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colorectal cancer metastasized in liver

dolphinsfly
Posts: 16
Joined: Dec 2007

I am a 43 y.o. female. On October 23, 2007, age 42, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. The only symptoms I had was very tired for about 2 months and rectal bleeding for about 4 days before contacting my general practice Dr. He scheduled me for a flex. sigmoidoscopy the very next day. They discovered the tumor approximately 3CM above the rectum. The treatment options they planned they didn't begin for 7 weeks after I was diagnosed. In that time the cancer metastasized to my liver. The treatment that was planned was started on Dec 17th. I have 28 radiation treatments and 5F-U on a continuous IV infusion for 6 1/2 weeks. I am 4 weeks into treatment and now the Dr's want to do nothing more come Jan 29th. They say since the cancer has spread there is really nothing more they can do. There are 4 lesions on the liver that range in size from 6-10MM. I have been told by others that it is totally treatable with FolFox for 12 treatments, however, when I mentioned it to both my Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist, they both said no,it is not a proven effective means of treatment. There is really nothing more that can be done.
Can anyone help out there!!???

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Dolphin -

Sorry you have to be here, but you really need to find another doctor - I'm thinking nearly any other doctor. Not sure where you live, but the treatment you are asking about is standard for Stage IV and III colorectal.

FOLFOX plus Avastin or Xelox plus Avastin are standard first line treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer (which appears to be what you have). FOLFOX is 5FU (IV drug) plus oxaliplatin infusion. XELOX is Xeloda (oral version of 5FU) plus oxaliplatin. With liver (or other) mets they are usually combined with Avastin, a monoclonal antibody IV drug.

There are many Stage III and Stage IV with liver mets survivor stories on this site. I am one who was diagnosed Stage IV in May '05 and am still NED after only chemo (Xeloda, oxaliplatin and Avastin). More typically, chemo is used to shrink liver mets so that liver resection surgery (or radio frequency ablation) becomes possible. But, you should be thinking now that treatment can be successful.

It sounds like you have rectal cancer and many people here can comment (mine was colon), but with liver mets I am pretty sure that chemo plus Avastin is likely to be appropriate after your intial chemo-radiation.

Let us know more - look for another doc - and come back here often. There is hope for CRC that metastasizes to the liver and you should not be told that there is nothing to do for a cancer diagnosed in Oct 2007.

(By the way, a flex sig would not have found liver mets. So, it is may well not be the case that the cancer metastasized in the 7 weeks you were without treatment.)

Also, have you had, or are you having, surgery to remove the primary tumor? Others here can tell you about rectal cancer surgery. If no surgery, why not?

Good luck and in my humble opinion, please get a second opinion.

Take care,
Betsy

Stage IV, liver mets
Diagnosed 5/05, colon surgery 6/05, 6 cycles Xeloda / oxaliplatin plus Avastin, NED since Oct 2005

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

Hi and welcome,
The good news is they found your tumor right away! That is great. However, your treatment plan is not.. Normally in cases of rectal cancer (mine was in the Sigmoid colon). They reduce the size of the tumor with radiation and then they remove it surgically. As for the liver tumors, they were probably there all along just too small to see on a scan. That is normally the case. Anyway, you should be receiving chemo of some sort to try to get rid of them and/or having a liver resection to remove them surgically.
I would go to a major cancer center if I were you, such as MD Anderson, the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering, etc. There is also the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that take a more holistic approach along with the traditional treatments.
Anyway, you need a second opinion. BTW, now I believe they just give 9 treatments of Folfox. I never had Oxaliplatin. I had Folfiri following my liver resection.
Best wishes to you! You need new doctors IMO.
-Susan H.

katienavs's picture
katienavs
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2006

You need to get a new oncologist as soon as possible. I know it is difficult to be seen immediately, but given your situation I would do everything within your power to be seen at a new place right away. In the mean time, do not let your current team stop treatment.
I was diagnosed with stage iv rectal cancer in June 2006. I am cancer free today. I had 28 radiation treatments with the continuous 5fu like you. I also had four rounds of folfox prior to surgery. Then I had a resection (colon and liver) followed by nine more rounds of folfox.
It is possible that the location of the lesions in your liver don't make you a candidate for surgery right now. But there are so many more options. You can look into targeted radiation to the lesions. I am not too familiar with them because I was a candidate for a resection but I know the options exist and others on this board have had them.
The folfox was undoubtedly an effective means of treatment for my liver mets. When they went in for the resection, 90% of the cancer had been killed by the folfox. There are doctors out there who will give you hope and you need to find one of them asap.
Best of luck. Try to stay positive in this scary and difficult time!!
Katie

NWGirl
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

These doctors sound scary - I would definitely find new doctors. I was under the impression that the sigmoidoscopy doesn't cover the entire colon (but I could be mistaken) - seems like a full colonoscopy would be in order at some point. I'm also stage 3 colo-rectal cancer. The tumor was right where the colon/rectum met and it had to be surgically removed along with a lot of lymph nodes. Now I'm doing chemo and soon radiation. I can't offer any insight on the liver situation, but just from reading the posts here, it seems far from a hopeless situation. PLEASE find another doctor ASAP and get the treatment you need and deserve. Keep us posted.

funnyguy
Posts: 90
Joined: Jan 2007

Hey Dolphin,

I just have to say this:

AHHHHHHH!!!!

