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PLEASE HELP! Dad preliminarily diagnosed with Colon Cancer Stage 4

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

My Dad is 65 years old.  He was having some stomach pain and couldnt go to the bathroom for a few days.  He finally went to the ER Wednesday of this past week.  He was given a scan and told there was an obstruction.  By that afternoon when i arrived, the Dr told him he had cancer.  I spoke to the Doctors and was told they believe it it to be stage 4 with spreading to the lungs and liver.  This is all so new and sudden and I am trying to be strong for both him and my mother.  But truth be told I am so lost as to what to do.  STAGE 4!? we just went through this a few months ago with his sister who was 81 and diagnosed similiarly with Stage 4 breast cancer.  She passed early december, i believe she didnt get treated with chemo.    Apparently this runs in the family.  But with limited medical history on that side and my honest lack of information I am so lost.  If any of you can give insight as to what questions to ask, next steps and coping, please i beg you to reply. 


As of now, they did another scan of the upper body and an XRAY KUB(?).  He also had 2 enemas in preparation of a colonoscopy which he had yesterday.  During, they did a biopsy and placed a stent to open the colon.  The attending Dr told me they saw spots around the lungs and 2 masses one upper and the other lower and smaller near the rectum.  


Additionally, My dad had TB some 40+ years ago.  He was treated.  He used to smoke but quit cold turkey about 15 years ago. And drank often but recently (last 10 years) has cut back significantly. About 15 yrs ago he was brought in to exam his lungs which showed polyps but after that he was fine.

I have absolutely no medical knowledge but can I be wishfully thinking that what they see on his lungs is from the TB years ago and what they see on his liver is from the drinking?  

We are waiting to hear from the Oncologist he is supposed to speak to us within the next 2 days. Biopsy is said to come in next week.  

I got a journal to document information.  A speciailist not sure which bc i was not present i believe the GI doctor told Dad if it is cancer then he will be placed on Chemo. Who's decision is that?  What are our options.  How long will he have?

I have been praying.


Dad is still in the hospital, this is day 4.  He is slowly being transitioned to a puree diet from liquid but still having some pain (significantly reduced from intial pain that brought him here).


God Bless you all! 

Only child






Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

So very sorry to hear about your dad, but glad you have found this site.  There are many many years of collective experience in the folks who post.

You mention scans...did they do chest, abdomin and pelvis?  You also mention another biopsy next week...is that for lungs or liver?

If the stent the placed in the colon works, they will likely not want to do surgery if the diagnosis is confirmed stage 4.  From what I have learned here, they like to see if chemo will control or minimize exisitng cancer.  Surgery may be an option in the furture.

It would be helpful if your dad put you on all HIPPA forms as being able to get info about his medical condition.  That way, even if you are not with him when docs visit at hospital, you can still get the info from them.  Once he is released, it would be good to have you go with him to future appointments so you can ask questions and make notes on the treatment plans.  You can then ask here about what you have learned.

I know how difficult this is for you.  There are folks who post here who have been stage 4 for many years, with treatment.  Don't give up hope.


Marie who loves kitties

Sonia32's picture
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mar 2009

Big hugs, firstly glad you have posted here. You will get words of wisdom from members and carers who are going through this right now, or from some of us who have already been through it. Marie has given you good advice. All I will add is you continue to ask questions on here. Keep a note of them and speak to his medical team, the more information you gain the more it will help. At the moment it is all over whelming for you, just take each day as it comes and keep posting.



Posts: 172
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad :(   Cancer sucks big time.   The standard chemo treatments for stage 4 colon cancer are FOLFOX or FOLFIRI usually will the addition of Avastin.  I do not have experience with rectal tumors but most people I know must do a series of radiation treatments for those in addition to the chemo.  There a lots of people here who have experience with everything available and they'll chime in with their thoughts too.  Your Dad is still young at 65 and if his health has been good prior to cancer he may do quite well with the chemo. 


I'm a bit younger than your Dad and my situation was considered bad at my diagnosis too.  I'm 4+ years now, on chemo yes, but living a good life just the same.  I'm still on the same chemo I started with and so far, it still works to keep my tumors at bay.


