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Colon Tumor - Please Help. New & Scared.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

I am very sad to be here posting this. My mother turned 60 yesterday and had her colonoscopy this morning - the doctor found a tumor that was too big to remove during the procedure. He took a few samples and sent it off for biopsy. He told us that just by looking at it, he is unable to tell us whether it is benign or malignant. He said it is about 4cm x 4cm (1.5 inches) and a fairly large size. Other than that, he said we'd have to wait a week for the results, and, whether they be malignant or benign, the mass would need to be removed anyway. Of course, I was crying my eyes out and my mom was so calm but I just am so scared. The doctor did not seem very optimistic - at least in my opinion.

So, her background. She has had diverticulitis off and on in her 50's and suffered with constipation her whole life. She has also had hemorrhoids but nothing too major. She has never been a drinker or a smoker and cancer does not run in our family at all that we know of. She is a just a tad overweight - maybe 10-20 pounds at most? Also, she has never had a colonoscopy before.

She has no pain, no weight loss and had a chest x-ray about two months ago for an elective cosmetic procedure - it was negative. However, she did tell me that she has had a tinge of bright red blood after a BM while wiping about three times in the past three years? So, this concerns me a bit.

Oh, and about two years ago, when she had severe pain in her left side, she went to the ER and they did a CT scan with iodine - they discovered that she had diverticulitis. Would they have seen the tumor at this point?

So, would mind helping my mom and me out with these questions? We would appreciate it so much. We would just like to know about the sizing and the real chances of this tumor being benign? Every place I look on the internet seems to have very little chance of it actually being non-malignant - why did the doctor not tell us the truth? Why can't he give us a better idea by just looking at it? If it is 4cm round, does this most likely mean that it has gone into her lymph nodes and metastasized to her liver? The fact that the findings were fungating and friable - does this point toward it being malignant more than benign? Why in the world was the doctor not frank with us about this - he wouldn't explain any of it!

I am so scared for my mom - I can't even function, she is my very best friend and I'm a complete wreck - I never thought this could happen to her in a million years - please give us any information and advice you have - we thank you so, so much!

*** Findings: In the rectum, a non obstructing, large size, fungating, friable 4cm. by 4cm. mass was seen. The mass was not bleeding.

katienavs's picture
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2006

I am sorry you have had to come here and I hope that you will receive good news next week and not have to return to this site after that. But if you don't get the news you are hoping for, it is great that you have found this site and a very supportive and knowledgeable group of people who can be here for both you and your mom.
I cannot comment on whether the mass in your mother's rectum is benign or malignant and I don't know much about the statistics on benign rectal masses. My GI doc said the same thing to me after he found a large mass and biopsied it. He said it would have to be removed either way but that he did not want to speculate as to what he thought it was. I was 24 years old at the time and I think he was just as shocked as I was.
Some people who receive colorectal cancer diagnoses have had symptoms for years and some do not. So it is also very difficult to speculate based on her lack of symptoms.
I understand your fear and worries and inability to comprehend what is going on right now. If this turns out to be cancer, it will be very scary and life changing BUT it is NOT a death sentence. There are so so many survivors on this board, including stage iv survivors like myself. The best advice I can give is to stay positive and fight hard. It is normal to be scared and sad and angry. You can have all of those emotions and still be brave and hopeful and determined to win. You and your mom will be in my prayers.

kristasplace's picture
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi Kjell! Boy have you come to the right place! So many people here with so much information! I'm very sorry to hear about your Mother, but there is more than just hope for her. My rectal tumor is a 3cm T3 (perferated), so i know what you mean about mass. And yes, they will surgically remove it, but not before they shrink it. They will probably do several cycles of chemoradiation on it if it is malignant, then the surgery, then more chemo just as a precaution. Before all that, she will need to be staged, and they do that with CT scans and MRI's to see how far the tumor has progressed (has it perferated the colon wall), and where all the cancer has spread to (has it spread to local lymphnodes, or other organs).

About your doctor knowing about the cancer...I don't know. Mine knew immediately that it was malignant, but my tumor was a horribly twisted, bloody and swollen mess (i remember seeing it during the colonoscopy). And still he used the words, "pretty sure it's malignant". Doctors have to be very careful about what they say or they can get sued.

I'm not a doctor so i can only speak from my own experience. I was so terribly symptomatic for the two years leading up to my diagnosis. Puddles and puddles of blood in my stool, so much abdominal pain from the tumor, secondary infections, anemia, and eventually intestinal blockage. I just don't know how your Mom can have a tumor that big and not be more symptomatic unless it isn't cancer. Everyone is different though, so maybe she just got lucky in that way. Please keep us posted as to her diagnosis, and i will hold you both in my prayers. I hope this helped you somewhat.

