Small trial suggests the scans might help, but experts aren't so sure
by Judylauren on Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:00 AM
A few months ago I posted two messages regarding my friend Paul who has Stage 4 rectal cancer with mets to the liver, lung, lymph nodes and sacrum.
His recent CAT showed mixed results with a 20 % (or so) decrease of tumor size in the rectum and of those in the liver. The bone site, however, has become very problematic. The CAT report describes a "moth-eaten" appearance of the sacrum. Also, the primary tumor now seems to have invaded the sciatic nerve.Paul is having an increasingly hard time walking; these two conditions have probably caused this.
You may recall that Paul's doctor was more-or-less dismissive of radiation -- and the doctor we consulted at Sloan-Kettering was only slightly more encouraging on this score -- but given the current bone situation, the doctor now wants him to set up an appointment with a radiation-onc.
Will radiation help with his lower back pain? What are the risks? Can it cause damage to the sciatic nerve; if so, is there more/less/ equal risk of the cancer itself damaging the nerve?
To put it bluntly, Paul is terrified of being crippled by the disease.I think right now he is more afraid of this than of dying.
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