All the best to you and your Dad.  Stay here though, everyone will help you through this.  :)


tachilders's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

My advice is to take a few deep breaths and try to relax a little bit.  Nothing that happens in the next few days/weeks will matter in the long run.  Let the doctors do their job and get the right diagnosis for you, and then plan on what to do next.  There are many of us on here with stage 4 mCRC, and many of us are quite a bit younger than your dad (I'm 46 and was diagnosed in June 2012 when I was still 45).  I am stage 4 with mets all over (lungs, liver, lymph nodes, peritoneum, etc...).  If he is stage 4, they will likely recommend chemo, either FOLFOX or FOLFIRI (5FU + leucovorin with either oxaliplatin or irinotecan, hence the OX or IRI) + Avastin.  Many people tolerate these chemo regimens pretty well, including myself who has done 12 tx of FOLFOX + Avastin.  It looks like FOLFIRI + Avastin is up next for me, as I still have most/all of the tumors I had at diagnosis, although they have shrunk with treatment.  There are stage 4 folks on here that are still around after 8 or more years, so stage 4 is survivable for quite awhile in the right circumstances.  Many doctors treat stage 4 like a chronic illness these days, and not like a certain short-term death sentence.  Much of the success of the treatment is based on the overall health of the individual, as well as how well their particular tumor responds to the treatments.  Right now, just be there to support your dad, and then prepare to help as needed if he does need chemo or other treatments (surgery, radiation, etc...).  Best of luck for your dad's health.



herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

There are a lot of us that are Stage IV colon cancer on this board, I am one of them.

The reason for the chemo is that is can shrink the tumors, when the tumors are found elsewhere, such as lungs, liver etc., (that's what makes it stage IV, it has spread to other organs) they usually will not do surgery unless the tumors are shrunk, the goal usually is to get to the surgery.  I am in reocurrance of my colon cancer (3 years next month since diagnosed) and am doing chemo in order to shrink the latest tumors with surgery.  Cutting the tumors out is our goal.

In your father's case, he probably needs the tumors shrunk in order to relieve or prevent the obstructions.

You, your dad and family will be going through a lot of feelings in the up coming months.  The first is usually the crying and why us stage, the denial (thinking you'll wake up and they got it all wrong) sometimes anger, etc., the fighting mode may be there the whole time, or it may kick in a couple of months later after the shock has worn off.  It sucks, big time, colon cancer sucks, but just as your dad does, we have it, we are learning to LIVE with dealing with it, trying to get rid of it, chemo sucks, but it also has given many of us a chance to live a lot longer.  Next month I will have 3 extra years, I was given 2 weeks without chemo,  4 to 6 months with chemo, I'm still here, started college, was here for my 4th grandson's birth, my son's graduation from his 2 year college and into his 4 year, living and loving life.  Life isn't over, it's just different now.

The chemo is different for different cancers.  My sister-in-law is stage IV breast cancer since last year,she's lost weight, looks terrible, I have stage IV colon cancer, same weight, and look healthy (most of us Stage IV colon cancer look very healthy, it's difficult for people to believe we have cancer).  I have had a fairly easy time with the chemo, some have a difficult time, you don't know until one has it, how it will affect one individually.  I've tried not to fear chemo, but to think of it as working with me in the fight against my tumors, as long as it's doing it's job, I'll do my job, making sure I eat, stay hydrated and mentally fighting that cancer!!!

Your journal is an excellent idea!!! 

How long does he have?  No one knows, some can die within the year, some years later, and others years and years later.  So far as I stated above, I've gotten 3 years, and plan on having more.  It depends on your chemo, your surgery, your body's reaction.  Let's assume he's going to be around for quite some years and look at the long term plans for him.

My heart goes out to your family as you begin this new adventure in life and learn to travel through the many bewilderments that cancer causes.


