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cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence

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Unread 06-17-2002, 09:20 AM
cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence

I had my TAH 6 weeks ago (cervical cancer discovered, ovaries left in) and after surgery I was informed that when tests were performed on my uterus, I had many blood vessels containing numerous small blood clots. The surgeon (and team) was concerned that, although pretty confident that they had managed to remove all the cancer, there may be cancer cells within some of these clots.

I was therefore advised to have radiotherapy (6 weeks worth, have been told that ovaries will be zapped so going onto HRT at later date) to eradicate any chances that the cancer still existed.

I am having trouble understanding how (after 6 weeks) they can be so confident that they will be able to get rid of any cells that may be remaining - they are only going to be targetting my tummy, where my uterus was, but surely by now it could have travelled elsewhere in my body, couldn't it?

Has anyone come across this before or can anyone give me an idea why the doctors may be feeling confident that the cancer has not spread elsewhere? I find I'm worrying about this all the time and have no answers that satisfy me. I'm very scared that by now any cells may have metastasized and be travelling around my body.
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Unread 06-17-2002, 12:12 PM
cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence

s Scarlett

I'm glad you decided to post on Cancer Concerns. This probably is a very scary time for you.
No doctor could ever give a 100% guarantee. It sounds as though your doc is pretty confident that the cancer was removed with surgery. But because of those strange clots, radiation is being added to the treatment as a precaution. If cancer cells do remain, they must be very confident that they are in that local area only.
It is so normal to have the fears that you expressed. And the doubts might linger for awhile. Some of the ladies on this site have had radiation. I'm sure they will be along with some helpful advice.
And remember, if you are truly concerned in regards to the treatment, it is never too late to seek a second opinion.
Best wishes and keep in touchl

Unread 06-17-2002, 03:00 PM
cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence

Hello Scarlet,

I would like to second Karenann's statement that no doctor can ever give you a 100% guarantee where cancer is concerned. The reality is that there is always a chance that one cell escapes the treatment, but it seems to me that treatments are getting more and more effective and results continue to get better -- that's great news for us!

I have learned that oncologists use varying combinations of treatments to give us the best possible chance for a cure. Like you, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and went in for a RAH thinking that would be the end of it. Following my surgery, the pathologist was concerned about the size of the lesion and the number of blood vessels contained in it (not in my uterus like you, but right there on the cervix). My oncologist recommended radiation combined with a half strength chemo regimen that would make any possible cancer cells more suseptible to the radiation. So, I have had the full spectrum -- surgery, radiation and chemo. My doctor gave me a 78% cure rate if I had stopped with the surgery, and a 95% if I did the rest -- so of course, I gladly (well, maybe not gladly) agreed to the full treatment.

As far as how they know if it is spreading throughout your body, did you have a pre-surgery CAT scan? They use these to locate evidence of the cells spreading. My understanding is that the cancer spreads via the lymph system, and if it is moving through your body, the lymph nodes indicate this via a cat scan. Somewhere on the internet I actually found a diagram of the lymph system and how the cancer spreads -- you might search on google and see if you can find something that helps ease your mind. My CAT scan showed no evidence of spread. If you didn't already have one, ask your oncologist about getting one if you think it would help you feel better.

Finally (sorry I have been so long winded), even with all my treatments and great test results, I still find myself always wondering if there is still a cell somewhere that got missed -- I can so understand that worry that you are having. Every headache I wonder if it's a brain tumor -- every upset tummy, stomach cancer -- you get the picture. It's not a consuming kind of worry, just always there in the back of my mind. I think that's just a part of dealing with all this. I try to keep my trust in God to see me through no matter what, and this website has been so wonderful for me.

Good luck -- let us know when your treatments start!

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Unread 06-17-2002, 03:39 PM
cancer concern & radiotherapy due to commence


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