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confused stage 3

kapper48's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2008

My name is Pat I am 48 years old. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in march of this year, I have been doing chemo that the dr said I had to do. I was told that I had to do 12 rounds so far I have done 7 and I am struggling with this whole chemo thing I am having a hard time with this and am thinking of not doing anymore further treatments. I had my surgery in march and had 18 inches of my colon removed 4 out of 5 limp nodes were positive. Will I be making the wrong choice by stopping any further treatments. I am scared and very confused on what to do. Has anybody out there ever stopped treatments and f they did what was the outcome.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2008

Pat - I urge you not to stop treatments now. You only have 5 more treatments, your over the hump. I know its tough but you have to hang in there. I use to tell myself, the sicker I feel from chemo, the more it's working. I had 13 out of 26 lymph nodes turn out positive back in 2006. My last CT was in May and everything looks clear, my last colonoscopy was in July and it was clean as a whistle. You didnt have very many lymph nodes removed. You may only have 4 positive lymph nodes or you may have more, you dont know. Dont take a chance. Finsish the treatments. I look back at my chemo days and they are a blur. You can beat this but you have to finish the treatments. Please dont quit!!! Jeff

Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

I was stage III too and went thru the radiation/chemo then surgery. My surgeon said he wasn't worried after taking out ten inches of colon and looking over every other organ he could lay his hands on inside me. He said 80% chance cancer would not return. I did not have any nodes involved of the 24 they removed. I was shocked when my onc told me time to hit the chemo really hard now-15 treatments at max dose Xeloda. He pointed out that yes they removed 24 nodes but what about number 25? He informed me if I could take the abuse and it was...very bad side effects but my chances of not seeing cancer again (at least for a good while) would increase from 80 % to 92.3%. Well I hated every day of it and would have quit if not for my belief that I had come too far through too much (although not near as much as many others)to give up now. So have you! What if as my onc suggested that if you had just taken that one more hit of chemo and it was the one that stopped you from facing cancer again? If your looking for a reason to stop sorry none here. Oh by the way two and half years NED for me. I've seen a lot of life I may not have seen if I quit. I know.....I don't know that for sure. Life is full of risks just not many I'm willing to bet my life on. Hang on you'll get there.

betina61's picture
Posts: 644
Joined: Aug 2006

How come you were staged III with no nodes involvent? I think that would be StageII

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Hey there, Pat -

Some good advice above. I would offer that the decision to quit or continue chemo is a very personal decision. I know several people who have either declined chemo altogether or stopped part-way through and lived to tell the tale. There are a lot of things to consider when you decide to stop chemo. I would say that the number one consideration os quality of life. I would point out that you are past the halfway point in your treatment. That's a positive thing right there. You have fewer treatments left than you have already done. You did have 4 out of 5 lymph nodes come back positive for cancer cells - which means that the cancer cells could have easily been pumped throughout your body by way of your lymphatic system. That means that chemo is your best bet to be sure you wipe them out wherever they may be living/hiding. Chemo is tough. My wife did her's with 5-FU and Oxaliplatin. She had serious nausea and neuropathy. She completed all of her chemo - and, due to some complications a couple of extra treatments - and is doing well now (despite a recent scare that turned out to be not cancer).

Talk it over with your doctor andyour family and friends. Take in all the info you can. I am sure that the decision you make will be the right one for you - and that's what really matters!

Be well.

- SpongeBob

kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

I was diagnosed Stage III cc 8/20/07 at age 43 with 3 of 21 nodes involved. I had surgery and a colostomy then finished 10 of my 12 scheduled chemo cycles. I was VERY upset that I wasn't allowed to continue treatment due to complications but my oncologist insisted it was ok and refused to continue. Completed chemo 4/08, reversal surgery 5/08 with clean ct and colonoscopy.

3 months later - 8/20/08 - I have mets to the liver and lung. Did those 2 lost chemo cycles make the difference? I'll never know but I wish I would have fought harder or done something else. Somehow I KNEW I wasn't really done with this battle.