Winter Marie

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

GOD BLESS YOU ALL THAT RESPONDED!  I am going to make it part of my plan to check this site as much as possible.  I am keeping hope with what you have all given me.  For those of you that discussed particular chemo regimes, can you maybe give me some more info?  I only know chemo as chemicals that kill cancer cells.  When you mentions names and times I am lost.  Are there rounds of Chemo?  

I am here for him and will be always. I have been with him for 8-10 hrs at the hospital every day just watching him sleep helping him around and encouraging him to walk as much as he can.  

I spoke to the covering GI today who said that they want to make sure dad can pass food as he progresses to solids before he goes home.  Good Lord I ran with that and told Dad he will be home soon.  I truly believe that!  I am thankful I am a teacher (my first year) and can be home during the summer to tend to him.  I just pray he is here with us.  

Mom however has PTSD and some depression so I also need to figure out a coping mechanism for her as well. (Any ideas?)  I spoke to her social worker and gave her my number if she has an ideas how to proceed with Mom being able to deal. 

I cannot begin to thank you all for the insight! God is good for leading me to you! 



And for those of you surviving i pray God continues to provide you health and strength! 


Anyone in the NYC area with Drs they recommend or services etc please let me know. 

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

My chemo's were Oxyplatinin, Xeloda (pill form of chemo) and Avastin.  The Oxy (call it that for short of Oxyplatinin) and the Avastin were given intrevenously through my port (a port is installed in the chest and the chemo goes through that into your system, I had originally no port and it went through my arm veins and it HURT like hell, so if your dad does chemo, make sure that a PORT is discussed with the oncologist, a port is installed by a surgeon in an outpatient process)once every three weeks, the Xeloda was a pill form that I took twice a day for two weeks, with one week of no chemo. Some people go every three weeks, some every two weeks, some once a week.

The FOLFOX AND FOLFIRI are chemo combinations that I don't know much about, so someone else will chime in. 

The Oxy/Avastin/Avastin combination worked great for me, and depending on how advanced and other varibles, will be the deciding factor for your dad's oncologist, FOLFOX and FOLFIRI have worked great for others.

The first three chemo's stopped working for me, so I am on a new chemo called Irinotecan which is also working great.

When you find out which chemos the oncologist prefers, please let us know, because between all of us, we have tried one chemo or another that has been on the chemo market. So no matter which chemo there will be several here that can give advice on the effects of their individual chemo regime.

Just remember, each person reacts differently to chemos.  So far, for me, it's been pretty much a breeze compared to some others reactions. So just keep that in mind if you hear some bad ones, okay?  The problem is, you don't know how it will affect your dad until it does.  BUT...we can prepare you and him for the side affects that happen with those chemos (I think that's what helped me through my chemos, knowing what to expect and not surprised when it happened, thanks to the good people on this site).

Winter Marie

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Welcome,  We are sending thoughts and prayers to your father for a quick recovery.


It is not unusual for a colon blockage to be in the hospital for about 8 days.  They want to make sure his body is working again, and that there is no sepsis. 


It is probably early to know what stage the cancer is in. It is comon to have cycsts on the lung and first dianosis is cancer. Treatments for Chemo are ususally an IV for about 2 hours and then a medical pump for 46 additional hours. He can go home and function normally while doing chemo.  Chemo is naueating and tiring. The normal Chemo is for up to 12 tretments, then additional chemo may be needed.  If he needs further surgery then the Chemo may only be 6 treatments and then look for enough shrinkage to do additional surgery. Then resume chemo after surgery.


Before one starts Chemo, test for KRAS and BRAF should be done. They are genetic markers that tell the Oncologist if a Chemo is more affective then another tretment.


For now, just be supportive for him to have  quick recovery. Your mom needs your support too. It is a shock to find someone you care so much about has cancer.


Best Always,  mike 

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Thank you Mike! 

Ok so they are tests to see if Chemo will work?  What kind of tests?  Blood? 

I read KRAS on another Blog and will conitue to look into it.

