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First, thanks to everyone for all your support and loving comments and messages. They really mean a lot!
Well, I’m still processing it all, but here’s what I know as of today.
They confirmed it’s colon cancer, based on the pathology report and the CT scan, although they did mention they were waiting on the slides to do their own pathology report. It’s likely not to change anything though.
They aren’t yet able to completely stage it. The CT scan also showed some very small spots in the liver which were too small to definitively categorize. The probability is that they are benign and unrelated, but they want to do an MRI to make absolutely sure it’s not a sign of metastasis.
Assuming the MRI is clean, I will need a “minimally invasive colectomy”, which basically involves removing around a third of my colon. I’ll spend 4-5 days in the hospital and at least a couple of weeks for recovery. They will biopsy the lymph nodes they remove as part of the surgery, and that will determine whether or not I also need chemotherapy.
The other scenario that would require chemotherapy would be if the MRI showed metastasis to the liver; then I would need chemotherapy before surgery.
So while it’s all very scary sounding and doesn’t sound like it’s going to be much fun, based on what we know right now the prognosis is pretty good. I don’t have an exact timeline for all this yet, but the next step is to get the MRI scheduled which will hopefully be very soon, and we’ll determine the next step based on that. The doctor says colon cancer is very slow growing and so I’ve probably had it for 5 or maybe even 10 years, and just now got to the point where it caused any symptoms (the anemia).
I’m 49, and based current conventional wisdom, I wouldn’t be due for a screening colonoscopy until next year. My doctor says that the guidance is starting to move to 45 now, due to the increasing rates of colon cancer. Something I hope everyone that applies to thinks about – because the earlier it’s caught the better the prognosis. I have no family history of it; I didn’t think it could happen to me either.
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