• Anyone have the same thing?

    Asked by tpullen621 on Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Anyone have the same thing?

    My father has appendix cancer. They found it when they removed his appendix from appendicitis. His appendix burst. They wanted to do surgery to remove part of his colon that they believe was cancerous as well. When they went in to do the surgery they saw that the cancer spread. When his appendix burst, it blew cancerous cells throughout his body. They told him that surgery was pointless. They said chemo is the only thing that might help, and even that will be a small chance of survival. Anyone go through anything similar?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Cancer cells don't blow throughout the body due to a ruptured appendix. A rupture can lead to infection and inflammation of the intestinal lining (peritoneum) and eventual sepsis, clinically known as peritonitis. Cancer metastasis occurs when cancer cells migrate through the lymph or vascular system from the primary site to other areas of the body. In almost all forms of metastatic cancer, chemotherapy is the first line of treatment because it is systemic and therefore can reach all of the areas in which the cancer has metastasized.

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Tpullen 621,
      I am so sorry to hear of your father's misfortune. I am an oncology nurse and so if I were in your shoes, I would get a second opinion before I did anything else. You need confirmation of that doctors opinion. One other thing I might do is ask if your father is a candidate for a HIPEC. A HIPEC is a surgery that lasts about 8-12 hours where they open up the abdominal cavity and go thru it centimeter by centimeter looking for any tumor implant on any organ, structure,oh abdominal wall. Once they are sure they have removed all lesions visible to the naked eye, they fill the cavity with heated chemo and swish it about for almost an hour to kill off any cells they missed. They remove the chemo by draining it out and then close him up. The word HIPEC stands for Heated Intra PEritoneal Chemotherapy. It is basically a prolonged debulking with a chemo wash, so recovery time is not that intense. Colorectal surgeons usually perform the procedure although some general surgeons can do it as well if they have been trained to do it. A HIPEC can add 5 years to a patient's survivability. Best of luck to you and your father, father, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      Yes, I have appendix cancer, pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). I have had both chemo and HIPEC surgery. Carm has explained what that stands for. First thing I would do is find a specialist in appendiceal cancer. There are a couple of helpful PMP groups on Facebook, and I would also join those. It's a rare cancer, but there are many of us who have it. I had a complete hysterectomy, because they thought I had ovarian cancer, but when they got in there they found it was appendiceal. Since I had to heal from that surgery before HIPEC, they put me on a round of chemo, which actually helped in shrinking the tumor before the surgery. My HIPEC lasted 12 hours, and it's a very major surgery, but I'm 67 years old and did just fine. If you'd like to e-mail me, tell me what area of the country you are in, I'd be glad to provide as much info as I can. Best of luck to you and your father. You are not alone in this.

      over 3 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Yes! My appendix cancer spread due to a ruptured appendix that was full of cancer, seeding cancer throughout my peritoneal cavity, and growing on my ovary, colon, etc. In fact, it was found on my ovary. My lymph nodes were all benign.

      Depending on the tumor type, systemic chemo may be useless, as the bloodstream does not reach the cancer that has been spread this way. My dr described it as a dandelion, blowing its seeds throughout the belly. I had no true "systemic" spread.

      @nancyjac - I have to correct you on this; this is how appendix cancer more commonly spreads, rather than through the bloodstream, and it is usually found on another organ first.

      Your father needs to see an Appendix Cancer expert. I go to Dr. Paty at Memorial Sloan Kettering. There are others, tho not many, scattered around the country. He very carefully removed all visible cancer from my belly, resecting my colon in a few places, removing my omentum. After cleaning out all visible cancer, he would then likely have some form of intraperitoneal chemo (IP chemo), either HIPEC (heated IP chemo, done during surgery) or placement of a belly port for a series of IP chemo treatments done over several months (as I had.)

      Note that despite extensive spread of my cancer, I am approaching my 6th anniversary of my diagnosis, and I am in total remission, living a fully normal life.

      Step 1: find an Appendix Cancer expert. Do not rely on anyone else. Even the best Colorectal specialists don't necessarily know appendix cancer. It is treated differently from colon cancer.

      over 3 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      PS - In some cases, HIPEC or IP chemo can prolong life indefinitely. I have a friend who is coming on 12 years post treatment. I'm at 5 years post-treatment, with no signs of disease. Depending on the expertise of the surgeon and the specifics of the tumor, long term survival is very possible.