Thank you so much! 

abrub's picture
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mar 2010

My surgeon, Dr. Paty is a brilliant colo-rectal surgeon there, and would advise if surgery or chemo is advisable first.  I know that he has spoken to the fact that for Stage IV, unless there is a serious blockage, chemo is the way to start.  You can look into getting a referral there.  I know that they take many different insurance plans.  If you can get a consultation with him, he would direct you to his preferred medical oncologist.  Unfortunately, the one I used left MSK a couple of years ago.  However, as I'm in remission, I don't need a medical onc right now - Dr. Paty is tracking my scans.  Dr. Paty is also excellent in helping you to understand the why's and wherefore's of the treatment plan and condition.  (The reason he always runs late is that he spends extra time with all of his patients explaining things.  If you see him, be prepared to wait, possibly for hours.)

Chemo is commonly given in "rounds" (every other week for example).  However, sometimes in preparation for surgery, it can be given constantly over several weeks or more (the patient brings home a pump or device filled with chemo that is attached and portable in a fanny pack.)

You'll be learning way too much in the next few weeks.  Take lots of notes, take long walks, and take care of yourself.

We're here to help answer questions.


(Metastatic Appendix Cancer - diagnosed in 2007 and currently in remission.)

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks Alice! 

God bless you in remission.  I am going to look into Sloan.  Do any of you recommend a second opinion as part of the process?

Dad is at Beth Isreal.  I am not sure if this is quality care for his condition right now.  While most are nice i just have a sense that most of these doctors with the exception of a few are students.  I want an experienced professional in charge of my Dad's care.  

Ok so Chemo requires a port that is going to be placed in my Dad?  Where?  


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

The port goes into the chest, usually on the left side, it will be just under the skin and visible, it is about the size of a quarter.  It's like under an hour surgery, outpatient.  My oncologist (onc for short) never mentioned that a port even existed, the infusion nurse did, thank goodness for the nurse.  So make sure to ask first thing about getting a port installed from his onc.

Winter Marie

abrub's picture
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mar 2010

While you are seeing lots of students, a senior physician is overseeing your dad's care. The students are not making any critical decisions.  However, he should get excellent care at BI.

Second opinions are always worthwhile, even if just to confirm the first.  Frankly, I had 2 opinions with 2 drs at MSK, and one was terrible (and completely wrong) and the other was Dr. Paty, who knew exactly what to do about my rare cancer.

Ports make chemo much easier.  Mine was in the right - they tend to be placed in the upper chest.  Have your dad ask for a prescription for Emla cream to use before chemo - then he won't feel the needle going into the port at all. (You gob it on thickly an hour or so before chemo, and cover the area with plastic wrap.  The chemo nurse wipes it off, but it will have numbed the area well.)

Good luck to you and your Dad through all of this. 


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6709
Joined: Feb 2009

Sorry you found us but you will find so much information here.  Sounds like they are treating your dad with aggressive movement on treatment which is great.  You need to make sure that someone is there at every visit, appointment, scan, test, etc to make sure that he is not only hearing what he wants and not what he should.  It's hard to come to grip with, but it's imperitive.  Wait until the path comes back and the doctors come to conclusion on what they want to do.  You (and your father) will now go through such a rollercoaster of everything and it will bring you full circle and start again.  It's normal and confusing.  Come here, state your concerns, your fears, your questions.  We are here to help.  Stage 4 is not a death sentence.  There are many on this board that are still here after 8 years.  It's scary here but you got someplace to come.  Good luck to your dad and let us know the path and how he is doing.


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

"......if it is cancer then he will be placed on Chemo. Who's decision
is that?  What are our options.  How long will he have?......."

All decisions are your father's; the physicians can only make suggestions
regarding treatments.

His options can be plentiful, but he will have to seek other opinions
from physicians that are -not- of the same group or organization
as the ones he presently has. Surgeons are often more objective
than physicians making money providing chemical treatments.

His options can vary from conventional (western medicine) treatments,
to an alternative medicine used along with conventional  treatments,
or by itself.

His prognosis (life expectancy) isn't up to anyone. My prognosis was
terrible back in 2006 when I was diagnosed with 3c/4 colon cancer
(I later found out that I was a 4). I did not do "conventional medicine",
and chose a different route (click on my name to read my profile).

