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I am new here My husband has been given a report of stage 4 colon cancer, part colon removed, in 4 lymph nodes and spot on liver. Please give me hope and advice

We are with the Veternans Hospital, please give me advice and  experience of treatment from the Va

We are being scheduled to see an onocolougist,

Thank you,


Posts: 1598
Joined: Aug 2012

HI Karen,

Sorry to hear about your husband.  Sounds like a spot on the liver is pretty good for pronosis.   I don't know a lot about the VA, but honestly have heard more bad than good.  Can he get treatment elsewhere?  

Have hope - folks will be welcoming you and posting with their experience with liver mets.

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband passed away two months ago from MCRC.  I know what your going through.  Try and stay positive. He will need chemo.  It will likely be Folfox or Folfiri with Avastin.  Many people live a full life while being on chemo.  The liver metastasis will likely shrink.  Once this happens he will want to find a good surgeon for liver resection surgery.  The liver is a "good" organ for metastasis.  There are many ways to treat it.  It can be targeted directly with TACE, Theraspheres, HAI pump.  Many options.  A lot will depend on how well you husband responds to the chemo.  They should send off a piece of his tumor to determine if he has the k RAS mutation.  If he doesn't this means he is the wild type.  This is good as there will be several additional chemo option available to him.  Certain chemos (EGFR's) are ineffective to the k RAS mutations.

If he is in good shape he will have an easier time.  It's crucial he have a positive attitude and focus on being healthy and getting well. He will need a lot of support from you.  Take everything one day at a time.  Don't think a head.   You will feel panicky.  Accept that life is now uncertain.  You don't know what the future will bring.  Take advantage of all the times where he feels good.  Go on trips or fun outings when you can.  Live for the day.  Every time you get positive medical news - celebrate.  Some days he will be grumpy as he isn't feeling well.  Just bite your tongue.  Come here to CSN, you will get lots of support.  Emotional and practical.

There are people here who have had tumors removed from their liver and went on to be fine.  The cancer affects us all very individually.

Also, please remember that doctors are just people.  There opinions will vary.  Never be too discouraged by what any one doctor tells you.  The next doctor could have a completely different opinion.  They make mistakes.  Pay lots of attention.  Educate yourselves.  Be in the drivers seat.  Your doctor should work for you.  You both have long roads ahead.  CSN will be here for you.  Stay involved.  I would have completely lost my mind without this group.


Best of luck


And remember it could always be worse.  


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

worth sharing with all of us, whether caregiver or patient.

So Worried
Posts: 111
Joined: Aug 2012


I wish I would have had the pleasure of reading your reply/post a year a half ago. You sure summed it up perfectly. Of course I didn't know it back then. Thank you. I will come back daily to read your answer/post. 


To the original Poster, 

My prayers are with you and I hope you find the strength to get through this. So sorry you have to be here. 

YoVita's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm sure this advice is helpful for many.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Sorry you have to be her but welcome. You have found a very supportive community. I was diagnosed stage IV 8 years ago this month  and still going strong. I had a single met on my liver which  they removed. It sounds like your usband is operable as well. Please feel free to ask any questions.

Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

Chelsea gave you some sound advice. I hope all goes well. I don't know anything about the VA and how they handle cancer. My brother is blessed to be working with a group of doctors who are kind and supportive. Is the VA your only option? Does he have medicare/medicaid? It's a shame that we even have to think about which insurance is better than another or what hospital/group is better. Anyway, the people on this site have been very supportive to me. I am a sister of a rectal cancer patient who was originally diagnosed as stage 2a and is now 4 with metasis on the liver and lungs. We are learning to take it one day at a time, but it's not easy. He beat Non-hodgkins lymphoma 13 years ago when others had him dead and buried, so I am hoping that he keeps fighting the fight. Well, best wishes and let us know how things go with your husband. :)

lp1964's picture
Posts: 1211
Joined: Jun 2013

...gave you a lot of good information here and there is not much I can add but one thing. Your husband has to be active in this and you are gonna have to be a strong team. A caregiver can do a lot, but can't do everything. Your husband has to build his own toughness, he has to particippate as a primary in decision making with your help. He has to own his illness and you can support his fight. Every marriage has it's own dinamics,but in critical situations it may have to change. It is different to make a decision about buying a car or a house and fighting cancer. Get him involved in research, the consultations and the treatment. Owning your problems and believing in your doctors and treatments is half the success.

