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can someone please tell me the tuth - secondary cancer

(14 Posts)
worriedandsad Sat 28-May-11 11:48:58

Have just found out that cancer "spots" have been found on my dad's ribs during an MRI scan for back pain. We now have an agonising wait (as all CT machines shut for bank hodiay) until next week for CT scan to find where the primary is. I have been looking at threads on here from which I have summised that as soon as you get to a secondary then it is not a curable thing and it is just a waiting game (and sometimes this can be very short). I am felling so sick here but I want to understand the big picture. Have looked at descriptions of stages of cancer and it seems that a seconday could be a stage 1 if it is still localised - is that right? Here though where it is on rib but they cannot see it in same mri I expect it is different part of body - i.e. different stage - doesd that logic make sense? Can someone just be frank with me please. Thanks

worriedandsad Sat 28-May-11 12:49:30

now heard they are not "spots" but cancer deposits on ribs - which I understand just as less. Any ideas?

Meglet Sat 28-May-11 12:50:58

Sorry to hear about your Dad sad.

I don't know the answer to your question but have you tried a Macmillan nurse?

NulliusInVerba Sat 28-May-11 13:52:49

I think that although health professionals do say once it has spread you are looking at palliative care, there are cases where it can be treated. They will certainly try and treat depending on where it is.

Maybe try talking to the doctors? It will all depend on personal circumstances so I cant really answer you, sorry.

Good luck OP

Elibean Sat 28-May-11 13:53:44

I'm so sorry sad what a shocking thing to find out, regardless of what it ends up meaning.

As for what it means, I am no expert but would think it would depend hugely on where and what the primary cancer is - some respond far better to chemo than others, regardless of spread, I think. So, eg, a prostate cancer that has spread to bones could be managed/treated for years and years, if its hormone receptive, whereas a lung cancer maybe a lot harder to treat.

I personally know a woman who stayed well and healthy for 10 years with bone secondaries from breast cancer, with (not very arduous) treatment - and my uncle is currently well and active two years into hormone treatment for prostate cancer that had spread to bones.

wishing your Dad luck next week, and all of you the best in hanging in there at the worst possible time - ie, not knowing. xxx

sandripples Sat 28-May-11 18:06:03

Dear Worriedandsad, Yes it depends on where and what the primary is, as Elibean has said, so (having been through breast cancer myslef) I suggest you try to take one step at a time, don't google as it'll terrify you, and deal with what you actually know rather than what you fear. You need an individual diagnosis about your dad, and this disease is so complex and varied that no-one can second guess it for you.

Having said that, secondaries are not good news. But some can be managed for a number of years.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this and wish you strnegth to help your family.

bidibidi Sat 28-May-11 18:26:28

Cancers are very very individual wrt prognoses. I know two middle-aged people who have had at least 7 years of life after secondaries (one with no recurrance so far).

ChippingIn Sat 28-May-11 18:34:27

Big hugs x We have had a lot of cancer in my immediate family & with friends. There's no way of being able to tell you anything useful without the other scans etc sad Sorry x

'Cancer' is enough to send most of us into a tail spin and googling just makes you spin faster. It is horrible having to wait to find out more.

I hope your Dad lives near enough to you for you to spend some time with him this weekend, if not - can you plan a trip to see him.

I wish I could say something that would take the worry away sad

Big hugs

lostinwales Sat 28-May-11 18:43:02

Look at Lance Armstrong, he had secondaries EVERYWHERE and still went on to win the Tour de France, even if he people think he was doping to win, you wouldn't get most people to finish that race let alone win it whatever drugs you threw at them. (Although I don't think it's a given that your dad will come out of this a professional cyclist, unless he's one now of course)

bettypage Mon 30-May-11 22:21:55

Worried, thanks for putting up posts with good questions about your Dad's situation. My Mum's going through a similar thing and we are waiting anxiously for the results. It's horrendous waiting. Please keep the topic going as it's helping others as well as yourself xx

worriedandsad Tue 31-May-11 05:53:42

Bettypage I am sad to hear that you are going through this. I am finding this very difficult but nothing like my dad who is in a very anxious state. Have you tried the Mcmillan chat board? Several posters suggested this and it is a huge chat board for sufferers and relatives etc where you can ask lots of questions. You may like to take a look.

shineoncrazydiam0nd Tue 31-May-11 20:15:07

It is a very difficult question to answer. Like someone has said, this is VERY individual.

My Dad has advanced kidney cancer. He was completely well, and within the space of a few days in February he became ill, got worse and had his kidney removed. He was then diagnosed with tumours in his lungs, both of them. He has a cancer that takes a hold very quickly but unfortunately goes about it very quietly.

Well, it is now almost June and he has fully recovered from the kidney op and his scan on his lungs shows no change to the tumours. He will be rescanned in July and if still no change, then it will switch to 6 monthly scans. As soon as their is a worsening change then he will start on a life prolonging treatment. This, actually, was my worst moment... when I googled the name of this treatment and realised that it was for terminally ill patients to give them extra months.

He feels completely well though. We are under no illusions here and yes, this will more than likely be life limiting. But my advice would be to give yourself time to come to terms with it - it has taken me a lot of time tbh and some people have been funny with me for doing so. And try not to panic. This is easier said than done... but you must work on accepting that you cannot change anything but you CAN stop googling. No two persons experience with this shitty disease will be the same.

I know how you feel though and my heart goes out to you.

bettypage Thu 09-Jun-11 22:20:14

Thank you Worried (sorry for late reply...I've been on hol), I'll try Mcmillan.

How's things now?

Our wait was finally over today...we found out that my Mum has cervical and/or ovarian cancer with some spread of cells to a neck gland.
Treatment starting in a few weeks. No idea what the outcome will be.

Best wishes and hugs x

Putthatbookdown Fri 10-Jun-11 07:13:09

I do not know if this wil help but we found our local services not very good and you need the best care -specialist knowledge We-along with many others- travelled to the Royal Marsden (London/Surrey) where they know a lot.We had just wasted our time locally and Mcmillan are not v good (Read the earlier threads re cancer to support this) Good luck!

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