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How long to wait

Posts: 29
Joined: Mar 2007

My Father was just dx'ed with adenocarcinoma yesterday. He needs to have a CT scan to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the colon. He has already had a chest x-ray that was negative. The dr said that he would be 4-6 weeks before the surgery and then 5 days in hospital. Then chemo and radiation regardless of the stage. Is that all correct info. We are reeling as he was dxed with tongue cancer in January and unfortunately he paniced and had a dentist try to attemp the WLE and was unsuccessful. He had to have a follow-up surgery last Monday (March 19) and we will be getting these results today. It has been an awful year as we just buried my Mother's Father March 1st to Colon Cancer. We are all feeling that my Dad has just been given a death sentence.
I guess I just really needed to vent as I am trying sssooo hard to keep it together in front of my parents and I also have 2 young children (7 and 5) who are very close to my parents and cannot handle this right now. Can someone tell me if 6 weeks is too long to wait to have a surgery. Will the cancer spread if it has not already. The degree of differentiation was moderate. I would appreciate any help and advice you can all provide.
Thanks so much,

Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi Paula. Sorry to hear about your dad's dx. Because he just had surgery not too long ago maybe they are wanting to be sure that he has recouped from that fully before doing more surgery and treatment. I know it's difficult , but do NOT view his dx as a "death sentence" . There have been many , many advances in therapies and surgeries over the last few years and there are many long term survivors here. I know waiting is terribly hard. My husband had to wait 4 weeks for his surgery and then 6 weeks after to start chemo. Waiting can be hell. Did your dad's doctor give you a reason for the wait? Try to keep positive. I know we will all pray for a negative ct. Keep us posted and above all do not lose hope.

Posts: 63
Joined: Nov 2004

I am sorry that your family is dealing with colorectal cancer but you have found a great community to help you all through this challenging time. I would assume if radiation is being considered, the tumor would be in the sigmoid colon or rectum. There are recent studies that indicate pre-operative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy and radiation might be better than postoperative (adjuvant) chemo and radiation. Neoadjuvant therapy does a couple of different things. In rectal cancer, it can prevent the need for a permanent ostomy. Neoadjuvant therapy also downstages the cancer (can shrink [sometims eliminate] tumor, kill cancer cells in suspicious lymph nodes) which could mean less chemo after surgery. Another large benefit appears to be that neoadjuvant therapy decreases the chance of recurrence.

All of that being said, I do not know if your father's previous tongue cancer diagnosis and treatment would impact the choice of radiation and chemotherapy prior to surgery. Feel free to contact me off list at aclay@ccalliance.org if you need more information.

Take care, Andrea

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

The other responses are full of great information. I would ask the doctor why the wait for surgery. There could be many reasons. His previous diagnosis and surgery, maybe they want to do a round of chemo and/or radiation before surgery, etc. My cancer started from a small polyp and did not require any pre-treatment. I was in the surgeons office the same day I was diagnosed and had the option for surgery the very next day. I had surgery 3 days after my diagnosis.

Five - Seven or Eight days in the hospital sounds about right. I was in for six or seven and had no setbacks after surgery.

I believe that the current trend is changing to have chemo regardless of stage and especially if it is Stage II and beyond.

As already stated, things are changing with cancer and treatment all of the time. When I was diagnosed they only offered chemo if it was Stage III or IV. Now, it is being recommended for Stage II or beyond... maybe even Stage I.

You are an awesome daughter for compiling this information for him. It is no longer a death sentence and the more information you have to battle, the better choices you will make regarding treatment and outcome.


Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

Andrea and everyone is right about asking questions. Remember doctors have plenty of patients and although busy you need to take charge of what is going on and why. If he had chemo and radiation before and not long ago this could be the reason for the wait. I was surpised that the radiation and its effects were still visible in my colon nearly a year later (picture) at colonscopy. I think we get hit so hard by the chemo that often the little buzz of the radiation of a mnute or two seems not to effect us. 18 months later my blood chemistry is just returning to normal. My point is that maybe in our rush to kill our enemy we may be not taking into account our bodies ability to stand the battle. Possibly they are just looking for the optimal time for him. But make sure that is the case. Never give up.

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