• Surgery isnt an option for stage 4 diagnosis?

    Asked by Gururobb on Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Surgery isnt an option for stage 4 diagnosis?

    Ive read a few people saying since they where diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer that surgery isnt an option. I havent "officially" been told this and wanted to avoid any false hopes of my recovery. Could someone with more info explain a bit?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • danellsar's Avatar

      My husband's oncologist said that stage 4 means the cancer has metastisized to multiple sites, and thus is systemic. Surgery would not do enough to stop the tumor growth, and would be very hard on the body due to multiple tumor sites.

      My husband did chemo, then radiation, and now chemo again. We've asked about surgery, but each time been told that it's not an option. You have to be stage 3A or below for surgery.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Merianne41's Avatar

      A friend of mine had that and he had radiation. It was succesful and he lived many years after that. Always ask. The fear is worse than a clear answer. Also, be proactive and research!!!

      almost 6 years ago
    • dahulagirl's Avatar

      If you are not satisfied with your treatment plan always opt for a second opinion.

      almost 6 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar

      It really depends on where the cancer is and if it has gone through the wall. My husband and I did alot of research on this before I had my surgery all of my Drs are surprised at how well I did but you must be very strong and bull headed for this surgery. Please let me know where it is located and maybe I can help more. Also I had my surgery done at Univ of Mich. Also surgery does not stop the growth of the tumor thats why I had chemo and radiation before the surgery to shrink the tumor so there is less to remove.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Elizabeth's Avatar

      My grandfather had throat cancer too. Im not sure about the staging but he did not have surgery only radiation and he is doing great. Still Alive, independent, and walking,

      almost 6 years ago
    • simplifylives' Avatar

      Keith was diagnosed with stage 3 Esphagael cancer 9/24/11, since then he has gone from 180 lbs to 122 lbs, has had the 5 wks of radiation therapy and the two weeks of chemo while in the hospital... He has been hospitalized twice and stayed a total of 42 days all together, he is extremely weak and seems to be getting worse, he can't even shave without running out of breath and going back to bed, before getting sick just a few months ago he was very active and actually a body builder. We go next week to get another pet scan and hopefully schedule his surgery, but I'm terrified he is much too weak to undergo surgery:( He has a very hard time eating and forces the ensures down... Please tell me is this his reaction to this type of cancer normal?? He stopped the radiation/Chemo 3 weeks ago, shouldn't he be getting a little better not worse!??? Please help me understand what to expect next... We desperately are searching for hope... It just feels like I'm watching him die and I'm just helpless:(. Thank you

      almost 6 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar

      SUSIE: my husband had his THE esophagectomy at U of M also....March 2010. It is definitely a BIG surgery, much tougher to get through than I expected. I' an intensive care respiratory therapist, & from what I've seen it's tougher than open heart surgery.

      GURUROBB: My husband had Stage IIIB when he was diagnosed. Had chemo/radiation for 6 weeks, then 2 months with no treatment to get some strength back, then surgery.

      almost 6 years ago
    • hairbow's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell in june 2010. primary site was left sal.gland. the cancer had spread into 5 lymph nodes and had traveled to the base of my neck. I had 8 hour surgery 29 days later. Approx 4 weeks later, started 34 radiations treatments. Scan in november..no sign of cancer. So there was never a question of IF i would have surgery..but i do remember them saying that if the cancer had spread into the base of my skull,,there would be a different diagnoses.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Betty1948's Avatar

      My Oncologist told me that Head & Neck Cancer is "staged" in a different way than any other cancer & my Stage 4A is localized.
      The PET Scan found nothing elsewhere in my body.
      My "primary" site is unknown even after several biopsies.
      I have Lymph Node involvement with a 6 cm mass on the L lower neck. All three doctors (on my team) feel surgical removal is NOT needed. They have assured me that the Chemo. will shrink the mass and it will disappear without surgery. I would have preferred to have it out, but the anatomy of the neck is complicated (it has been explained to me) and these new drugs are so good that there is now question as to whether Radiation is actually needed. However, my Oncologist told me it will be several years before we will know if Radiation can be deleted from overall treatment of this type of cancer.

      over 5 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      My understanding of Stage IV cancer is this: they can perform surgery to make you more comfortable and/or promote organ function, but surgery will not CURE your cancer. Like DanellSar said, since you have cancer in your whole system, it can travel microscopically and land /grow where ever. As of now, they can't cure this type of cancer, but treat it in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the cancer growth.

      over 5 years ago
    • JAYCC's Avatar

      EC is a tough cancer. Be careful about being grouped with Head and Neck.
      I know its scary to ask the question but it is better to know. Also you would be surprised in how differently this question will be answered by doctors. Make sure you ask an EC doctor Onco. Not just a GI Doctor or a general Head and Neck. Make sure you are asking doctors that match what you want to do. Meaning being aggressive with your treatment or not.
      If you are not sure , ask you doctor for the top 3 EC treatment centers in the country , and if ask for a second opinion until you are getting some answers. The answers might not be what you want to hear, but if you want to push, you have to push, they won't do it for you.

      My husband had Chemo with a good quality of life, but that alone did not work in his case. On the web you while find people with Stage IV that are surviving with surgery.

      over 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      Get a second opinion. There are new methods of surgery out there. I was told surgery was not an option. But I found a Doctor who did Robotic surgery

      almost 5 years ago

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