Get a new doctor/ second opinion pronto as the others have said. There a many treatment options and we semi-colons don't give up that easy!

Stay strong and take care of yourself.

hopefulone
Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi and welcome to a great support group. As many have said, I urge you to get a second opinion or another oncologist. Hubby stage IV , colon resection last January for sigmoid tumor and after 9 chemo treatments with oxal, avastin and xeloda, he had a liver resection in October of last year after being told for many months inoperable. I urge you to get another opinion and research all your options. He had multiple liver mets also. He is currently NED. Good Luck and God Bless.
Diane

livefreeordie
Posts: 45
Joined: Jul 2007

yeah, get another opinion!
Iam stage4, huge liver mets..
Its inoperable, but chemo is keeping me alive for
a while anyway..
Maybe its an insurance thing?

heknowmyname
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2007

Sorry about this terrible news. I am new to this whole thing also, 39 yrs old with stage 4 mets to the liver. I have had surgeries for my sigmoid colon and the liver mets. We shall see this week if I am cancer free.

I just want to encourage you to get that second opinion. If you are able to come to California, one of the worlds best surgeons is at USC Norris Cancer Center. His name is Dr. Beart. I know it is a touchy area to be operating on but he is simply the best for this type of surgery using cutting edge procedures. My friend was in your situation and his surgeon told him he would try but he could not promise so my friend went to see Dr. Beart. He had radiation with a very successful surgery and is pooping (alleluia) normaly. As far as the liver mets are concerned, I just had 2 removed with a liver resection. Just because your chemo is not shrinking them doesn't mean another type won't help them to shrink. I had a 5cm tumor that shrank to 3cm with 4 cycles of folfox w/ avastin. 5fu in one component of folfox but is greatly inhanced and made more effective with the leucovorin and the oxaliplatin.

Try to find an oncologist who specializes in colorectal cancer. They will know the most options(and there are options) available.

My family will be praying for you Ms Dolphinsfly,

Jen

Patti1
Posts: 109
Joined: Feb 2006

Please, please find another doctor (WE DID) hubby diagnosed 1/5/06 Stage IV Colorectal,with Met to Liver and lymph nodes. 1st set of doctors offered no hope but chemo drugs, after listening to friends and CSN we went for a 2nd opinion. On 8/13/06 hubby had a complete lower resection including a permanent colostomy and a liver resection. Followed up by more chemo and rad's then oral chemo(Xeloda). Today he is still NED,and we enjoy every day to its fullest, you can beat this monster. Look at all the wonderful people in here and there awesome stories. We are even back on the motorcycle and very active. Please keep us all posted
Patti

Faith4Cure
Posts: 405
Joined: Mar 2007

I echo what everyone else has said---Find another doctor!!!! There is hope and you can find so much of that here. There are so many survivor stories that start out like yours. You need hope and faith and a doctor that lets you believe that you can beat this! I don't know where you are located, but there are many doctors who can give you hope---GO NOW!!! My prayers are with you!

Faith

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

I'm sorry you are here, but this is the place! Get another doctor, PLEASE. Your doctors sound like they are fumbling and don't really know a lot. God bless.

sladich's picture
sladich
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

DITTO ON ALL OF THE ABOVE. Best of luck!

Debbie

offutt9's picture
offutt9
Posts: 88
Joined: Jan 2004

Please find another doctor and get a second or even third opinion if that is what it takes. There is always hope, so you deffinatly don't need the docs you have... Ask about RFA, Radio Frequency Ablation of the liver mets. Its done laproscopically... Change doctors ASAP I have liver cancer, and 2 different RFA'S. My 1st drs. were just like the ones you now have.... I changed immediately and went to Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland ohio. There is also one in Florida. I'll keep you in my prayers... In Gods Love..... Barbara

offutt9's picture
offutt9
Posts: 88
Joined: Jan 2004

Please find another doctor and get a second or even third opinion if that is what it takes. There is always hope, so you deffinatly don't need the docs you have... Ask about RFA, Radio Frequency Ablation of the liver mets. Its done laproscopically... Change doctors ASAP I have liver cancer, and 2 different RFA'S. My 1st drs. were just like the ones you now have.... I changed immediately and went to Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland ohio. There is also one in Florida. I'll keep you in my prayers... In Gods Love..... Barbara

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