Will he always be at risk for cancer?

6 answers | Last updated: Oct 28, 2016
Moomaus asked...

My husband was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in July of 2003. After right colon resection and over 9 months of stage IV chemotherapy, he was officially pronounced CURED by his oncologist September 2009. His scans taken at his six year check up all showed well. Then about two months later, out of the blue, my husband experienced visual blood in his urine. Not messing around, we went straight to his internist and then off to the urologist where another CT Scan was done and showed no tumors or cancer growth but a constricted right ureter. Two months earlier, this was not present on his CT Scan. We checked in a week later for a ureteroscope and were told that there are two very suspecious growths in the right ureter...one near the bladder, the other much smaller near the kidney. Except for this one time incident, my husband has had no problems with urination or feeling of obstruction or pain in the kidney area. Preliminary biopsy showed "inconclusive" but more testing came back again as a highly suspecious growth. So now, we have surgery scheduled for December 31 for removal or right ureter and KIDNEY. All suspect this is transitional cell cancer but no reason to believe that it is not contained. You can image our shock...I mean all is clear and two months later cancer to the point of having major, major surgery. I'm scared to say the very least. All doctors, including his oncologist DO NOT FEEL that this new outbreak is in any way, shape, or form connected to his Colon Cancer...they all seem to feel he is done with that. My own thoughts are do we now live with waiting for the shoe to drop every few years...is he more prone to secondary cancers because of his colon cancer? I'm told the TCC is very rare where it is seen in him and highly aggressive along with a high rate of recurrence. Can anyone help clarify this all for me. My husband is 57 years old and in general good health. He sailed, and I really do mean sailed through the vigorous treatment that he had for his colon cancer and bounced back with a gusto. But I know that this second diagnosis has taken the wind out of his sails a little and has completely rocked my boat! What are the chances of cure? Are there any good treatments out there should the final staging prove to be beyond T2? Any information, advise, etc. will be greatly appreciated.


Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Unfortunately there can be recurrence of the original cancer but the longer the disease-free time (6 years is a long time)the less likely it will return. Some necessary treatments, however, can increase by small amounts the risk of getting a new cancer. Also there continues to be the risk of other cancers (like anyone else)as having had one cancer does not prevent the person from getting a second different cancer.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

(((((((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))) to you both for what he is going through, hon. I feel for you both about this. My prayers and thoughts go out for you both.


Bradleau answered...

Cancer is always waiting to make a comeback. We just do not have the methods needed to detect it when it is very small....such as cellular level. Once the cancer is a lump or growth,it has had a chance to seed. So a different cancer can occur. I am one year post gastric cancer surgery. I am taking life day by day. Future plans are still being made because that is who I am. But I also know that cancer can come back. If not that, then a stroke, car accident, struck by lightening...you get what I mean. So take a deep breath and start the battle again. If you wish, go sailing, climb a mountain,just live life.


Joep answered...

I have to live with the same dilema! I had a 17 pound tumor taken out of me about 1 year ago and it had wrapped itself around my stomach so they had to remove my stomach in order to get the whole tumor out! I have since had CT scans every 3 months and no sign of re-occurance yet? I even stopped taking the chemo pill I had been on because it made me feel week and ill. The is NEVER any guarantee's to if and when it may re-occur so I just decided to live my life as best as possible and to keep the faith because that is all we have! Those doctors can never know for sure what exists in the world of cancer so today I will pray for your husband and I will keep him in my prayers forever! God Bless


A fellow caregiver answered...

My husband is also 57 and had one kidney removed due to kidney cancer. We went 4 years with a clean bill of health, then BAM, its back and spread to bones. We are starting a fourth treatment now because the first three didn't make a dent. It sounds dire but he's still working, being a husband and father. I just try to take one day at a time, one crisis at a time and spread all the love I can to him and my children. You are stronger than you know!


Moomaus answered...

Thanks so much for your reply to my post about husband's bout with colon cancer 7 years ago and now ureter cancer. I totally agree with your concept...live now, right now because not even the next minute is guaranteed. I also agree that it wasn't your time yet and you still have things to do, as does my husband. I am so thrilled to report that surgery was successful...right ureter and kidney were taken and tiny tumor but severely aggressive was contained with no breakthrough inside the ureter. No chemotherapy is required but rigid follow ups. I will live in this moment and go knowing that in my husbands "unluck to have been stuck by two different cancers seven years apart" he was "lucky" in both...he beat stage III four nodes involved right colon cancer, that had killed his father and that this second bout let itself be known early enough. My prayers and best wishes will be with you.