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Metastasizing to Brain?

Posts: 130
Joined: Jun 2004

Hello Everyone,

My Dad got his latest scan results today and everything continues to look good after 2.5 years. Considering the Dr. gave him 6 months we are very encouraged and grateful. I have a question however. My Dad has been getting headaches lately and has been extremely irritable and easily agitated by very small things. He has always been an easily agitated person but it is worse now. He also has been saying that he doesn't "feel right in his head" and thinks it's the chemo doing it to him. He has even been seeing a counselor for a few months now which is something he would have never considered doing. Apparently he completely lost it at his appointment today. He waited for 2 hours to get in to see the Dr. and by then he was ready to explode, which he sort of did. The Dr. was concerned and a bit fearful. He suggested that possibly the cancer has moved to his brain and is pressing on something so he has ordered an MRI immediately and is scheduling my Dad with a psychiatrist. He also prescribed two drugs to calm him down. He does not believe that it is the chemo doing this but is going to look into it. My questions are: Has anyone experienced what my Dad is going through and if so, what caused it? How common is it for colon cancer to metastasize to the brain ? Is that likely gieven the fact that his scans are still showing no cancer in the areas he originally had it - the liver and the peritineum?

Thank You and Best Wishes,

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I have heard of rectal cancer going into the brain, but only once. I do not think it is at all common. How old is your father? Is it possible he could have an age related mental condition? Also, I do not believe that chemo could not be the cause. I certainly think that it can cause different effects to different people. What is your fathers bloodwork showing? Is his CEA above normal, has it been on the rise? If it is normal I certainly would not suspect brain mets. Personally I think this theory is a stretch and I would not worry too much about it. Cancer can do wierd things mentally, to people. I know I have gone through irritable phases and if the doctor made me wait 2 hours I might go postal too!
Please fill us in after he gets the MRI,
Good luck,
Susan H.

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Also, why is he still on chemo if he is not showing any signs of cancer on his scans? Maybe you all should consider taking him off chemo for a while and see what happens......

Posts: 130
Joined: Jun 2004

Thanks Susan. My Dad is 62 years old. His CEA has been good but it was never a good indicator for him as it never was high. His bloodwork has always been excellent. The Dr. has truly been amazed at how well he has handled the treatment. He is still on a maintenance schedule of chemo because when he came off chemo last year the cancer came back within months. The Dr. and my Dad and the rest of the family agree that he should continue the treatment at the reduced frequency and dose he has been on, for as long as he can tolerate it. He was diagnosed with a very aggressive tumor and we're afraid that if we give it a chance to rear it's ugly head it will.

Best Wishes,

lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Deneen,

Is your dad on any other medications? My dad is usually not very volital but when they put him on certain drugs when he had an angioplasty done, he got so violent that they put him in restraints in the hospital (which also made him worse). He also became very paranoid as if someone was out to poison him. Once we figured out the meds and took him off, he was fine. He doesn't even remember what happened when he was like this. Good Luck and tell us what they find. Like the others, I wouldn't worry about the mets until you get more information. HUGS.

Lisa F.

Posts: 130
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for the response. He is on some other medications but he has been on them for quite awhile with no problems. But that is an excellent thought - maybe something else he takes is just starting to cause a problem. Worth checking into.

Thanks and Best Wishes,

Posts: 425
Joined: Jan 2005

When my husband is actively taking chemo he can be extremely irritable..he says he just can't seem to help himself ( and feels much much calmer on his down weeks...)..so hopse you can get some answers.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Wise move to check it out with a brain scan...although my doctor said that it is rare to have colorectal met to the brain...

The beast is a 2-sided terrorist. The first side is the physical, that just wears the body. The second is the mind...I fondly call this my "post cancer stress syndrome". I can have a crying jag, have verbal road rage (with the windows up...hehehehe)...all sorts of stuff.

Please let us know what is happening...we ALL have 'canceritis' a time or two, or three...hopefully this is all it is for dad!

Hugs, Kathi

2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi deneen,

so sorry about what your Dad is going through.

I was told that the track that colon cancer can follow is liver,lung, thyroid, brain. For women it can jump over into the ovaries. so while brain mets may not be common, it does happen. I knew this to be true of a man where I used to live. I didn't know him personally (they had a fund raiser for him) and he had colon cancer with mets to brain and I do believe that it hadn't gone anywhere else.

I tend to bristle a bit when doctors dismiss possiblities due to "rarity". This is MY story. When my sister was dx'ed with adeno carcinoma of the small intestine we were all told her cancer was rare. Not one doctor told the rest of her sisters to be scoped. And every single time I went to the doctor for anything from prenatal to going to a surgeon for "hemorrhoids" I ALWAYS told the attending doctor that my sister had died of intestinal cancer, EVERY single one would say, "Oh that's rare."

Fast forward 9 years from the time she dies and I am dealing with Stage 3 colon cancer in my 30's. If just ONE doctor wouldn't have dismissed her "rare" cancer and told me to get scoped I surely would have and I wouldn't be here on these boards. We could have nipped that polyp in the bud. But alas, here I am. So I think it's a wise thing to have your father do the MRI just to rule it out.

Thanks for letting me vent.


I surely am thankful to be here though anyway.

peace, emily who wonders why two girls on one family with no family history got intestinal cancers.........hmmm.

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