I have (had) many friends diagnosed with stage one and two colon
cancer that had died within two years of diagnosis; most had taken
chemo and radiation as prescribed.

There have been posters here, diagnosed with 3 (and 4) colon cancer
and remain doing well after many years, that have not taken the chemical
treatments, and have used dietary methods (juicing) instead.

And you'll find one here with stage four, who's cancer team is
treating his condition as a "chronic disease", rather than something

What works for one, may not work for someone else; we're all
different. But making one very sick from treatments; damaging
the immune system beyond it's ability to protect you, is never
a good idea. The body can survive against all odds, if the immune
system is in good shape..... take that advantage away, and you're
left with a dependency on some chemical to fight for you...

I prefer to trust my body, instead of some manufacturer's claim.

It's his choice to make, not yours, not some physician's. But he
needs as much data as possible, and he has to trust in his
own instincts for survival.

I'm wishing him the very best of health!


Dilemma's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2013

You know, my mum is just like you in the way she views chemo and the like, I swear she said the same thing about chemo making you sick and how important immune system health is, almost word for word!

But that's hardly surprising as mum is heavily into what most people term "New Age" living- she eats organic, keeps fit, meditates and uses reflexology, reiki and the like to keep her body and mind healthy and balanced. She's also a firm believer in the body/mind/spirit connection and the importance of having a positive attitude and caring for your body as a means to living a happy, fulfilling life.

As a result she trusts that her preventative lifestyle, coupled with regular body tune-ups with her kenesiologist, naturopath, chiropractor and the like, will keep her well and warn her if anything needs looking into. Plus, mum really isn't comfortable with so-called "conventional" medicine as it's too invasive and only focuses on fixing things rather than preventing them from happening in the first place.

Mind you, her dislike of doctors also meant that she didn't have a single pap smear in the last 30 years.

Anyway, just over a year ago, a couple of weeks before Xmas 2011, she started hemorrhaging heavily and was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer.

Fortunately the cancer, while reasonably established, was treatable with a combination of external radiation, brachytherapy and, finally, 6 weeks of 1/2 dose chemo to address the small cluster found in her lymph nodes. Surgery wasn't an option which was hard for mum because she was a lot more comfortable with going under the knife than having to endure a cocktail of toxic "medicine".

So last February mum completed 6 weeks of external radiation, all while balancing out her treatment with complimentary medicine, and then announced that she was going to "postpone" the chemo to pursue a less damaging course of treatment because, as she put it, chemo is completely toxic and it made no sense to poison the very thing she was trying to save.

No one could convince her to change her mind.

She found a doctor who was supportive of her decision and he put her on massive doses of IV Vitamin C on top of her usual hilariously gigantic pile of vitamins, herbs, homeopathic this and Chinese herbalist that. She cut out all dairy, her 1 cup of coffee and the rare glass of wine and was even more careful with her diet than normal- she's not the sort to eat junk food or faux health food at the best of times so her diet was really clean after the diagnosis.

By this stage she had recovered from the side effects of the radiation and, though a bit on the thin side, looked healthy and felt great and was determined to do whatever it took to get well again, as long as it didn't involve chemo or putting her body in the hands of the hospital system again.

Then mum decided not to go back for the scheduled 6 month check up- after all, she felt good and was doing everything her doctor and assorted healers recommended. She was actually pretty confident that the cancer was gone. Plus she didn't really like the treatment team at the hospital as they still wanted her to do the brachytherapy and chemo and she felt that all the tests were a bit excessive, as if she was being used as a Big Pharma cash cow by the hospital, what with all the "unecessary" scans and pressure to conform to their treatment plan.

[Sorry for the lengthy reply, but I need to give you an idea of how things unfolded between mum's initial diagnosis and now.]

Anyway, it had been a big year all round health-wise. I had my pelvis reconstructed in July and, as I live a few hours away, I didn't get a chance to see mum much afterwards (added to which there was some tension between us about her treatment approach or lack thereof). So I was really pleased that she was coming down for Xmas lunch- I missed catching up with her over a cuppa.

