seems like everything dominoes on the bad days.
Terry

afraidinindy's picture
afraidinindy
Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2006

As far as normal, I'm beginning to think anything is "normal" with cancer - everytime we mention something to our oncologist, she just replies, "that's normal, do you know what I mean?" Of course, we don't know what she means, this is all new to us - I guess cancer is so prevalent these days she just thinks everyone knows everything about it! If I sound unhappy with her, you're right. They say she has the "head knowledge" but she certainly lacks in bedside manners. I guess the knowledge is what will make the difference, but it sure doesn't give us any encouragement or comfort. As far as the biopsy, I would think something leads them to think it could have metastasized. With my husband, they found 2 tumors in his liver and then diagnosed the colon cancer 2 weeks later. This is all in spite of the fact he has been ill and trying to get help for 2 years - same symptoms, same pain, etc. When diagnosed he was stage IV. In your husband's and freind's situation, I would be open for any tests they want to run - don't take chances. My prayers are with you.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Hey, Indy -

That Dr. works for you! You don't like her attitude (and I don't think I would like her's either) then find another onc. I am guessing by your moniker that you are in Indianapolis - Methodist has a great cancer center - my step-dad was there. Shop around and find someone you like - there are plenty of smart docs, but not so many smart and compassionate docs.

Keeping you and your husband in my prayers.

- SpongeBob

pepperdog's picture
pepperdog
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

indy...........I know exactly what you mean about the oncologist's 'nonchalance' when an issue about discomfort arises or a question. Ours is exactly the same. He's supposed to be one of the best in our area, but there are times when I could kick him to Toledo and back again!!! We've heard, "that's normal" so many times, but ya know, it's not 'NORMAL' in our experience. If they would only explain.......thanks for your input. Prayers to you and your husband.
Terry

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1247
Joined: Jul 2005

My oncologist and I have a VERY comfortable relationship with one another. Your's may be a technically good doc, but if you are not comfortable, then you should LOOK FOR A NEW ONE! These docs are working for you. In addition, this is a serious disease and you don't need a doc who causes additional stress! It is definitely a PAIN to look for new docs, but there are oncologists out there who are both technically competent and have functioning personalities. I was hugely lucky to find one the first time, but if you feel like punching yours, you really should look for another.

Regarding liver biopsy - at least in part it depends upon what pre-surgery scans showed. My pre-surgery scans showed a suspicious area in the left lobe of liver. So, during surgery the liver was explored. (Turned out positive, but on the right lobe only - proving that CT scans don't always tell all.) So, maybe they biopsied the liver because of previous scans - or maybe because they were close and "why not" since CRC most often metastasizes to the liver first.

Take care and best wishes for your co-worker.
Betsy

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I had stage III rectal cancer. Biopsied all tissue removed (rectum and sig colon, uterus, etc) also removed 12 nodes. That's it. No post-op chemo either....
I always wonder if it was enough, but then I sort of put myself in the hands of a higher power. I trust my onc and my other treating docs...If something was missed, well, I'll deal with that when it happens...no use worrying now...
Liver biopsy could have been done because of suspect polyps on liver...you already said you don't know all...
PLEASE don't take this wrong, but you have enough to deal with with your hubby, without worrying about why tests were done on them....If you trust hubby's treating docs...well, that is that...otherwise, get a second opinion...it's your right.
Hugs to a real angel...
Kathi

pepperdog's picture
pepperdog
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

Kathi, thanks for your response. Everyone's input is so helpful and reassuring.
Terry

pink05
Posts: 553
Joined: Mar 2006

Hi,

I'm sorry you had such a bad day. I sure know what that feels like. Regarding your co-worker's liver biopsy: They must have found something on the liver that they thought may need some checking into. When my dad had his colon resection, there were orders in his chart to do a liver biopsy. I asked his surgeon right before surgery, why the order was in my dad's chart. He wasn't planning on doing a biopsy because my dad's PET scan was all clear right before surgery, however, the surgeon then said that the only way to really know is to go in and look around. He said that once he was in, he would look for anything that appeared to be superficial. The fact that they did a liver biopsy doesn't necessarily mean that there is any cancer in the liver. Maybe they found something suspicious and want to take all precautions. The liver is full of fatty tissue. What they biopsied could very well be a cyst. My dad has a cyst on his liver. It is very common. Please don't read into this too much just yet. I know this is easier said than done, but you need to take care of yourself.

God bless you, your family, and your friend,

-Lee-

vinny3's picture
vinny3
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

Try not to take on too much. It is difficult to get all the information on your own or your husband's case and don't have all the information on your coworker. They usually will look at all the organs that are accessible, especially the liver, when they do open abdominal surgery. Hope your husband is doing well. I'm in day 2 of folfox treatment three.

Dick

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, pepperdog -

You know, everyone's cancer scenario is different. Could be that your co-worker's liver function test came back with some out-of-whack values and they found a spot on a CT that might be something. They wouldn't do a biopsy unless they had a visual of something to go take a biopsy of.

in your husband's case, they say they got clean margins - that's a good thing! I wouldn't nterpret the fact that they didn't have reason to do a liver biopsy on your husband as an indication that his disease is more advanced andthey're just keeping it from you. Of course, the best way to get resolution to that conflict in your mind is to simply ask the tough question to your oncologist. Be blunt.

Keeping your family and friends in my prayers.

- SpongeBob

pepperdog's picture
pepperdog
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi SB and thanks for responding. Guess my message wasn't stated clearly, the patient I'm worried about (having liver mets) is my coworker. I just found it strange that they biopsied the liver and took it as a sign that something suspicious was going on with the liver.

My husband is doing well, considering he's in the first quarter of folfox treatments. 3 down, 9 to go.

On another note: I've not taken the time (until today) to look at your web page. What a handsome guy you are in uniform!

Thanks for the encouragement.
Terry

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

(blush) Aw.... shucks, Terry!

Actually that's my wine steward outfit!

Will that be red or white?

- SB

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

I was told (by a good friend who is an M.D.) that taking a liver biopsy is not that easy - first the organ is very dense and a bleeding organ - so doctors don't just go in a biopsy it unless absolutely necessary.

I have a liver lesion which was found on my latest CT scan, no mention of biopsy but we are assuming it is metastisis from my colon cancer and treating it with chemotherapy right now.

Kerry

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Aw, Kerry, sorry to hear...sending my best, strong vibes to you that the beast will DISAPPEAR!
Hugs, Kathi

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