You're young. Fight through the chemo as long as you can stand it. It is your choice and only you know what you can tolerate. Don't let any of us (or anyone else) make the decision for you. Can you handle one more cycle? As much as you want this to be over, finishing treatment isn't magic. That's when I started to feel like I wasn't doing anything to stop it. At least treatment is *something*. Waiting and testing is scarier than you think.

Cancer sucks. Chemo sucks. I know that you're sick and tired of being sick and tired. This group can help with those down times.


Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Pat,

I am so sorry you are struggling with chemo and with the decision of whether to continue or discontinue chemo. We know how hard it is! Maybe a frank discussion with your doctor would help you in your decision. Sometimes, if the side effects are too severe, they can reduce the amount of drugs which makes the treatments more tolerable.

I know you will make the right decision for you and your body. Keep us posted.



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

Hi Pat,

I was dx'ed with Stage 3, 2 out of 19 lymph nodes were positive so chemo was advised by my oncologists at the Mayo Clinic.

I said "No Thank You" and chose a different route to healing and I have not regretted it one day. I have never had a recurrence nor did it spread.

I have remained cancer free for 7 years. I was 39 at dx and was told the tumor was in there from 5-10 years.

You do not have to do chemo. No one can force that decision on you. It is highly personal. We can listen to our body and decide what it needs. But if you choose to not do any more chemo you can still be very proactive and take your health into your own hands. It's scary but can be done.

So rather than not do anything you can do a ton with diet and alternative treatments.

I chose to do "chema" which means the juice of the plant. It's full of life and enzymes and healing properties. It is life-giving and full of energy. It may be worth a try. It sure has worked for me! :-)

Good luck in your decision, but remember it is YOUR decision-- no one else's.

peace, emily

pamysue's picture
Posts: 105
Joined: May 2008

I also had surgery, back in May, and just finished round 6 of folfox. I declined radiation treatment after looking carefully at the side effects versus the possible benefits of treating something that might not even be there.

Treatment is a very personal decision and it is yours to make. I encourage you to tough it out if you can and come here, to your family, your church, wherever you find your strength to make it through.

This last treatment, my red counts were so bad (among other problems) that my oncologist skipped the Oxliplatin and just did the rest of the drugs for this round. Maybe your doc could give you a similar "break". I try to thing of all the crap as the drugs killing off any remaining cells in my body. I do not want to have to go through another surgery after 2 this year. I'm sure you don't either.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. You will make the right decision for you.


kapper48's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2008

I want to thank everyone who replyed to my note. I also want you all to know that I have decided to finish my treatments.I have talked with my wife and kids about not finishing my treatments for about 3 weeks. My wife has been telling me all along that she would support me on what ever choice I made. My daughters and by the way I have (5) 10years old to 27 years old, my god what did I do wrong. No i'm just kidding I love my girls more than anything in this world. They are so happy that I have decided to finish treatments. I have told them and my wife that the only reason that I am going through with this is because of them. If I were a single man with no kids I can tell you that I would not do this chemo anymore,It sucks really bad and I hate it. I hope I live long enough to enjoy my life to its fullest with my family, they are my life and without them I would have nothing. To my wife, carrie if you read this, you are and always will be the love of my life, I dont know what I would do without you. To eveyone on this site again thank you all so much for your time you are all in my prayers, good luck to all.

mykidsmommy's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi - I was am stage 3 and I tried to quit chemo many times - it messes with your mind! No one I loved would let me quit - and I did it and I am done - and I am one year out - I owed it to my kids to do whatever I could - It was the hardest thing I ever dd - but I will never regret finishing it. I played mind games each time , sayig it was my last time - whatever it takes - right? But I did all 12 - and now when my kids think something is hard and they want to "quit" - I have a whole new meaning to "we don't accept quitters in out house!"!


mk1117's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2006

I'm glad you came to a decision about your treatments. It is a personal decision, and yes, cancer sucks and so does chemo, but I'm so glad it's behind me. I had stage 3 colon cancer at age 44, with 13 or 14 of 17 positive lymph nodes. I never questioned whether or not to finish chemo - I just did what my onc told me to do. It's rough, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Take care, and good luck to you too.


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