Many hugs,

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Kjell,
Like the others and your doctor have said, it is difficult to speculate about your mothers diagnosis until you get more info. I can tell you that I am a Stage IV survivor and I only had one polyp when I was diagnosed. Other folks have had much larger tumors at an earlier stage than I did.
My mother recently went in for a colonoscopy and had about 19 polyps. Some of them were quite large and they thought she was going to have to have surgery to remove them. It ended up that she went to MD Anderson and they were able to remove them without surgery and they were all benign! So you really never know, which is why your doctor could not say one way or the other. I know it's hard, but you will just have to wait and see. I think if she had the tumor two years ago they would have certainly seen it on the CT. I think that is a good sign.
Best wishes,

Posts: 135
Joined: Oct 2006

Hi, sorry to met you here but then again, you should feel comfort, in knowing that there are so many of us out here fighting the battle with you. I sure hope it is benign, but if not, it's not the end of the world...it's a new journey, and we'll be here with you. I had a 5x5cm tumor in the left colon, malignant,removed with surgery. No radiation to shrink it etc. They took 18 inches from the colon and reattached it together! Many of us have it done. Some like myself had chemo after as I had a lot of nodes that were cancerous as well. So first,you find out if it is cancer, if it is,than what location and what options do you have? I'd make SURE I had an oncologist reviewing my case before any surgery, radiation etc, that's IF it is cancer! Meanwhile we'll be here, looking out for you and praying Gods will and strength for whatever you need to endure. He has taken many of through this ordeal already and continues to do so, while blessing us with each others company. Feel free to ask questions and as many as it takes to help settle your nerves. It won't be easy but you won't be alone!

Posts: 40
Joined: Oct 2007

Sorry to hear about your mother.I know what you are going through I have four daughters and i have had to see them angry sad scared and nervous because of my cancer.I was diagnosed with alceritive colitis last november. I had a colonoscopy and there was a blockage so I had to have a barium enima.My girls are very upset that my doctor did not investigate further about the blockage.My tumor was 2cm by 2cm. I had it removed Sept.4. You will be in my prayers have faith and think positve,that is what I tell my girls. It takes to much energy to think negatively.Take care

Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

Sorry you are going through this worry, but you have come to the right place. Everyone here has already given you good advice. I know the waiting is hard, but there is no reason to try to guess what the doctor was thinking or to try to guess whether it is malignant or not. It is what it is, and when you find out for sure you can make a plan of what to do next. I pray you get the news you want to hear, but if you don't, please know that there are treatments that can beat this disease. It appears that your mother seems to be an otherwise healthy person and that is a great plus!

My thoughts and prayers for a good report are with you!!!


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Hey, mom and I could be twins! My tumor was about 2", fungating, in the first rectal fold. Here comes the interesting part: Squamous cell, not adenocarcinoma.

Depending on this....after 2 months of chemo/rads to reduce the size of the tumor so there would be a better chance for me, and 3 months of 'resting', my bowel resection removed tissue that was completely without cancer!!!! Squamous cell carcinoma is VERY sensative to radiation, I was told, and this could explain why at 6 months (when they said I was going to die), I was alive and well and NED (no evidence of disease) on the rectal cancer...

If her doc is not optimistic....find a new doc....there are plenty of miracle stories here...

Please feel free to look at my whole story on my page, and e-mail me here any time....

BTW, I am now 1 year post-breast cancer treatment, and completely cancer free!!!

Hugs, kathi

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Oh, I was 49 years young at diagnosis, 52 now...fiesty as all getout!

Please keep us posted...

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

It is possible the mass is related to her diverticulitis as if they called it that it usually means there has been some infection of the little pouches (which, if no infection, is called diverticulosis). Such infection can cause a mass to form. However, when they use the term fungating and friable the odds are greater that it could be malignant but that will be determined on the microscopic exam. That is something that you should be able to get a report on in a few days. I would recommend calling the doctor's office on a daily basis until you get the report. Don't worry about being a "pest". Once you know the result, and a plan can be formed to deal with it, the better everyone feels even if the result turns out to be something you don't want. If it is benign she will still need to get it removed as otherwise it could cause an obstruction. The blood she noted with wiping in the past is likely not related to this. Your mother is very fortunate to have you helping her.

We are praying for a benign finding. Dick

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi, I am sorry you are having to worry about this but like everyone says you are at the right place for wonderful support and information. In a way it was good that your doctor didnt speculate on whether or not he thought it was benign or malignant. My doctor told me right away that he knew it was malignant so even though I didnt have to wait there was no hoping that it was not, because I never in my wildest dreams thought I had cancer. Anyway, I will be praying that it is not malignant. I was stage 3 rectal with surgery and now on chemo so email me if you think of any questions, I would try to answer.


Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

You've gotten some really sound advice and information already. I can't add much except to say , we all know how hard the waiting part is. I know it's probably not the best reassurance, but things may turn out better than you think right now. Keep the faith. When you know more , be sure to let us know. We'll be here to support you. God Bless,


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