Well, mum made it down and oh my god, my first thought was that she was dying...she was a shuffling, skeletal shadow of her former vivacious self.

2 days later my sister rushed her to hospital and they discovered that she had septecemia, an ulcerated colon, a perforated bowel and her cervical tumor was bleeding again. She almost died from the infection.

They stuck her on a drip, pumped her full of antibiotics and she had to go over a week with no food or drink (ice cubes only for the thirst) while they waited for the infection to subside enough so they could operate.

10 days after Xmas she was wheeled into surgery and came out with a stoma and was fitted with a colostomy bag shortly therafter.

3 days ago we were given the news that my mum's cancer has spread, that it's inoperable, that chemo is no longer an effective option and that there's simply nothing they can do. She is now under the care of the palliative team.

So, to recap; in the space of 1 year my mother went from having an excellent shot at knocking the cancer out by enduring 12 difficult weeks of radiation and chemo to being admitted to the palliative care service, all because she got so blinded by the "chemo's so bad for you" "Big Pharma's evil!" mantra that she forgot who the villian really is! Hint- it's the cancer.

She wasted this last year running from legitimate treatment, searching for that miracle cure and all the while every new age, anti-conventional medicine sycophant she came across validated her irrational fear of doctors and encouraged her to "stick to her guns!" even as the cancer ate away at her and spread its poison throughout her poor body.

So forgive me if I find comments about the perils of chemotherapy to be just a tad frustrating, because I can tell you right now that my mother is in the process of dying and it wasn't the chemo that did it, it was the cancer that she failed to treat.

My mum is so scared right now, and so regretful that she didn't at least commit to completing 1 course of conventional treatment- just 12 weeks out of her life in exchange for the chance at a future.

Of course we know there's no guarantee that she would have gone into remission, but at least she would have had a chance!

And, for what it's worth, I think complimentary medicine is well worth pursuing, but not to the exclusion of those treatments that- horribly unpleasant as they may be- actually have a documented history of effectiveness.

I'm glad that you are in good health and I sincerely hope that you continue to be, but I don't think this is the time or place to sow seeds of doubt in those who are confronting the reality of cancer treatment and all it entails.

Sure, enourage people to do their research, get educated, seek second opinions etc. It's so important to be proactive about your health and your options, but adding to the sense of fear and confusion that already surrounds chemo and the like isn't the way to go about it.

I just hope no one here has to spend months upon months begging their mum to please, please have the treatment because we love you and want you to fight...we know you're scared but we promise to be there with you every step of the way, so please don't turn your back on this opportunity, because once it's gone you never get it back.

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Sorry to hear about your mom.

Regular checkups, scans, etc., are not to be discarded and given up
when one is doing any alternative. It's better to know what's going
on, than to guess. Cancer doesn't rear it's ugly head until it invades
an organ so heavily, that it can't be overlooked.

I don't believe in most of the "alternatives" that others are using,
and that includes "juicing". It is better however, to use whatever
builds your immune system, than tear it apart using chemicals.

Chemical therapy and radiation kills as many (or more) good
cells than it does cancer cells. If I had to use either, it would
be to kill a tumor, since neither chemo or radiation is effective
against single cancer cells; the targeting methods of either are
just not accurate enough.

To blame mom's choices and declare some notion that doing
chemo continually would have saved her, is foolish at best. There
simply is no way of knowing what would have helped her more.

I can honestly tell you, that I know more people that have died
of complications of cancer after using only chemical therapy and
radiation, than of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have long
outlived my miserable prognosis, and I never used chemo
or had radiation. I have suffered more from the complications
of surgery, than of cancer.

That does not mean that I will survive cancer's ravages, but only
that I did not have to suffer western medicine's ravages and have
survived in spite of  "the odds" of not doing chemo.

Each of us should listen to what our instincts; our intuition, tells us to.

For some of us, it's to go the conventional route - for others
of us, it's an alternative route, or perhaps a combination of both.
But to declare that only western medicine will save you, is not
in anyone's best interest. There are much safer ways to remain
alive and well.

