Aa
A
A
A
Close
Cancer Community
6.52k Members
Avatar universal

terminal vs curable?

I had surgery in 2005 for rectal cancer and have a colostmy bag.  Now 3 years later everything had  been clear but last week Dr. said disease had come back and probably had 2 years (outside) to live.  How can it go from disease free to terminal in just a couple of months??


This discussion is related to Colon Cancer - Please Help!.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi.  Can you give more details regarding your case? At what stage was your rectal cancer when it was initially diagnosed in 2005?  What treatment besides surgery did you undergo? Were you given chemotherapy before or after the surgery? Radiation treatment?  How did the cancer come back? Where in the body did it recur?

The treatment of rectal cancer, even in its earlier stages, is not foolproof.  Stage 1 (T2) disease, when treated with surgery alone, has a high recurrence rate of between 11-45%.  In stage 2 disease, with the addition of radiation and chemotherapy to surgery, the recurrence rate is reduced to 6% at best, not zero.  So even with optimal treatment of early stage rectal cancer, there is a small but significant chance that the cancer might come back, and this is what I think happened in your case.  

I wouldn't give a definite estimate on how long you have left to live.  Survival statistics talk of what is average for a population with a certain stage of the disease.  But those numbers, when applied to specific individuals, may not be accurate estimates.  If for example, the statistics say that only 15% of Stage 4 patients survive for more than 2 years, you really have no way of telling if a certain individual belongs to the majority (85%) who die within 2 years or the 15% who live longer than that.  I have encountered a considerable number of patients who have been diagnosed with advanced rectal cancer who have lived for more than 10 years.  Maybe you too can buck the odds.  So don't give up hope.  Treatment for this disease has advanced tremendously over the last few years and is already available.
Avatar universal
I am 30 and already going for dr.ordered scope (colonoscopy?) blood in bowls test +  very worried not knowing what if anything I can do! however not real religous but belive that everyday (healthy or not) is the last no time on my or your life can be predicted except by what or who makes life itself.I will think of you no matter how my results come back and I feel that you will survive until you are unable to fight any longer be strong head and body don't give up and live an extra day for those who won't/can't !!! my way of thinking is no test or professional will tell me when to throw in the towel and kick the buckett right or wrong thats how I feel
Avatar universal
I am 30 and already going for dr.ordered scope (colonoscopy?) blood in bowls test +  very worried not knowing what if anything I can do! however not real religous but belive that everyday (healthy or not) is the last no time on my or your life can be predicted except by what or who makes life itself.I will think of you no matter how my results come back and I feel that you will survive until you are unable to fight any longer be strong head and body don't give up and live an extra day for those who won't/can't !!! my way of thinking is no test or professional will tell me when to throw in the towel and kick the buckett right or wrong thats how I feel
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Here are 15 ways to help prevent lung cancer.
New cervical cancer screening guidelines change when and how women should be tested for the disease.
They got it all wrong: Why the PSA test is imperative for saving lives from prostate cancer
Everything you wanted to know about colonoscopy but were afraid to ask
A quick primer on the different ways breast cancer can be treated.
Get the facts about this disease that affects more than 240,000 men each year.