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Cancer

Small intestine cancer

07/09/2007

Question:

My mother has small intestine cancer the cell type is adenocarcinoma jejnm. The tumor in her small intestine was removed, but the cancer has matastized to three spots on her liver. She is said to be at stage 3. She is 70, but extremely active and physically fit and otherwise has been very heathly up to this point. This has been her only major illness. She is undergoing chemotherapy now.

What are her chances of survival? Another doctor (not her oncologist) told us that chemotherapy is of little use. Her oncologist said she will have the chemo for 6 months and then possibly undergo surgery to remove the three spots on the liver.

Answer:

Adenocarcinoma of the jejunem or small bowel is considered stage 4 when it has spread (metastasized) to the liver. It is treated the same as colon cancer. The best plan of action in this situation is exactly what she is doing now: chemotherapy first and then possible surgical removal of the tumors from the liver. If the cancer has not spread any where else and she can have the tumors removed, then she has an approximately 30% chance of living as long as 5 years. The people that are physically fit and active have the best chance of living more than 1 to 2 years.

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Response by:

Joanna M Brell, MD Joanna M Brell, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University