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confused about new doctor

Posts: 74
Joined: Jun 2012

Hey everyone I hope the Holidays were great for all of you. I have a question and am hoping some of you can help me out. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with a met to the sacrum and suspicious spots in the liver and lung in June of this year. The original oncologist had a plan which was utilize radiation to shrink the sacral met and then go through 15 sessions of chemo, reevaluate and go for surgery. There was one hitch my moms catheter continued to get infected. She suffered from blood infections throughout her 4 sessions of chemo and in Sept she was hospitalized. She was down from 150 pounds to 120 pounds at this time. She recovered from that infection and is healthier than she was in June of this year. She met with the urologist and corrected the issue with the catheter and had no infections since then. During her recovery she became upset by her old oncologist and decided to go a new route.

She left a pretty big medical center and went to a small local hometown hospital not really known for its care. The new oncologist did scans last week. He looked at the scans and said this is not good... it is in your sacrum and you have spots in your liver and lung. My mom said yes that is the same as where I had them in June. He told her he suggested no chemotherapy. He said with Chemotherapy there was a chance she would end up back in the hospital with an infection again. My dad told her the previous oncologist said the chemo did not place her in the hospital it was the blood infection from the catheter. My mom was having problems when she would eat. She would get coughing fits which would cause her to vomit. This was a month ago. This same doctor told her it was more than likely a partial obstruction without ever doing a scope. My mom was taking a pill to reduce the acid in her stomach and noticed when she took the pill she would gag a short time later. She stopped taking the pill and for the last 4 weeks has not thrown up at all. And has been eating like a horse. My mom has not had chemo since her blood infection in Sept. This doctor said to her it is obvious by your blood work the cancer continues to spread. And pointed out that her CEA went from 30-60 in the last month.

My mom asked this doctor how long she had to live. His reply was well you are in no danger of dying anytime soon. I am not god so it could be between a year and 2 years depending on the speed of the tumor growth.

At the moment me and my dad are very confused. She has scheduled an appt to go back to her previous oncologist and meets with him on Monday. She plans on resuming Chemotherapy now that the infection issues have been resolved. I am very confused at how two doctors could differ so much in opinions.

Posts: 197
Joined: Nov 2012

Maybe you should seek a third opinion? Personally, I would probably have more faith in a larger hospital or medical group where they doctors can consult with each other.

Best wishes for your Mom.

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

I agree with Deena!

Best Always, mike

steveandnat's picture
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

Boy they are at different polars but action need to get going. If things are spreading it would seem they need to get on a chemo schedule right away. I would voice that concern to bothndrd and see how they react. Praying you get good guidance very soon. Jeff

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

I agree is often difficult to understand such disparate opinions but it is a reflection of how complex the situations is. I. Common cases of simple presentation of a colon cancer there are studies of thousands of patients that help build up a standardised way of treating people based on good evidence.inyour mothers situation, especially with the uncommon presentation of sacral mets, there isn't as much evidence to guide treatment. In that situation judgement comes into play trying balance up all the issues- the likelihood of some response from chemo, the likelihood of serious side effects, can she get to surgery, effects of surgery, other complications such as her infections, the spread and progression of disease etc. all of these can't be quantified or measured in an exact way so it is a hugely difficult job for the docs to try and balance them all out to make a suggestion about treatment.

This may not help you that much but might help to understand the docs all mean the best but will come up with different answers. In some ways that is good as it leaves the ball in your court to choose the treatment approach that bests suits your Mom as an individual.

Let us know how things go,


Posts: 74
Joined: Jun 2012

Thank you for the responses everyone. It was just very confusing for me and my dad. Steved I mentioned your post to my dad and he said when the first doctor began treating her he said he has treated around 6000 cases of colon cancer in his career. He said in those 6000 he remembers two, my mom being one of them being diagnosed due to a bone met. This guy is the head of oncology at a very large hospital. I cannot imagine this second doctor has seen the number of patients the first doctor has.

Posts: 158
Joined: Jan 2012

Yesterday, I sat in on a lecture for second year medical students. One of the local oncologists was giving the lecture. I wish everyone could sit in on one of these lectures and really understand that there are truly not any one right or wrong treatment plan for everyone. Our bodies are so different and it is truly a guessing game. Physicians do there best annalyzing a patients situation and coming up with the best treatment plan. But only time will tell if it was the best plan or not. We can just hope that it was the best plan. The oncologist talked about what all was involved in staging and all of the different treatment plans for the cancer he was discussing. I know my oncologist discussed all of this with me when I was first diagnosed but I am not sure how much I took in at that time because there was so much new information. My oncologist was great about giving me the pros and cons of each treatment plan then asked me which one I wanted to go with for my treatment. I chose the most aggressive which he agreed was the right choice. Later down the road due to other complications we had to stop and re-evaluate my treatment. He sat down with me again and went over all of the options. I said I thought option "A" was the best and wanted to go that route. Then I asked him if he agreed. He said no if it were him he would go with option "B". Well I thought about it and went with his choice. I chose an oncologist that I had great faith in and felt he knew my case better than I did. You have a couple of options. Go with the oncologist you trust the best or like someone suggested go get a third opinion. Good luck.

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