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How do I cope with the fear

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

Just told there was cancer cells in a polyp that was removed and it's almost crippling...my brother has stage 4 ....so it seems even scarier and the waiting for answers is so hard...fear of what the answers are is hard as well

karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

Fear is only part of what we call the "fight",that is the battle against the cancer.I am stage 4,and I'm just doing my tests,and going about my life as normal as I can.You should'nt be scared,you should be angry with the cancer.Try to be as calm as you can,and live life as normaly as you can.Don't be afraid,be angry.Good luck.

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

"Just told there was cancer cells in a polyp that was removed and it's almost crippling"

The proper way to determine the extent of cancer's reach within
the lymph-node system, is to remove and test more than 20 nodes.

If out of twenty nodes there are less than four testing positive,
the risk is not great. If there are more than four out of twenty,
then it is assumed that the risk for wide-spread cancer cells
is much greater.

Lymph nodes are designed to catch bad things and hold them until
the immune system removes them from one's body. Finding cancer
cells in a lymph node indicates that the system is working as it should.
But.... it also can indicate how far the cancer cells have spread.

Locating a polyp that is cancerous is not all that serious, especially
once the polyp is removed.

Relax, and try to get another opinion or two from colorectal surgeons
that are experienced with cancer. Second opinions are usually welcomed
by any good physician, since they are often too busy to keep up
with the latest technology; they learn from other physicians experiences,
just as other physicians do!

Get another opinion ASAP, and relax...... Worrying about what
may never happen, is a waste of energy!

Think healthy!

Wishing you the best,


abrub's picture
Posts: 2175
Joined: Mar 2010

Hearing those initial words are terrifying. However, you will settle down. If all cells were contained within the polyp, then your risk may be very low. You'll learn more when you get the pathology.

We understand that you are at the stage where the CANCER word is all-consuming (particularly at night.) Yet many of us have dealt with stage 4 cancers, and are doing well. Somehow, we eventually settled and dealt with it. Cancer no longer consumes me. It took me a couple of months to resume breathing - you will resume breathing, too.

In the meantime, use the forums, ask your doctor questions, seek support elsewhere as necessary.

5+ years Stage 4 survivor

dmj101's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2011

Please do not let fear take you over.
Fear is our enemy and fear is not a neccessary part of this challenge.
Please get all the pieces you need to know together as the others have eluded to.
1. Were the cells contained.
2. Get a blood test to look for markers.
3. get a pet ct.
4. possilbly get a rectal ultrasound
5. I assume they are biopsy - ing the polyp.
6. depending on what these questions bring back.. see a proctologist surgeon and get copies of the films of the scans and colonoscopy. \
7. Stay healthy, eat, sleep and stay hydrated..

8. Let us know what you find out.. we are here to help anyway we can..


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

The good part is the word "polyp" not "tumor". You had a polyp, it was cancerous, they cut it out. So far, so good.
You don't have to start worrying about proctologists or surgeons at this point.
What you do though, is start sighing a breath of relief in that you got a colonoscopy, they found the polyp, cut it out, tested it, and you have an appointment with an oncologist to go over the results.
Testing will be done almost automatically and efficiently, you will have blood tests which will get your CEA count (is helpful in most, but not necessarily all with colon cancer in seeing where you are on the cancer chart, it's most useful to see if you cancer cells are going down or rising)and your onc will order a cat or pet scan to see if there is anything else they did not detect.
The waiting is the hardest part, is it good news, is it bad news, it seems an interminable amount of time in between tests and oncologist's visit, I don't care how far you are into the "game", it seems forever finding out your test results.
You've been through this on the sidelines with your brother, and now you are stuck in the game that no one wants to play, so let your brother hold your hand and have nice long discussions with him, and thank him for the idea of getting your colonoscopy and the good probability that you caught yours early.
We're here, holding your hand in spirit, thinking about you and hoping for the best possible news.
You're not wrong in feeling fear, it's quite natural when hearing the word cancer, I can't imagine anyone not feeling fear when hearing the word "cancer" in association with yourself.
Sending all the good vibes I have that it was caught in the very early stages and that your follow-up consists of just more frequent colonoscopy's because they caught it early enough, that's my wish and hope for you.
Winter Marie

Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Make sure you get regular scans. All of my nodes were clean but cancer showed up in my liver 3 times now. Most likely through the blood sream which is not uncommon. You have great odds of beating it and should find some comfort in that but be proactive in monitoring your body.

