How do lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental substances affect our cancer risk?
by BlkDenali on Fri Sep 28, 2012 01:21 PM
Hi everyone. My dad had a cancerous mass removed from his colon almost 3 years ago. It had not spread and there was no need for any treatment other than the surgery. I think it was stage 2. For the next couple of years, all blood tests and cat scans were clear. This year, his cat scan showed "shadows" on his liver and a follow-up pet scan showed "suspicious spots on liver". He is supposed to see an oncologist. He has absolutely no symptoms and is in fact in very good health overall. He is 70 years old but in better shape and more active than most men half his age. I am SO SCARED he has cancer. Has anyone else been through anything like this? Could the spots just mean nothing? I am sick with worry!
by rmwhope on Fri Sep 28, 2012 03:09 PM
The best thing is not to worry right now. Just see that Oncologist asap to find out what is going on. You need to find out what those spots are.
They are the specialists in fields of cancer and they will let you know what is going on with your Dad.
by BlkDenali on Fri Sep 28, 2012 04:12 PM
Hi and thank you for your response. He has an appointment this Monday (October 1) and I am going with him and my mom so I can hear everything. It's scary because I heard that biopsies are the only way to know for sure if something is cancerous or not but that their invasiveness can cause cancer to spread/grow. My dad is a very stubborn man who has seen friends/relatives go through difficulties with cancer treatment only to end up, sadly, passing away anyway. So I am afraid if he has anything, he won't want to go through treatment.
by jcare on Sun Sep 30, 2012 04:52 AM
Hi Blk..I know terrible feeling of the waiting and not knowing but try not to get ahead of yourself until you talk with the Doctor. Other than the PET scan coming back with "spots" does your Dad have a high CEA level? Most docs use more than one test to get a handle on what's going on. If it does turn out that treatment is needed then you can help your Dad weigh his options by being as informed as you can. This fourm is a really good place. Please keep us uptodate on what the Doc says. Best wishes to you.
by BlkDenali on Sun Sep 30, 2012 05:22 PM
Thank you for your kind words Jcare! It means so much to me. Is a test for CEA level the same as the "tumor marker" blood test? He had a blood test the same time as his CT scan this year but no one has said anything about the blood this year one way or another. For the last two years his blood test and CT scans were clear. He is almost at his three year clear mark (this November) if he is still hopefully clear. I know his PCP regularly tests his liver among other things every three months and as of June his liver and everything else was functionally normally. I have read about an awful lot of people getting false positives with a PT scan. Some oncologists don't even like to use them because of the fear/stress they cause by picking up things that turn out to be nothing. I myself had a cyst on liver show up a few months ago on a CT scan for possible appendicitis, from what I've read the liver is dense and cystic and can have growths, etc, that are harmless and non-cancersous. I wonder if any "healthy" person would have areas on a PT scan light up. My dad is in extremely good health. I don't want him to not receive treatment if there is indeed something but I don't want want the doctors treating him for something unnecessarily and then he really does end up sick. I swear, I feel like just the stress of knowing "there might be something" causes more damage to the patient (and family's) health.
by jcare on Sun Sep 30, 2012 09:22 PM
by Samuelly on Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:35 PM
When I was diagnosed with my cancer, they also saw some spots on my liver and Thyroid. Because I already had a cancer diagnosis, they automatically assume it to be cancer. They haven't seen any change in the spots, which are very small, and during my laproscopic surgery, my surgeon tried to take a peek at the spots on my liver but because they were so small he couldn't see them. Anyways, they still haven't changed so they have decided that they are just cysts. I think this may be more of a wait and watch situation to see if the spots get any bigger than they are now. I'd say try not to worry too much yet until there is more information. Please remember that they are just being cautious, which is a good thing.
by BlkDenali on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:09 AM
Thank you so much jcare. I can't tell you how much it means to talk to people who can actually help me make sense out of this scary, uncertain situation. The information you have given has been so enlightening. These forums are great; no one understands as well as someone who been through it. I will let you know how my dad's appointment goes. Thank you so much for your good thoughts; I will do the same for your husband. I hope he is doing well.
by BlkDenali on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:13 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am really hoping it's the same for my dad; cysts or something else not serious. The waiting and speculating is so hard! I hope you are doing well yourself, I am sending good thoughts to you!
by BlkDenali on Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:52 PM
Here is the update on my dad. He saw the oncologist today; a wonderful man, very kind, patient, thorough, explained everything and answered all our questions. He showed us the 3 spots on the liver the PT scan picked up. He said they don't look like cysts but it's possible they are not cancerous either. My dad's going for a biopsy this Friday (which the Dr. assured me was safe for him) and he took blood, one is for a special test which shows if colon cancer is present anywhere in his body. The PT scan was clear everywhere else, lungs, lymph nodes, etc. (YAY!) My dad's excellent health and feeling good are good signs as well. There was no swelling, etc. when he examined him. If the spots are cancerous, they are quite treatable with a chemo which doesn't sound nearly as scary as some we've heard about, it actually sounds pretty simple, and he said he wouldn't even lose his hair. If the spot(s) are still there, then he said they could be zapped with radiation. He'd want to do chemo first because in case there are spots they do not see, the chemo would kill those too whereas doing radiation first might allow smaller, unseen spots to pop up later.
So it looks not so bad for now, thank goodness. I will keep you updated, and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your good thoughts. I hope you are all doing well, and I will send my positive thoughts in your direction as well.
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