• Do I really need follow up chemo based on Stage 11 or barely Stage 111A and no positve biopsies from 25 nodes with scar tissue at origin.

    Asked by logisticpat on Friday, July 6, 2012

    Do I really need follow up chemo based on Stage 11 or barely Stage 111A and no positve biopsies from 25 nodes with scar tissue at origin.

    Need to know the following. I was lucky and after NuvoChemothrapy and surgery for my Colon/Rectal cancer, the 25 biopsies along with the 10 inches of colon removal with only scar tissue left all tested negative. According to the book Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy and my surgeon the follow on chemotherapy would not provide any appreciable help and the chemo to be used could have at least permanent numness in my finger tips and toes. Should I really have the follow on chemo?"

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • PhillieG's Avatar

      It sounds like your Onc recommends oxiaplatin as far as the chemo goes. It doesn't always cause permanent numbness but it certainly can. Are you comfortable with just stopping where you are?

      It's a tough call that only you can make. There's no guarantee that doing the chemo will cure you forever and there's nothing to say that you're not in the clear now. Regardless of what you decide, I would look into dietary changes to lessen the possibility of a recurrence if you haven't already.

      over 4 years ago
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      I was found to have a rectal tumor and no one really thought it was cancer until they did a biopsy and found one tiny area of cancer cells. I went through radiation and chemo for 6 weeks. When I had my ileostomy to remove the part of the colon where the tumor was, everything was negative. I questioned having the FOLFOX chemo as well. I decided to go through with it because I wanted to know I did everything I possibly could to prevent any future issues. No guarantees though, right? My FOLFOX regimen became lovingly called, "And Stay Away" chemo. I had minimal side effects from the chemo. My oncologist was willing to cut the course short if I did develop side effects such as the numbness. I was actually able to make it through the full course. I had my follow up CT scan and everything is clear now.

      I will admit that about a month after finishing chemo, I did develop some numbness in my finger tips and feet. It's not horrible and I can definitely live with it. I was told that it takes about 6 months post chemo for it to go away if it will. It hasn't stopped me from doing anything. I can do anything with my hands (type, text, button shirts, etc) and as long as I don't go barefoot, I don't have any trouble with my feet.

      It's a tough choice to make and you have to do what is right for you. Let us know what you decide.

      over 4 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      If your surgeon thinks that the follow-up chemo would be of little value, you might want to hold off, to save the chemo for if you need it in the future. Chemo is rough, and side effects can be many. I personally, would hold off unless the chemo was strongly recommended. However, you must keep on top of your scans and bloodwork. With or without chemo, your cancer may come back.

      You must be sure about your decision, and it is yours. If/when the cancer comes back, you can't blame yourself for not having the chemo (if that is your choice.) I was told for my cancer that they'd never know if the chemo had any effect. I stopped after 7 rounds.

      over 4 years ago
    • Rabbit's Avatar

      Have you had any genetic testing of the tumor to determine if it exhibits any mutations? These mutations (B-raf &/ K-raf) although in approx. 4 % to 10% of tumors can play havoc with re-ocurances of the cancer and they are resistant to FolFox and FolFiri Chemo protocols including complimenting Xloda and Avastin.

      Ask your oncologist to have the analysis performed. If both mutations are negative you have dodged a large boulder.

      over 4 years ago
    • Jayne's Avatar

      That's a tough one for sure. I faced a similar situation, but my husband was quite ill at the time with metastatic colon cancer too (i know, crazy) and I had to make a decision whether or not to have follow on chemo after surgery. I had already had 6 months of 5FU and chemo. I declined. Cancer returned with mets to my lungs. In retrospect, I do wonder if I had gone through with the follow on chemo, would this have happened? Hind sight is 20-20 but it really does come down to taking in all of the factors, both personal and medical, making the best decision with your doc and trying not to look back. For all I know, if I HAD done the chemo, I might still be in the same situation. I did follow on chemo eventually (Oxaliplatin, Avastin and Xeloda) and the numbness in my hands and toes subsided in a few months, as did Carol's above. Still the mets keep returning. It's just a big unknown. I wish the science were more precise but it isn't. I think Rabbit has a great suggestion.

      over 4 years ago

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