      My surgeon has told me that all of his patients who presented with my tumor type, and underwent the treatment I had, are still cancer-free, as much as 18 years later. Patients with other tumor-types may not have as rosy an outcome.

      over 3 years ago
    • tpullen621's Avatar

      Thank you. The surgeon who was going to do the surgery (and obviously didn't) said that he may have 6 months to a year with chemo. I know every case is different but does that even sound right? They said there is no way they can go in and remove any tumors because it is everywhere and in places they cannot reach. HIPEC is his next step. He was planning on going to MSKCC....My 8 year old brother was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma when he was 7 months old...He has been going to MSKCC for the past 7 years and my dad is obviously familiar with the hospital so he wanted to go there but he said they don't do the HIPEC there. He lives in Rochester, NY so he is making an appt at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. I just recently moved to Daytona Beach, FL and they have a Doctor here (Dr. Windham) that specializes in HIPEC...Has anyone heard of him?
      I am very thankful for all of your responses. It makes it easier to see that others have gone through this and survived!!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Dr. Kane at Roswell Park is excellent. Although they don't do HIPEC at MSK, they do a series of IP chemo treatments which has comparable efficacy. Dr. Paty is an excellent surgeon who will do everything possible to remove all visible cancer. He is my dr. Dr. Nash is now doing most of the appendix cancer cases at MSKCC.

      Both Roswell Park and MSKCC are excellent choices - they both have Appendix Cancer expertise.

      A colorectal expert who didn't know appendix cancer gave me a maximum of 5 years survival, assuming I started chemo immediately. Fortunately, I got much better advice from Dr. Paty, and without rushing into things, I'm now past that 5-year expiration date, and doing great.

      Your father may want to consult at both Roswell and MSK. He's not going to go wrong with either one.

      over 3 years ago
    • BKN's Avatar


      My heartfelt thoughts to you, your father and family. Although different in most ways, yes my beloved hubby fought a valiant battle for over six years. First dx was AL Amyloidosis (not cancer but treated as such. Is actually a "bad protein" in the blood) and extremely rare disease often a death sentence.. Given that others diagnosed at the same time as him passed years ago, my hubby was managing and his doctors keeping counts down. That was supposed to be the "big scary". Sadly what was to follow far outweighed Amyloid. It wasn't until a number of dx'd of unrelated cancers (there would be nine catastrophic illnesses in all) that we learned he had Lunch Syndrome which runs in European Jewish heritage.

      In the end, he was fighting two forms of cancer in kidney spread to lymph nodes, bladder, ureter; and undiagnosable cancer in the small intestine due to location and stage IV lung cancer. Though he was receiving two chemo's for the lung cancer, etc. I knew his last wish was to see the ocean one more time. Thankfully the physician, (one of countless) who was heading up all his medical treatments and doctors, was honest enough to advise me that if this last wish was to happen I should do so immediately. We shared ~2 lovely weeks in a beautiful condo - thanks in great part to five (5) realtors from the same company working to get us discounts, free nights, etc. Full windowed walls in living room and master b/r we left both sliding doors opened ever so slightly leaving the sound of waves splashing against the shore and fresh ocean air offering the peace, emotional healing... and all of what we both needed. The last entry in his journal was from that period that continues to bring me to tears.

      Within just two weeks we ended up in the ER - he was diagnosed with two forms of pneumonia. One of the st​andards and the other Refluxive Pneumonia in the wee hours of Sunday morning. By Thursday we learned he would be transferred to Hospice where I stayed at his side 24/7.

      Due to the tremendous pain he was in and other concerns, I sadly had to insist the nurses put him on a pump Tuesday afternoon. My beloved died Tuesday, 24 January 2013 at 5:40 a.m. on his own terms and having lived out his last wish.

      We were always a 24/7 couple doing everything together. He was the love of my life and I still cannot imagine life without him going forward.

      This lessons and message I would impart to anyone dealing with rare supposedly unidentifiable causes of cancers or another other type disease is keep searching, leave nothing unsaid, fulfill whatever last wishes are possible. Though we snuggled constantly, laughed as much as we could, all the above... I still wish I could redo my part of that last week. Did I snuggle with him enough? Did he know how much I truly love and would miss him while at the same time reassuring him he had done all he could, fought valiantly? What else could I have done better and/or more? There is no worse thing to be left with than what I call the "should'a, would'a, could'a-s". No matter how much one does there is always some regret(s) be they realistic or not... still feels valid.

      I wish you both the best and hope the story of my hubby and my battle against this/these monster(s) called cancer offers some helpful thoughts, ideas, encouragement and strength. Your father knows you are there and your love for him. He knows you are doing all you can.

      Gentle hugs and wishes for relief from pain, both physical and emotional,

      BKN's Yellow Rose

      over 3 years ago
    • Daveed's Avatar

      I wish your father the best of luck and dont beleive the first doctor that says something is untreatable. I hope you have found a doctor with the expertise to treat this. My father had surgery for this type of cancer in the appendix 4 years ago and now bloodwork is indicating it may be back. His appendix burst before the cancer was diagnosed, so unfortunately it isnt a surprise that this may have seeded itself elsewhere in the body. I too appreciate everyone's advice because this may help save his life depending on whether or not and how far the cancer has spread.

      almost 3 years ago

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