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I was told that 90% of recurrence happens in the first year.

CessnaFlyer's picture
CessnaFlyer
Posts: 110
Joined: Aug 2009

My oncologist told me that with colon cancer if there is a recurrence then it will happen within the first year in 90% of the cases. What he wasn’t clear on is if the recurrence happens one year after the last chemo treatment, or one year after the resection. My last chemo treatment was six months ago, and my resection was one and a half years ago, in May, 2009. I had a lot of toxic reactions to my chemo treatments, and a lot of interruptions, and had to stop it before completion. So, I’m not sure if the chemo treatments ever reached a level where it would have been effective. Anyway, does anyone know the statistics of recurrence in the first year?

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Re:
"My oncologist told me that with colon cancer if there is a recurrence
then it will happen within the first year in 90% of the cases."

That's a pretty long reach..

First of all, it takes a cancer cell between 1.5 to 2 years to grow big enough
to identify as being a cancer cell.

Second, if it's within the first year, it's not a recurrence, it's just a continuation;
the cancer was never "gone", it was continuing to grow undetected.

Cancer cells can spread throughout the body totally undetected, and can
continue to live quite nicely without causing any symptoms for years.
For anyone to suggest that there's some sort of a "time frame" that one can
use to determine if they're finally "safe" from a recurrence, is only setting
the patient up for a very shocking revelation later.

Personally, knowing the time it takes one cancer cell to grow large
enough to be identified, gave me more to be concerned with at the
two year mark. If it's going to show up, it'll be after 1.5 to 2 years.

If it's prior to that, it was never removed, and all you're seeing is
the continuation of what you've been diagnosed with.

I'd find another oncologist, but hey.... I'm a realist and don't like
listening to a physician's wishful thinking. "Just the facts, Ma'am"

Good health to you!!

John

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Kathryn_in_MN
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

I've never heard of stats like that. It would be nice if we only had a 10% chance of recurrance if we made it one year. And the stats are different for everyone depending on initial staging.

http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/colorect.html

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I think "the first year" begins from the resection, since then is when you could be presumed to be cancer free, i.e., NED. A "recurrence" is when, after you were NED, cancer is again detected. Doctors are pretty much oriented toward evidence and facts, rather than theories (as John seems not to understand). It may be that when a period during which cancer is not detected is followed by a diagnostic test showing there is cancer does, actually, reflect the continuous presence of cancer cells the whole time, but that's just a theory. It's a recurrence when, after there being no evidence of cancer, there comes to be evidence of cancer.

So I don't think your problems with chemo affect where you are on the statistics of recurrence in the first year. I did a few internet searches, and I couldn't find your oncologist's 90% figure for recurrences in the first year, but that figure seems consistent with what I've read.

--Greg

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Me:
"......if it's within the first year, it's not a recurrence, it's just a continuation;
the cancer was never "gone", it was continuing to grow undetected."

You:
"A "recurrence" is when, after you were NED, cancer is again
detected. Doctors are pretty much oriented toward evidence and
facts, rather than theories (as John seems not to understand)."

It's never too late to be old; we're never too old to learn new tricks..
And an education need not be painful.

Recurrence or progression

Progression is when cancer spreads or gets worse. Sometimes it is
hard to tell the difference between recurrence and progression.
For example, if the cancer has been gone for only 3 months before
it comes back, was it ever really gone? Is this a recurrence or
progression?

Chances are this is not a recurrence. It is likely 1 of 2 things
happen in cases like this. One is that, in spite of what the
tests showed, all of the cancer was never completely gone.
Sometimes, even with surgery, small clusters of cancer cells that
cannot be seen or found on scans can be left behind. Over time
they grow large enough to be detected or cause symptoms. These
cancers tend to be very aggressive, or fast-growing.

The second possibility is that the cancer may be resistant or
refractory to treatment. Chemotherapy (chemo) or radiation may
have killed most of the cancer cells, but some of them were not
affected or changed to survive despite the treatment. Any cancer
cells left behind can then grow and show up again.

The shorter the period of time between when the cancer was gone
and the time it came back, the more serious the situation. Most
doctors would agree that 3 months of appearing to be cancer-free
is too short to be considered a recurrence if the cancer does
come back. There is no standard period of time within the
definition of recurrence, but most doctors consider a cancer to
be a recurrence if you had no signs of cancer for at least a
year. If your cancer has been gone for only 3 months, this would
most likely be a progression of your disease. In this case, the
doctors would assume that the cancer (even though they could not
find it in any of the tests) never totally went away.

Blessings to: The American Cancer Society

Stay well; think healthy thoughts!!!

John

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's the thing, cancer has many unknowens. My mom finished her first chemo in March,all blood tests and scans showed no signs of tumor growth. Then in July. She did a check up and the doc found liver metastasis, uterine Mets,and pelvic Mets. She also had a hard time with chemo. Her original cancer was in her colon above the rectom, it wasn't found until it grew through the colon wall. I think instead of saying reacurence or progretion it's a matter of wheather or not if the cancer shows itself again . But in the end it doesn't matter what you call it,because this very moment I'm watching my mom die an "active death" agony doesn't begin to describe her pain. More research needs to be done on testing, because prevention and early detection is the best cure!

