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Stage 4 colorectal cancer spreads to the lungs.

Erin P
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2010

This is the first time I am writing on this board.
My mom was diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer this summer.
She underwent months of radiation and chemo.
In the beg of Oct 2010 she had the tumor removed and had a colostomy bag.
In Jan 2011 she was going to have the bag removed, but they found a spot on her lung in a pet scan.
I guess she also had a scan of her lung in the summer of 2010, and since has grown double its size.
The colostomy bag surgery has been postpone, and she now needs lung surgery in the beg on Jan.
They said that they think it might be the colon/rectal cancer spreading.
My mom has no one to talk to ,, and I no long have any answers..
In 4/2010 my father passed away from mesothelioma.
I have having trouble cooping with this all, and I am terrified..
Can someone please share there experiences with me…
I feel trapped in a world of uncertainty right now… please shed some light!!!

Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Take a deep breath or two. Cancer is scary business. Many of us deal with it by taking it one day at a time. You will know more after the surgery. There are many here who have or had spread to the lungs. People will offer you their thoughts + ideas; you have come to a good place.

Erin P
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you.
I feel like words just exploded out of me.
I feel so overwhelmed.
I too had Thyroid cancer 2 years ago.
Its just never ending.
I hate seeing those around me so week, and upset.
I am usually positive,, but it's getting harder each day.
I know life is not fair, but I hate seeing those around me family, friends, and all of you who take the time to open up suffer.
I will take some time to take a deep breath. Thank you for that.
I just want to be able to help my mom through this all.

Posts: 457
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi Eric,
I totally understand how you feel. My mum was also diagnosed with colon cancer, liver met 2 months ago. Worse still, her first chemo treatment almost killed her. She ended up lying in the hospital for almost 2 weeks. Since she is really weak, she is not able to have her 2nd chemo treatment yet. I don't know what can I say to make you feel better. I did find some encouraging cases here in the board. Sometimes, my friends will tell me some successful cases. All the positive information helps me to feel better for a short period of time.
My recent encouraging successful case is from my friend's sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 4, literally have it all over her body except her brain. She made it and now she is only taking some medicine to prevent the recurrence.
I don't know if thinking you are not alone will help. But I'm also fighting with my mum and have been feeling miserable all the time.

pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

us sharing your fears it will help you a lot, there are many here with lung mets living and managing it very well!, also it's always very good to know that she is candidate for surgery , that means a big chance to get cured!.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

I'm sorry for your mom's diagnosis. My hubby is Stage IV, mets to liver and lungs, lots of them. Diagnosed 3/09.

You say your mom had chemo and radiation this past summer. What kind of chemo did she have? The reason I am asking is, is the met to her lung new since ending chemo or has it been there all along. It is unusual for mets to grow while on chemo but then it depends on what kind of chemo she had.

Since she is a candidate for lung surgery that, in the big picture, is good news. Will they be doing a lung biopsy to insure that it is indeed a colorectal met and not something else? I would question your docs on an exact treatment plan. Do they plan on attacking the lung met with chemo before surgery or go right to surgery with chemo to follow. These are important questions. Don't leave it to mom to ask the docs, make a list yourself and make sure you understand their answers. When you know a bit more come back to the board and those that have had your mom's proposed treatment plan will be able to fill you in on their experiences.

Sit back, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and questions and then take it day by day. Remember, no question is too small to ask and more importantly, make sure you understand their answers so you are prepared to assist your mom.

Take care - Tina

Erin P
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you all so much for your posts,, I can not describe how good it feels to know there is people out there to help me through this,, and to give me a shoulder to cry/lean on. My mom is going to get a 2nd opinion today with a Dr. Flores.. He was also my dads surgeon. Just want to make sure the treatment plans it the best one.

I am not sure what type of chemo my mother had. I do know they put a port in her chest, and she had it for a couple of months M-F. She also had radiation at the same time everyday. She is also concerned that in this time the lung tumor grew. I was not sure if that was because it was so targeted to the rectal cancer?

Yes, She at this time is a candidate for lung surgery. They are going to do a biopsy to see if it’s a colorectal met or something else. The term “met” is new to me here. They plan on doing the surgery first in about two weeks with chemo to follow. I know from my dads experience that the 2nd time you do chemo may not be as effective as the first which is worrisome.

I am just doing my best to keep my mom and my families spirits high.
I am actually due to have a baby in a couple of weeks… So my mom is very excited.
She is just concerned she will be in the hospital at this time.

Thank you all,,, you all helped me through this so far in so many ways.
Thanks for the info, the laughs and the honesty.
There is so much more you can not get from doctors..

CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Erin,

A "met" is just a short form of "metastacize" and even then, I think I'm spelling it wrong. It's a word that is too long to type out each time so it's been shortened to a "met". When cancer spreads, cells take root somewhere else in the body but they are still cancer cells from the primary cancer. So if you have colon or anal or rectal cancer (whichever it was diagnosed as) and then they find spots in your lungs or liver or pretty much anywhere, they will try to do a biopsy to determine if the spots are a brand new primary cancer or if they are a spread from the original primary cancer. I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I also have "mets" (more than one) in my lungs and one in my kidney. It's POSSIBLE the one in my kidney is a new primary - kidney cancer, but the ones in my lungs are mets from the colon cancer.

Why it is important that the doctors know what the are will determine on how they are going to treat it. If they are mets from the primary colon cancer, then they will be treated with the same chemo treatments that they treat colon cancer with. But if they were to be a brand new lung cancer (nothing to do with the colon cancer), then they would treat it with chemo or whatever treatments they use for lung cancer. There are a kajillion different kinds of chemo out there that are used for different cancers. What you get for colon cancer you wouldn't necessarily get for lung cancer. So that is why it is important they know exactly what they are dealing with.

Hope this helps!

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

First off I'm so sorry that your mother has cancer and your father recently passed as well. This is a hard disease, but one that can be dealt with. There are people on the board with cancer that has spread to the lung. Please feel free to come to the board anytime.


Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I am in your moms same shoes "EXCEPT" I am passed the tumor removal from the lung that was a met from colorectal cancer. Yes, I went from Stage 1 to Stage 4 with the met but you know what...I am not changing one thing about how I live my life, and I have informed my family that they are not to treat me any different than before, you see, all of us will die someday from something, its just the reality that sets in when you hear it being said to you, now thats an eye opener...But the way I see thing are this , and this is simply "my" opinion which only counts for me but biopsy is another kick in the butt as far as Im concerned. I want it out of me laying on the table in the operating room where they can salivate or factoid or run tests or anything they like as long as its not in me...Malignant or benign, its coming out, and when the say that there is a growth in my lung then as long as I have enough lung capacity to get it removed then thats whats gonna happen....remember though, thats just me. If the biopsy shows benign then I am recouping through a not so necessary operation but if its in the lung and growing, well, it can grow in the trash can cause thats where it will be ASAP. rectal cancer has a greater % of returning in the lung where colon cancer normally returns to the liver.....Mine did exactly that , returned to the lung. and now its fertilizer in a landfill or petri dish growing mold, or hopefully under a scientists microscope being utilized as a sample tissue to be part of the next cure for this disease. But alas ErinP, you have to dig deep into your phyche and pull out those defense mechanisms that keep us thriving through walls of fury. That shows our strength and with strength and attitude life with cancer is simply a misdemeanor. Hopefully this delapidated, old, self indulgent individual,(me) has given you enough of a smile to get you through to the next set of stairs that we all have to climb........Love, Hope, and zest for life to you and yours, Clift

and PS.......give mom a hug and tell her its from Buzzard (ME AGAIN)......AND DON'T ASK lol

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

The part of your post that really struck me was "I feel trapped in a world of uncertainty right now." I think that's the way we all felt at the beginning of the cancer journey, whether we are the patient or the caregiver. Although you will always hate that cancer has invaded your world, you will feel stronger and more able to deal with things. You will be able to be strong for your mom.

Come back anytime and let us help you.


Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Hang in there and please come back and ask away, you have found the right place for support and answers. Hugs! Raquel

plh4gail's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Oct 2010

I hope you are finding some comfort here. Sometimes it seems for me it's the just knowing you are not alone that helps get through a day. Then, the next day might bring you some valuable piece of information that you can use to move to the next day. This is a good place to be when you feel like there is nothing else. Someone will show you there is always something for you.


chicoturner's picture
Posts: 285
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Erin, I am so sorry for all you are going through. I wanted to tell you that I was dx in 3/08 with cc. After surgery with a resection and complete hyster. I am left with tumors on my lungs. They are small and very scattered. Dr's do not think they are able to be removed by surgery as they continue to multiply and grow, however, slowly. I am currently working with Drs. at UCSF. My doc there believes that it is almost like a chronic illness that I can live with while we look for what will stop it or get rid of it. It does not affect my breathing and I am doing well. Please know that surgery is a good thing! This gets it out of there and then they can watch it closely. Please don't give up or feel there is no hope. there is always hope. Best to you, Jean

Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Erin

I went through chemo and radiation for anal cancer in 08. Saw a spot initially on my lung and liver but onc did not think it was from the cancer, as anal cancer very rarely spreads ( so they told me). After a couple more scans, spot on lung grew, biopsied, lung cancer. I had a 1/5 of my lung removed New Years Eve of 08. 1/2 of my liver in Feb 09. I'm feeling and doing fantastic! It is absolutely amazing what our bodies can go through and come back from.
Wish your Mom the same success!!!!

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