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Colon Cancer

Metastisized Colon Cancer

03/13/2006

Question:

My Mother (61-years old) was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer 2/05. She had radical surgery and did a round of chemo. The cancer is now in her liver (2 small spots that developed during chemo) and she is not a surgical candidate because recent pet scan results showed lympatic mases in her pelvic area. She has started agressive chemo, but is having a difficult time handling it. She is scheduled to have a cat scan mid April to determine if the chemo is working (shrinking mases), or if the cancer is resistant. 2 doctors have indicated that they have seen patients live for 2-years after this stage of diagnosis. Is that 2 years from the orginal diagnosis? If she decides not to continue chemo, how long before her health declines? She is beginning the process of getting her afairs in order. Because she lives in Maryland and I reside in California, I need to know how long I have with her.

Answer:

50% of all patients with metastatic colorectal cancer can live for 2 years and more with the treatment options available to them today. This starts counting from the first day of them getting treatment. Without treatment, patients will die from their cancer anywhere between 6-12 months. Chemotherapy not only improves the chance of survival, but also helps control the symptoms related to cancer. If your mother is not tolerating her chemotherapy well, her doctors might decide to reduce the dose or change the treatment she is currently getting.

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Response by:

Tanios   Bekaii-Saab, MD Tanios Bekaii-Saab, MD
Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology
Associate Professor of Pharmacology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University