I personally do not consider Traditional  Chinese Medicine (TCM)
to be an "alternative", since it's been a medical science for nearly
four thousand years, and has served billions upon billions of
people for that duration of time. It remains being used to this
day in Asian hospitals, along with western medicine.

It's cured my AF, helped my body dissolve kidney stones, and
DVTs...... I know individuals that once had diabetes and were
totally cured, using TCM; all things that western medicine can not
do, TCM manages to do.

I do not want to convince anyone to forego conventional treatment
for cancer, but to only investigate seriously, a very viable option
that may serve them well.

We are all different, and what works for me (and a few billion others),
may not work for you.

But please, don't cast it aside as "snake oil".

Mom's radiation treatments and initial toxic remedies may have
been a contributing factor to her poor results....

May better health be with you always,


Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Anyone here care to share their thoughts on alternative treatments? 

Can you elaborate on the juicing?  What exactly is that?

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

and send a few hugs to you and your dad.  You've already gotten a lot of good advice here, so I don't have much to add in a practical sense.  The one alt treatment that I tried and found possibly useful was taking cimetidine (brand name Tagamet) for a week before and after surgery.  If your dad has another surgery in his future, it's worth throwing into the mix, as some studies suggest it reduces the chance of the cancer spreading during surgery.  I've had 5 surgeries, and it was only after the last one that I reached NED for any extended period of time (a little over a year at this point); however, I say "possibly" because I have no way to know if it was the cimetidine that did the trick or not.  But it's OTC, and can't hurt to take for a few weeks, so it seems like a good one to try.  As for juicing, I've never done it, but there are others here who have (it's basically just what it sounds like...throwing healthy fruits and veggies into a juicer and drinking the results), and I'm sure they'll be able to give you some input.  I know there many recipes online.  Seems like another "can't hurt, might help" addition to any more traditional approach.  Stay strong~Ann Alexandria 

Posts: 172
Joined: Jul 2012

There are some good treatments available but as John said, it is your father's choice which path he wants to go.  I use alternative treatments integrated with my chemo as this seems to work the best for me.   Make sure you find a reputable naturopathic Dr., preferably one who is also educated in oncology and should be board certified.  Don't wait to start alternatives until all the regular treatment options have failed and expect results.  The body needs something to work with in order to heal the natural way.   Lastly, always let the oncologist know about other treatments/supplements.  :)

tachilders's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

I'll try to summarize the different medicines for you, and some of the acromyns, so you can better understand what the options are.

5FU = 5-fluorouracil.  This is the base drug for colon cancer and is delivered IV (usually every 2 weeks and over 46 hours with a pump) with leucovorin (folinic acid), which helps it work.  This is one "round" of chemo.

Xeloda = A pill form of a 5FU precursor that is converted to 5FU by your body.  Given every day for 2 weeks with a week off in between "rounds".

Oxaliplatin = A platinum containing drug that also works against colon cancer.  Usually given with 5FU or Xeloda.  When infused with 5FU and leucovorin, it is called the FOLFOX regimen.

Irinotecan = Another drug that is usually combined with 5FU or Xeloda.  When combined IV with 5FU and leucovorin, this regimen is called FOLFIRI.

Avastin = A monoclonal antibody (a biological agent, so technically not chemotherapy) that can be added to the chemo regimen.  It works by preventing the body from making new blood vessels, which tumors need to survive and grow.

Erbitux = Another monoclonal antibody that can be used with chemotherapy.  It interferes in a pathway that cells use to grow, called RAS.  Cancer cells tend to have overactive RAS.  Some people (like me) have a mutated RAS gene, so this drug doesn't help us.  They will deteremine if your dad has a RAS mutation from biopsies they took from his tumor(s).

There are a couple of newer drugs that have just been approved for colon cancer, but I don't know a lot about them.  Right now, it seems that they are generally used only after the above regimens have either failed or stopped working. 

