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Tumors in colon gone without surgery

Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2013

I had 2 medium size tumors in my colon. When I went in for the colectomy the doctor couldn't find the tumors and opted not to do the resection. I was also given a colonoscopy soon after and still no tumors. Doctor did biopsy on the area where the tumors were and couldn't find any active cells. 

Before surgery I was given 11 rounds of Avastin/5-fu/Oxaliplatin. 

I have been struggling with this since April.  I haven't read or heard of this happening and my Dr's hadn't either but are treating it like it is no big deal. I know chemo does not cure cancer but I want to know if this has happened to anyone else.

lp1964's picture
Posts: 1240
Joined: Jun 2013

...possible. There are a couple of people here that had the same experience and I myself hope for the same thing. In more and more other countries there are studies conducted about postponing surgery if after radiation and chemo there is no tumor detected with colonoscopy, biopsy and scans. They are gonna conduct studies in the U.S. too next year. When they examine the resected colon after surgery in 15 % of the cases there is no appearent cancer cells. Probably the percentage would be higher if they waited 12 weeks instead of 4-6 weeks after radiation and chemo.

It's a very touchy, risky and scary situation, because you as a patient have a very difficult decision to make. Should I postpone surgery and risk the cancer coming back even worse or just go with the safe way that has been used for decades and cut the tumor out. The reason we have this dilemma is that chemo drugs and radiation became much better, but the method of surgery is still considered the ultimate treatment. They are conducting these studies to see if we have an alternative now, but because it takes the observation and comparison of thousands of people for 5-10 years, we won't know the answer for a while. But without trying and accepting some risk we will never know and many people will be operated on maybe unnecessarily.

Talk to your doctors, get more opinions, but after all if we have options the decision is ours.

I wish you the best,


Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2013

That eases my mind a bit.

my Dr's have different opinions about it. The colon surgeon  told my husband that he felt like it was unnecessary to resect. The Liver Dr said that was a mistake, he should have resected the area that the tumors were to prevent them coming back. He is confident that they will come back. My Oncologist agrees with the colon surgeon that it would have been unnecessary. All of them were almost baffled which confused me. Should I be happy that they disappeared or upset that the resection didn't happen?

i try not to think about the 'what if's' but we put allot of faith in the Dr's we choose to care for us.

i wish you the best also.

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Dylan's mom - what about your liver mets?   Did they resect those?  My husband was diagnosed almost exactly a year ago and just had his resection and temp ileostomy in April.   The surgeon had a hard time finding the tumor and got clear margins, but felt the surgery was necessary.   

Have you had any other opinions?   You have a sweet little boy there, I would see at least 1 more doc.    We have a little guy too and I know how tempting it is to forget cancer and just live life, and how BUSY life is, but you want to make sure you are here for him as long as possible - hopefully a very long time.

Good luck.

Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2013

They went ahead with the liver resection. I got 60% cut out. 

That surgery was 7 weeks ago. I just had my 1st PET Scan and they found 5 more 1 or so cm tumors growing on the 40% with a tumor in the left lobe. Also, it picked up active cells outside my right lung. Needless to say, this news was not what I was expecting. 

I start treatments up again this week, hopefully. I am considering calling for a second opinion at another hospital this week.

i definitely agree that forgetting about it and living life is so tempting. Especially now while I feel good and my normal self.

My little man keeps me very busy, as does yours I'm sure. (I just spent about 10 min looking for his 'Dino'.. Lol)

Has your husband had his scan yet? Did anything show up?


Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

No scan yet - saw onc last week and she really thinks his CEA is a good indicator for him, but I'm not so sure.  She did say she'd order a scan soon.  He's still waiting on the reversal so she thinks he should have a ct scan and makes sure nothing shows up.  His CEA in June was .5, July was .6 and last week was .7   - we know that is normal but it's a little nervewracking that it is climbing ever so slightly.

I'm sorry they found more tumors - what are they suggesting for chemo?

Enjoy the little guy and but stay on top of the doctors.  I really like my husbands doctors, but I always feel like if you are not sitting in front of them, they really aren't thinking about you at all.

Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2013

Sorry it's taking me a couple days to get back on line.

i had my first treatment (this round) yesterday. They have me on Avastin/5-FU/Irinotecan thiS time. Dr won't give me the Oxaliplatin for a long while, if ever, because the neuropathy got so bad.

i did get a bit of good news though. After surgery my CEA was 30 and yesterday before treatment it was 4.73. Every little bit of good news is worth is celebrating. 

Oh and I do agree with you on the doctors. I like mine also but like I said before we do put allot of faith in them. 

I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I had a total response to my rectal tumor with chemo/rads.  It was squamous cell carcinoma, so a bit different than 'normal' (is there a normal cancer?) adenocarcinoma.  My doctors, also, were a bit surprised, and I was given a choice to go ahead with the resection or not.


I do think, also, that you should get one more opinion....the trouble is...surgeons love to cut, that's what they do....so I might suggest going to a well-known institution for cancer (Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and other places, Mayo in Minnesota, Johns Hopkins) and get one more look....


BUT, CONGRATS on the response!!!!  That is your immune system at work alongside the chemo, IMHO!!!!!


Hugs, Kathi

k44454445's picture
Posts: 494
Joined: Jul 2012

just wanted to let you know that from july 2012-jan 3rd 2013 i was on folfiri+avastin. 12 tx.  It totally destroyed the 2 abdominal ca tumors, 1 liver ca tumor & lots of peritoneal ca tumors. It greatly reduced all tumors in the peritoneal but the rt ovary did not respond good.  the ovary had encapsulated due to the cut off blood supply due to the avastin. i was able to have cytoreduction/hipec surgery in feb. because the tumor burden was greatly reduced. my med & surg onc said the avastin had worked real well!  since i was off chemo for 4 months i have ca in the femur, back & liver. the surgery was a success, as these are areas the hipec could not reach. when in surgery after the cytored., the surg did not see & could not feel any cancer tumors. i was hoping for ned but it was not to be. i have completed 10 rad tx & i  am on erbitux & irinotecan. scans in oct to see if they are working.

i will keep you in my prayers

hugs judy

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