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Thread: chemo and radiation prior to surgery

  1. #1

    chemo and radiation prior to surgery

    I have unknown stage of rectal cancer and the doctors are saying chemo and radiation will be our first plan of attack. I guess it's all in the location. has anyone else had this treatment?

  2. #2

    another question

    The only test result i have received back so far is a high CEA. Does that mean it's spread?

  3. #3
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    My cancer was in the colon and I do know that treatment is different. My understanding with rectal is that radiation is first, then surgery. I have also heard it done where chemo was after surgery, maybe before and after surgery? Not sure.

    A high CEA now could be due to your primary cancer and really doesn't give an idea of the spread of the cancer. Tests like a CT scan or PET scan give the best idea of lymph node, liver, lung involvement. The colorectal surgeon also will check these areas when they do the surgery.

  4. #4
    thank you sense i found out on monday i have been goggling a lot sometimes i think i am over reacting. I have been healthy and active all my life and am scared to death of what i am facing.

  5. #5
    Administrator Top User brainman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Blog Entries
    As I understand it, a CEA test only shows that there is a probability that you have colon or rectal cancer and to follow the effects of treatment(s). It is not used diagnostically either for a primary tumor or metastatic tumors. It is also not very specific because it can be high for several types of cancer... not just colorectal ones.
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    My Story Part 1: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2528
    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
    My Story Part 3: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8029

  6. #6
    my name is ed 31 yrs old . went threw chemo radation from last year 08 in dec. to feb 9 of 09. my tumor was really low so radation really hurt me there was a bad burning feel cheymo was not bad though. then had 6 weeks to prepare for surgey.

  7. #7
    New User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Rectal Cancer

    Hi Donna
    I had rectal cancer and the first phase of my treatment was to have radiation and chemo. I had 6 weeks of both. I was able to take oral chemo pills at home, and had to go to the hospital daily for radiation treatments. I only had to be at the hospital for about 20 minutes a day and the actual radiation only took about 5 to 10 min from start to finish. For most of the six weeks I felt normal, but starting about the 5th week I began to have diarrhea. I adjusted my diet and took Imodium to manage the diarrhea. The week following the radiation I had burns (like sunburn in the lower region) so I stayed home and rested in bed. For me the entire process was not too bad.
    Feb 08-Diagnosis Rectal Cancer, liver mets
    Mar-May 08, Xeloda
    June 08, Hysterectomy, Bowel Resection, Temp Ileostomy
    July-Oct 08, Abscess drain tube surgery
    Oct 08-Feb 09, Folfox
    Apr 09, Liver resection
    June-Sept 09 5FU
    Feb 10 Ileo Reversal

  8. #8
    43 years old here and diagnosed last March with colon cancer, but very low-bordering on the rectum area. I had 6 weeks of daily radiation and 24/7 chemo with the pump.
    Then I had surgery to remove the tumor and about 20" of my colon and most of my rectum, and now am going through 8 cycles of Oxi. 6 down 2 to go, then the reversal.

    I think for lower colon cancer, the chemo/radiation is fairly standard. In my case, the radiation didn't shrink the tumor as they had hoped, but it did something because the pain I was having before chemo/radiation stopped, as did the bleeding. But towards the end of the radiation, extreme pain when ever I had a bowel movement, and I have heard that the radiation really messes up your insides...but less than cancer does!

  9. #9
    Thank you all,
    I know I have a long road ahead of me. I have just started to take laxatives due to the tumor is very painful and blocking normal bowel movements.

    On a good note my family kidnapped me and took me to Flagstaff to play in the snow. Not the smartest think since I have my PET tomorrow and wasn't supposed to over exert myself. Well thats me in a nut shell some body tells me no and well....... yes I do.
    I have many questions and I'm sure I will be spending a lot of time here.
    Again, Thank you!

  10. #10
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I am 35 with rectal cancer. It was detected through a colonoscopy and I immediately started treatment. I started with 8 chemo treatments every 2 weeks. Then I was given 3 weeks to recover for surgery. They removed all of my colon and rectum and categorized the cancer as stage 3c. 2 weeks after surgery they started radiation and 5FU chemo for 7 weeks. Then I had 8 more chemo treatments.

    Originally my CEA was very high (787) but during treatment and after surgery it continued to fall.

    I wish you luck and pray for a successful recovery.
    1/15/09 - Colonscopy Biopsy (Stage IIIc Colon Cancer)
    1/26/09 - FOLFOX - 5-FU, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, avastin
    5/5/09 - Removal of Stage IIIC Colon Cancer Tumor & Permanent Ostomy. 13 lymph nodes removed 12 positive for cancer.
    8/6/09 - Started 6 weeks radiation w/5-FU pump
    9/21/09 - FOLFOX regimen - 5-FU, leucovorin & oxaliplatin.
    10/12/09 - FOLFIRI regimen - 5-FU, leucovorin & irinotecan.
    05/07/10 - Stage IV cancer in bones and lymph nodes.

    Age Diagnosed 34. Current Age: 35


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