Hope this helps somewhat...

karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

I'm sorry you have to be here.It looks like you have already have gotten alot of advice.The first time I was dx with cancer,I had a lot of pain going to the bathroom,the tumor was blocking most of the intestine,hence the blood.I got a colonosomy[2008],and did fine untill nov.2011,when the cancer came back,and had spread to my liver.I did some more chemo,avastin,oxy,5fu,etc.,then more surgery on my liver.Now I am doing fine.Your father,and you should get all the information you can,and write down all the answers,and last of all,never,ever give up,and don't get sad,get mad ,and fight the cancer with all you can.

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013



They performed a colonoscopy and did a biopsy.  It came back inconclusive.  Today Dad goes in for a Liver biopsy.  They said they do that with a needle.  What does this all mean?  Am I falsly hoping that that means its not cancer?  Dad is eating better and the bone scan came shows nothing in the bones. 


How do i process this?


Please help!



annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

but I do know that they can miss the tumor when attempting to biopsy the colon, because it's in constant motion.  Or sometimes they may hit cells that are dead, and apparently they can't base a diagnosis on dead cells.  The liver biopsy will hopefully be more definitive.  I would try not to make any assumptions one way or another before they give you the final answer.  It's terribly stressful having to wait, I know...took weeks for me to get my official diagnosis, and I'm not sure there was a worse period of time in this whole process.  Hang in there.  AA

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Best of luck!

bigman4christ's picture
Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Julia, the liver biopsy is not hard and doesnt even really hurt.  I just had my second one done last week and am actually getting the results back today.  They will most likely put your dad under concience sedation meaning that he is awake but will not really feel anything and time will fly by super fast:)  My biopsy was about 45min long and i only thought i was in there for 5-10 min:)  I think it was harder for me to wait before and after.  Your dad might be a little sore and wont be able to lift anything heavier than 15lbs for a few days while he heals up.  I hope my experiance helps make this not as scarry for you.  As far as falsely hoping its not cancer... we can only pray that its not, but that is why they are doing a liver biopsy just to make sure that it is not cancerous. this will help determine the course that the Dr. will take for your pops.  hope this helps


Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

I appreciate the responses.  So he is a little sore from the liver biopsy should have results in a few days.  Dad is set to go home tomorrow! I can't wait! Spoke with Oncologist today.  While inconclusive the first time the blood tests he said indicated 500 CEA.  Doc says that indicates the presence of cancer.  I have read about other diseases that also show high CEA levels.  Maybe denial....I dont know...we shall see either way I am here for my Dad full force!!!!!!!

I pray for you all! And appreciate you all as well! 



(My Beagle can't wait until Grandpa gets home!) 

Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Guys,


Initial biopsy from colon came back inconclusive.  Liver biopsy done.  Awaiting results.  Dad is now home and I am putting myself responsible for his diet.  With that said can you recommend any particular foods?  

Oncologist said despite inconclusive biopsy, the CEA levels are at 500 indicating cancer present.  Any insight while we wait for results from 2nd biopsy?

I plan on going grocery shopping this weekend, and I am no Julia Childs so this is all very new and I want to make sure I take care of everything...cover all bases, diet and doctors and treatment....etc

Thank you for any help!


Posts: 20
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Guys,


Initial biopsy from colon came back inconclusive.  Liver biopsy done.  Awaiting results.  Dad is now home and I am putting myself responsible for his diet.  With that said can you recommend any particular foods?  

Oncologist said despite inconclusive biopsy, the CEA levels are at 500 indicating cancer present.  Any insight while we wait for results from 2nd biopsy?

I plan on going grocery shopping this weekend, and I am no Julia Childs so this is all very new and I want to make sure I take care of everything...cover all bases, diet and doctors and treatment....etc

Thank you for any help!


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

I wouldn't stress myself out trying to become a gourmet cook under these circumstances!  I would go with whatever sounds good to your dad.  I think you mentioned an obstruction in your original post, so one thing to consider would be how well he's able to digest what he eats.  Stuff that is high in fiber might be hard on his system.  Did he have any surgery?  This would also affect his ability to eat.  If there are problems with appetitie, a home made milk shake is good...make it with lots of fruit and it can be quite healthy. Hopefully, the hospital also gave you some guidelines on diet.  AA

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