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's the thing, cancer has many unknowens. My mom finished her first chemo in March,all blood tests and scans showed no signs of tumor growth. Then in July. She did a check up and the doc found liver metastasis, uterine Mets,and pelvic Mets. She also had a hard time with chemo. Her original cancer was in her colon above the rectom, it wasn't found until it grew through the colon wall. I think instead of saying reacurence or progretion it's a matter of wheather or not if the cancer shows itself again . But in the end it doesn't matter what you call it,because this very moment I'm watching my mom die an "active death" agony doesn't begin to describe her pain. More research needs to be done on testing, because prevention and early detection is the best cure!

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's the thing, cancer has many unknowens. My mom finished her first chemo in March,all blood tests and scans showed no signs of tumor growth. Then in July. She did a check up and the doc found liver metastasis, uterine Mets,and pelvic Mets. She also had a hard time with chemo. Her original cancer was in her colon above the rectom, it wasn't found until it grew through the colon wall. I think instead of saying reacurence or progretion it's a matter of wheather or not if the cancer shows itself again . But in the end it doesn't matter what you call it,because this very moment I'm watching my mom die an "active death" agony doesn't begin to describe her pain. More research needs to be done on testing, because prevention and early detection is the best cure!

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's the thing, cancer has many unknowens. My mom finished her first chemo in March,all blood tests and scans showed no signs of tumor growth. Then in July. She did a check up and the doc found liver metastasis, uterine Mets,and pelvic Mets. She also had a hard time with chemo. Her original cancer was in her colon above the rectom, it wasn't found until it grew through the colon wall. I think instead of saying reacurence or progretion it's a matter of wheather or not if the cancer shows itself again . But in the end it doesn't matter what you call it,because this very moment I'm watching my mom die an "active death" agony doesn't begin to describe her pain. More research needs to be done on testing, because prevention and early detection is the best cure!

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Here's the thing, cancer has many unknowens. My mom finished her first chemo in March,all blood tests and scans showed no signs of tumor growth. Then in July. She did a check up and the doc found liver metastasis, uterine Mets,and pelvic Mets. She also had a hard time with chemo. Her original cancer was in her colon above the rectom, it wasn't found until it grew through the colon wall. I think instead of saying reacurence or progretion it's a matter of wheather or not if the cancer shows itself again . But in the end it doesn't matter what you call it,because this very moment I'm watching my mom die an "active death" agony doesn't begin to describe her pain. More research needs to be done on testing, because prevention and early detection is the best cure!

tanker sgv's picture
tanker sgv
Posts: 125
Joined: Nov 2010

Wow that was one hell of a glitch sorry bout that.

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

My onc and some studies from MSK say that 80% of recurrences in Stage III happen within 18 to 24 months. So, if your chance of recurrence was 30%, 80% of that is a 24% chance within 18 months to 2 years. In years 2 - 5, 19% (so 5.7%) and 1% (.3%) of the original chance after 5 years. 24 + 5.7 + .3 = 30%

If the tumor grew outside the colon or through the colon, chances of spread are much higher. Rectal cancer tends to recur more often than colon cancer due to the major blood supply, etc. in that area.

I just read this week that 73% of Stage III colon cancer is cured. This 'fact' was for colon cancer only.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

3 years is the average for reocurrence. The issue is the tumors are usually to small to find. Mine was found due to my serotonin level raised, then I had a blockage in my colon a month later, before the second test to see if the serotonin level was an anomaly.

One can have ct/pt scans to compare. Usually the tumors are to small and the scans are expensive.

Chemo is a treatment to stop small growth tumors. I guess it works if no tumors crop up, and it did not work if they did. We hedge our bets that chemo works.

Fight the good fight!
Have Fun! mike

Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

Here I thought the golden gate was at 2 years. No, I hit that one in June 10. My oncologist said the date is 5 years. Nothing about a year. Now the way he explained it, the rate of recurrence is high directly after treatment then gradually does go down to where it is level with the general population at year 5. I think you are doing great the further out you get and everydday one gets further out. I did worry about it until year 2, then he said year 5 and I thought, WOW I am not going to allow myself to do this stinky thinking for 3 more years!!

scouty's picture
scouty
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

My oncologist will give out stats every once in a while but he always explains them. He feels there is a difference between a start of a chance of recurrence date versus the start of a NED date.

His opinion: recurrence date starts after all treatments/surgery have ended and says 80-85% of colorectal cancer recurrance occur within 24 months of the last treatment. His definition of the start of NED is when all cancer is gone which is usually after surgery, but before the clean up chemo begins. His 2 cents..............

Ironically, my situation was not like most here so when we discussed my NED start date, he went with my last chemo treatment in Oct. 04'. I go by my surgery date, Jan 06' which was 15 months later, since they found a tiny bit of my primary tumor from the foot of my colon they removed. Truth be known, I celebrate them all!!!!

Lisa P.

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