I wish you two good luck with everything.


karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

So sorry you have to be here,but aliver tumor is operable most of the time.I had one removed from my tumor last year,and part of my colon removed in 2008 and so far I am NED.There is hope.I so far won't go to the va hospital,and a friend of mine who is retired military won't go to the va nor his wife,but the va hospital here is very old,and a new one is being built.Another friend is going to the va hospital,and it seems he is getting the same treatment as me.I guess the stigma from the military doctors is still in my mind.One of the surgens I had trained at a naval hospital,and he is very good.So I don't think you have any worries.We are here if you have any questions.They did shrink my tumor with chemo before surgery.Good luck.

danker's picture
Posts: 1110
Joined: Apr 2012

Welcome to the forum.  Sorry you have to be here but you will get much information. support, hope, and love. Just hang in there and take it a day at a time.  Might be bumpy but it is doable.  Good Luck !!!

LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1456
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Karen

Welcome to the board!  I also was a caregiver, so I can kind of relate to what you're currently going through right now. Hang tough, it's going to be a rough ride.  But we'll be here for you to answer your questions.  And I can't offer you any advice on VA hospitals -- but is there a cancer center in your area that you can go to for treatment instead? 

Take care,


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

and welcome to the forum.  I'm very sorry you have to join us, but if you've got to go through this challenge, at least we can give you a little support as you walk this path.  It's not easy, that's for sure, but there are a lot of folks here who have plenty of experience and widsom to share.

I am not familiar with the VA, but I think it's always a good idea to get a 2nd opinion if you can, no matter where you get your care.  When you are stage 4, getting an extra pair of eyes on the case can't hurt.

And as others have said, 4 nodes and one spot in the liver isn't bad for stage 4.  I realize that probably sounds ridiculous at this point, that anything might be the slightest bit "good", but it really is, in this case.  If the colon has already been resected, and the liver can be resected, then your husband has a shot at a cure.  They have some special name for stage 4ers with a single met in a different organ (can't remember what it's called, of course), but studies have shown that they have a much better prognosis.

Keep us posted.  We'll be thinking of both of you!

Ann Alexandria (aka AA)

PS  I was dx'ed stage 4 in 2009, reached remission via surgery, have been NED (no evidence of disease) since Dec 2011.

YoVita's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

... is often called oligometastases or oligo-recurrence - although technically the terms refer to 1-5 distant metastases and you're right AA, prognosis is much better.  From one fellow librarian to another.  Best.


Recent article on the topic referring to lung cancer as primary but also mentions others including colon and rectal.  


Nice brief article defining the difference between the two terms.




Dumbfounded's picture
Posts: 25
Joined: Sep 2013

So sorry to hear about your husband. I too do not know much about VA hospitals but I do know that choosing to come to this site is a wise decision. I just joined this site recently and it has helped me tremendously. The care, love, and support from everyone is amazing! It's nice to be able to talk to people who know what you are going through. I hope and pray everything works out for you.


BigMike's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2013

I was dignosed with the same thing, stage 4 colon cancer with mets to liver... 12 cycles of chemo, 15 radiation sessions 2 surgeries and one year later I am cancer free and feeling great.  I appriciate everything in life more than I could have ever thought possible and if it wasn't for my wifes great attitude from the very beginning it would have been a lot harder to deal with.  She was my rock when I felt like giving up, there is always hope.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4963
Joined: Feb 2009

Welcome to the board but sorry you had to find us.  There is always hope as cancer treatment has come a long way in just the past 10 years.  Please don't go searching on the internet because it is filled with misinformation and old data.  Good luck at the doctor's and please let us know how he is doing.  We are always here to help you get through this.


Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

One of our old members (dianetavegia)  just posted on Facebook today that her PET/ CT and CEA came back perfect today.  She was dx'd almost 5 years ago.  

See a liver surgeon to have that met surgically removed.  Surgery is with curative intent.  Chemo will only shrink, etc. 


Good luck,


Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2013

Thank you, to all of you who responded to my post, I am new to this so here I go.Your comments have helped me and my husband very much.We are

going to fight this battle as hard as we can with God  and alot of prayer..I guess after the initial shock this is the attitude one settles into. My husband is very optimistic in general that is the way he has always been, that I am sure is a plus. 

He has had an appointment with onculogy Dr. ,he has had an ultrasound and an MRI of the liver, it has shown app a 2cm by 3 tumor on the right lobe and he is being referred to

 the team of liver specialist at Pitts, Va so we are awaiting for the appointment. The oncul Dr does not know how they will want to proceed either with surgery or a new procedure of small incision and freezing the tumor or if they will want chemo first or later. There has not been a pet scan yet as the Dr say it would show all kinds of red places after the recent colon recection.But the Dr. said Pitts, Drs might want one done. So I guess some of my concerns now are, how rought is the liver surgery if that is the choice and any one had any experience with the freezing procedure? Any help, advice and comments are appreciated ,thank you all so much.


Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi karee. I have had 3 liver surgeries. They are harder but manageable. I would push for surgery rather than cryoablation.

YoVita's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

You've gotten some great advice with more to come, I'm sure.  I can't give you direct advice because my diagnosis was different.  However, there are many stage 4 colon cancer survivors on this message board, and I'm sure you'll hear from them.  I feel for you and your husband.  The time of initial diagnosis is so challenging.  Things will settle down for you both as you get a plan.  My best wishes to you both.  

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2013

Hello to you all, I guess I am just wanting to vent my frustrations and concerns and hear some words from you all. Here is an update on my husbands 

care, as you know we are with the Va we do not have any other health care except for medicare. We have seen the oncology Dr again and have been referred to the team of liver specialist in Pittsburgh, Pa, so finally got an appointment for Friday 15 for a consult, they want a stress test here done locally before any liver surgery is considered, so finally got an appointment and just now found out they can not do the stress test until Nov 26, so I am very frustrated that my husband has gone now since Oct 9 from his colon resection and the results of pathology report stage 4 and still no treatment has begun. No pet scan because they said many red spots would show up because of recent colon resection, Is this usual or am I just getting overly anxious? I am giving him many supplements and we have gone to see a Natur herb vitiamin  whatever you call him person, I am doing what I can, giving my husband lots of vegetables, rainbow colors, no sugar, no dairy,etc .So I am now looking at probably he will not get anything done until after  the 26th of  Nov. Am I getting overly  anxious ? I realize everyone's situation is different because of the way things progress. By him having an emergency colon surgery and then the following things taking place his situation is the way it is.I appreciate and am very thankful for this site. Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of wisdom.I have put all this into Gods hands and my husband has also. Along with that I am trying to push and maybe annoy the Va by my calling to get this and that moving. 

Thank you for listening,


Trubrit's picture
Posts: 3807
Joined: Jan 2013

It really is normal to be anxious, and probably somewhat healthy as long as you don't let it control you. Seeing that you are trusting in the Lord, I think you are doing well.

I remember that i thought it was an awfully long time between my colonoscopy and surgery, then my surgery and the starting of treatment, but of course, one has to heal from the surgery before they will start treatment as it inhibits the healing process.  I was diagnosed in mid November and didn't start chemo until mid January. 

I pray things will start moving soon for your husband, because, even though chemo is no fun, it really is good to know that you are doing something. 

God bless, and keep us posted. 

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2013

Thank you so much for your response . Knowing that others have had such a wait, too ,does help me. This whole thing makes one feel like we need to do something in a hurry. So I will continue to do what I can and patiently wait. I am seeing why some say on this site you all are such a blessing and such a comfort to talk to others who have gone through this.I will keep you posted.

God Bless You,


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