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After surgery chemo

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2015

Well just finished up my surgery, they pretty much took everything......rectum, colon....and created a stoma for me. Dealing with the "bag" isn't all that bad, its been 4 weeks and more uncomfortable than anything else, still not fun...but a fair trade to get rid of the cancer. I met with the Dr. and wondered what is next? I had heard that chemo was in store for me , 4 months worth. All lymph nodes came back clear along with the margins. He said that he cound'nt recomend the chemo , but it was my choice.....said it wasn't worth it on just  the chance that there might be something left. Wondering if anyone has had this suggestion before? Kinda leaves me wondering....

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

I have not heard of a doctor giving the patient a choice of doing chemo or not.  Now if he said lets hold off on chemo, check things out in 3 months and go from there, I might buy that but giving you a choice,  if you want it ok, if not ok, no way.   He is the expert, you are the novice and just learning all there is to learn about your cancer.

What did they stage your cancer?   You might want to look into a second opinion from another oncologist so you have some peace of mind in your decision making.  No one wants to do chemo and given the choice just might say no thanks I am out of here but colon cancer is very sneaky so make sure all your bases are covered. 

Take care - Tina

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2015


Thanks for your response, it was first said that it was a stage 3, but after the surgery it was downgraded to a stage 2. The Dr seemed relieved that I agreed not to do the chemo.....so it leaves me wondering....they do have me scheduled in 90 days for follow up scans. From my understanding there is an 8 week window to start the chemo...so I have alittle time to decide..

NewHere's picture
Posts: 1340
Joined: Feb 2015

One guy (who did the scope) said that Stage 2 and early Stage 3 often will not require chemo.  The Surgeon said Stage 2 often no chemo though Stage 3, probably B and C, usually do.  (If I recall the Stage 3 part).  With clean margins and no lymph node involvement, the surgery may have gotten it.  Sounds like the scan is within the window to start chemo for you.  My understanding (where I was) that there was 6 weeks or would need more testing.  If the surgeons and Onc feel you can wait 90 days, may be worthwhile if you can avoid chemo, though it has not been horrific for me at all, more annoying.  If you want to put your mind at ease, get the surgical report and scans you have and find a second opinion.  May cost a bit to get it, but if it helps put your mind at ease and help with your decision it is probably worth it.

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

My oncologist said I 'might as well' do the follow up chemo after my surgery. I'd been reading a lot about it and wasn't sure it was worth it. And I'd had an infection underneath my incision that had to heal before I could do it so I didn't start until after the window of time that they want to start it in. I wasn't happy with my onc's response as I did not feel confident at all about putting the poison in my system. The week I ended up in the hospital with a blood clot in my lung I had an appointment with my onc and was going to tell her that I wasn't going to finish the chemo. I think I'd done 8 of 10 or 12, I can't remember.

So I have no advice or suggestion for you, I'm sorry, I just understand your indecision. I'm still not sure that the blood clot wasn't from the chemo despite the fact that they say cancer surgery can cause it. The surgery was six months before. And I never had blood clots until I was on chemo and then I had three superficial ones before the one to my lung that was so devastating. I'm not saying don't do chemo in case you get blood clots, but I wish I hadn't. I was a stage three with three of eleven lymph nodes involved.

I hope you make a decision you're comfortable with. I so didn't want to do the chemo but I was worried that the cancer would come back and I'd always think it was my fault for not doing it. It still might come back but at least I know I tried. The neuropathy was terrible because it was winter but this time of the year wouldn't be so bad.


Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

I had five weeks of chemo and radiation prior to my resection. After resection with ileostomy onc wanted more chemo. Surgeon, who was running the show,said no need for chemo.  She was right! Almost 6 yrs since diagnosis,over 5 yrs NED.  I don,t understand why so much post resection chemo, especially with all the side effects it seems to  bring,   May we all be NED!!!

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2015

Thank you all for your responses, at this point I am leaning to holding off on the chemo, also still healing up from the surgery.....even after 4 weeks still pretty sore....taking Norco as needed...hate that stuff..



tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1302
Joined: Oct 2010

Did your blood work have  an initial CEA, CA19-9 and LDH before radation treatment?  These would tell you more about what kind of stage 2 or 3 you are, whether chemo and other things would likely be important.  Untreated, the future recurs are more likely to show up there.

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