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2011

everything in life is an experience. death is an experience. no need to fear. just keep doing what your heart tells you to do. live life the way you want. enjoy every moment. squeeze out time to enjoy if you are busy. i am stage 4, just turned 30, had a party, buying my first home, life as usual..
frustration of not knowing what happens next and being sick of chemo definitely makes it worse for me, but fear of dying? who doesn't die?

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

It's certainly understandable being afraid of the unknown. Believe it or not, once you know what you're up against it gets a bit easier. Did your brother's diagnosis prompt you to get checked out and that's when they found the polyp? Is there a family history of Colon cancer?

As was suggested earlier, DO get a second opinion from an oncologist at a different practice. Also, go to the very BEST cancer center you can. When dealing with cancer, very often the first things you do to treat it make a huge difference. Even if you have to pay out of pocket for the consultation, the experience of seeing a good oncologist is invaluable. If its determined that you need further treatment, any good oncologist will usually be OK with following the direction of another oncologist. If they're not, I wouldn't go to that Onc anymore.

This is getting ahead of things but i saw it posted in an answer so I'll address it. I don't believe that getting angry is helpful either. Angry at what or whom? Stuff happens...but yes, it usually happens to someone else. Also, if it does turn out to be more serious try not to play the victim game. People get cancer. You may be one of the unfortunate ones who have gotten it. Surround yourself with a great medical team, be informed once you know what you're dealing with, and be aware of the different options that are out there.

Cancer certainly can be frightening. How long do you have to wait?

Doc_Hawk's picture
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi Snipper,

Fear is a very natural reaction to a cancer dx. Try to channel that fear and turn into anger at the cancer as a weapon in your arsenal. Attitude is perhaps the most important part in fighting this thing and really one of the few things that we can do against it. This can manifest itself by adjusting your diet to ensure that your body gets all of the minerals that it needs, exercise to keep fit and even fighting the impulse to only make short term plans. Once your onc tells you what's going on and advises a course of treatment, the fear will diminish. Will it ever go away completely? That's an unknown. After two years, sometimes I'll wake up in the night in a near panic, afraid that the next time I go for treatment the doc is going to tell me that my cancer has become resistant to treatment and there's nothing else they can do. When that happens, I close my eyes and say a quick prayer for strength. After that peaceful and restive sleep comes back and the next morning is so much brigther.

Just remember that since you found this forum that there are people all over the world now who have your back. We will be here to give advice, share experiences and give the support that we can. You are not alone in this.

God Bless,


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Fear is the motivation to learn what are the steps to fighting the Big C. One does not have to be a projectile in life and can fight with all of their heart and mind against the Big C. Anyone whom tells you they were not scared when they heard they have cancer is a fool, or a liar.

Knowledge and faith are our weapons against cancer. The more knowledge that we have about diet, etc... will help us make good decisions with our choices. Exercise, diet, chemicals, and attitude will all have a play in our outcome in the battle. Our faith that will lead us to good choices and solace, will also affect out health.

Best Always, mike

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

thats how i cope with fear, i have faced it, been to my own funeral, thought about my kids growing up without me, my wife hoarding all of my clothes for her life. i am over my fear of dieing. i have found a strong christian faith that sustains me.

my alternatives give me hope. completely accepting my mortality and living each day authentically means i have no regrets on a daily basis. that means for me loving the kids, wife and friends as well as i can. i hope this helps.

now you realise how fragile our existance really is, well i hope can can offset that fear by seeing how much beauty surrounds us. agreed that sometimes we have to look pretty hard for it. i look hard and i find it.

i have to live 32 more years for my wife and i to get to our 50th anniversay. thats our goal.

so some good goals helps me combat fears.


Phil64's picture
Posts: 838
Joined: Apr 2012

courage is fear offered up in prayer!

Helen321's picture
Posts: 1428
Joined: May 2012

I was in that fear just a few weeks ago myself, it's crippling, scary and tiring. You're in a good position. A polyp means you've caught it early! That means that going forward, you have a chance of completely keeping it out of your body as long as you follow through year after year. I would say not to worry, but we all do it anyway. Thankfully like everything else, after a few insane days, the fear lessens and then it comes back here and there but you'll be able to get back to someone normal and have good moments. I've had quite a few nice weekends since that crazy first weekend. Just have to get through the hard days without going insane.

Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

Above all, don;t be afraid. As some of the others have said "you caught it early" thus probably no problem. But realize we are all survivors!! You too can get through whatever the future has for you. Again DON'T BE AFRAID!!

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