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Length of treatments

Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

Hello all.

My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in late September and had two nodes involved. He had 6 weeks of radiation every day and 6 weeks of 5FU continuously. 3 weeks later he had surgery to remove the tumor and 12 inches of colon and a temporary ileostomy. 4 weeks after that he started Folfox treatment. He has completed 6 out of 8 treatments. His Folfox treatments will last approximately 4 months. I have read different stories and have heard of other patients that seem to be doing chemo for more cycles. I don't seem to hear of people doing only 4 months. Although I am happy to be nearing the end of these treatments, I want to be sure that he is doing the best he can to get rid of this disease so that it doesn't return. How many treatments or months of chemo do most stage 3 patients have?



Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

My history is very similar to your husband's: diagnosed with state 3 rectal cancer, 6 weeks of chemoradiation, surgery, then 4 months of chemo. I had 5FU only, not FOLFOX (this was 4 yrs ago -- FOLFOX was not standard protocol at that time). I was told it was 4 mos only because I'd already had 6 weeks chemo with the radiation. (Did your husband have that?). My tx was known as the Mayo Clinic protocol. This being said, I think it is worthwhile raising this issue with your doctor. It does seem many people are having 6 mos (12 cycles, every 2 weeks) of FOLFOX....I had that when I had a recurrence 2 years ago -- but of course that is a different situation. Best wishes to you both

Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

I was stage III with six weeks of radiation with Chemo then surgery with four weeks recovery and then 15 weeks more of chemo. So far it has worked for me and I am NED. I think you should do what the doctors suggest and if you lose confidence in them get another opinion. I don't think you can box or place specific parameters on what should be done. It has to be a glove fit for your situation. In general what is happening sounds about "normal" whatever that means for his situation Radiation/chemo/surgery/chemo/ then testing testing and hopefully NED forever. Its scary and you want to do everything you can. It sounds like you have. Take Care

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Faith,

I didn't have rectal cancer, but I have a friend who is going through treatment for it now. She is recovering from her surgery which followed six weeks of radiation along with Xeloda. Her doctors are saying that she will have only four months of Folfox as well.

Keep us posted on your husband's progress.



chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Faith,

I wonder if the time has to do with pre-surgery chemo/radiation treatments, maybe?

I did not require any pre-surgery chemo or radiation and went on to complete 12 sessions every-other-week of Folfox (six months).

I would definitely ask the doctor if you have a question.

Good to hear that you are approaching the finish line.

Take care,


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