How can I help my husband survive colon cancer?

He has stage III, possibly IV, colon cancer. He has had a portion of his large intestine, along with the cancer removed. However 6 out of 10 lymph nodes in that portion contained cancer. Also the cat scan showed something in the liver but he is to get an MRI to determine if that is cancer or not. He will be receiving chemo. through a port, 2 days every week for 6 months. Are there any alternative or additional treatments available?

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  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi there! I am not sure where you are located, but I know what you're going through, both as a caregiver and a from a patients prospective. I am going to be 33 next week, I was diagnosed at 28 with stage 2 colon cancer. I have the gene that causes colon cancer-HNPCC(Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Colon Cancer), MLH-1 mutation. My mom passed it to me, she got it from her father, etc., My father also had colon cancer three months after me at age 73. He's had 7 cancers in 13 years-currently has leukemia and I currently have stage 1 cervical cancer.

    The previous poster was right in answering all the questions and listing the different types of chemo-I did Folfox-5FU, with Oxaliplatin, and Leukovorin-I ended up having an allergic reaction to that after I had that nice port put in and they did 6 months of oral Xeloda with me. However, at the time they were doing clinical trials with Avastin and I hear that's AWESOME stuff.

    Don't fret or lose hope! I have know people that were written off and stage 4 and they're here 10 years later! My advice to you and your husband is to be proactive! Listen and ask questions to your doctors, they are there to serve you! If you don't like their responses get another opinion, yes, time is of the essence, but this is life here, people get second opinions on their houses, cars, etc. take the time to do it on your body-I so wish we had did with my mother! Keep a chart-medical record-get copies of everything HIPPA allows you that freedom of your medical record-you'll need this information because chemo is no joy ride and if he gets ill and needs to go to the er you have his "current" chart there with you-it will speed things up and help the ER docs, etc treat him faster if needed.

    I don't know what state you're located in or else I could provide you with more resources and contacts. How old is he? Also a PET scan-google or yahoo it! It is used to "help" diagnose cancer-better than an MRI IMO, they use it as a "re-staging" for cancer patients, my father and I have one done every 3-6 months, basically it's like a CT scan, but it's of your whole body, and they inject a little dye and you drink some barium and it's this SUV (Standard Uptake Value) that is measured-it highlights up on the films like a highlighter, the higher the numbers-the greater the chance there is metabolic abnormalities there, thus cancerous cells.

    Chemo is going to be difficult, at least for me and my mother it was-my dad is very fortunate, he tolerates it well. Some things to keep in mind-use plastic utensils to eat things with-stuff will taste like metal if you don't and don't eat things from metal containers like canned fruit, etc., Once the chemo starts taking effect, like the second dose-he'll get the cold hands sensation-so no cold liquids-room temperature will be just fine, same thing with being around the fridge and freezer items & same goes with the grocery store-when you pick up a cold item it's like electricity is running through your veins. Avoid high acids foods-reflux and upset stomach will just set in-not a good combination. Zofran 4 & 8 mg was the best nausea med & now they have some that are in dissolvable kind for the tongue.

    If his blood counts go down from chemo-which they probably will, he may have to take procrit or neulasta(sp) shots, the latter will cause some bone pain because it affects your bone marrow, it's normal, but don't hesitate to mention it to your doctor-don't hesitate to mention anything to the doctor!

    Also-neuropathy-numbness in hands and feet-I found that vitamins B6 & B12 are amazing when it comes to this-but check with the doc first. If diarrhea sets in bad, A&D ontiment is good to have on hand, as are baby wipes & marshmellows-if he can tolerate them, they slow down the digestive track a little cause you get tired of taking immodium or at least I did.

    I would love to talk to you some more, or heck I'd even chat w you over the net, check out my profile, it's got my IM info in there! Good luck!

    Source(s): LoL My personal experience with cancer~!
  • Mary
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    It sounds as though you are as on top of the situation as it is possible to be, and that is excellent! Naturally, you need to follow all of the directions about medicines at home and food very carefully. Food issues are huge, and if you deviate your husband can not only NOT get the nutrition he needs, but also have some really messy accidents which will embarass him beyond belief! There will probably be a few accidents anyway -- just toss things into the laundry, throw the occasional "can't get clean" stained stuff away without comment, and get him some fresh clothes. My sister went through this, and her husband and I dealt with it with no comment beyond "I'm sorry. We'll do better next time. Now, put this on -- it's comfortable and looks nice on you!"

    I am not aware of any alternative and/or additional things you should be doing, but I would urge you to check any of them you may find very carefully with the oncologist before jumping in! Some herbs and other things have been shown to interfere with standard treatments, and that is very, very serious and must be avoided. Also, you will, of course, NOT give up or stop any treatment recommended by the oncologist. DO ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! The oncologist, the nurses, and the pharmacists all have a wealth of information and experience to offer.

    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU BOTH!

    Source(s): BTDT
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I really hope the spot on the liver is not a new metastatic focus of the colon cancer. But there are many colon cancer treatments available. An older and highly effective toxic i.v. cocktail called FOLFOX is the therapy of choice, sometimes followed or replaced by a similar cocktail called FOLFIRI. Many oncologists are replacing the older 5-FU (the F in FOLFOX) with the newer Xeloda to make another cocktail called XELOX. Some oncologists will suggest adding Avastin to this mix to prevent the primary tumor from growing much larger. There is also Erbitux available that can be added to therapy at any time, but Erbitux only works if the tumor is known as "Ras wild-type" (as opposed to "mutant") so his tumor should be tested for the mutation in the Ras gene. If he tries all of these therapies and the tumors are not getting smaller, he can try clinical trials of newer colon cancer compounds. There are many to choose from at clinicaltrials.gov and your oncologist can help you navigate through the choices.

    I would not trust the so-called "alternative" treatments. Be aware that there are many people out there who will want to take advantage of you.

    Lastly you should be happy with your oncologist and your center. If you are not, you are free to change centers and many people drive long distances to be seen and treated at some of the best comprehensive cancer centers. Remember that you are in charge of your own treatment decisions. I wish you the very best of luck on the MRI scan.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Ask the oncologist and or nurse if they can recommend any web sites that have message boards that deal with colon cancer. You will often find people that have been dealing with late stage colon cancer for years and are very knowable in regards to treatment, trials and issues regarding being the primary care giver.

    Yahoo answers is pretty much worthless when asking detailed questions about a specific late stage cancers.

    Source(s): I find the right message board can be a valueable assest. Inoperable stage IV melanoma.
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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Different types of treatment are available for patients with colon cancer. The primary treatment of colon cancer is to surgically remove part or all of your colon.

    Treatment for colon cancer may include :

    1. Surgery

    2. Radiation therapy

    3. Chemotherapy.

  • 10 years ago

    Give him all the love and support you can. Above all you must be strong for him. My boss had colon cancer and it had spread before it was found. He had all the treatments and they gave him three years. A doctor told him to drink all the green tea he could everyday. It went away! It was over ten years ago and it hasn't come back. I watched him get sicker and I watched him get better. You might try it he has nothing to lose. Bless you both.

  • Dave
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Great question, I will address how to help your husband survive colon cancer because I I know about being a caregiver to a partner that is fighting for their lives battling cancer and it is one of the hardest things to do but you can do it and be there for him.

    If you do not have a humidifier in the bed room get one, it will help them breath at night and it will make a difference. I would have meals already cooked so that on the day of chemotherapy all I would have to do is to re-heat it for her dinner and then she could go to sleep.

    When he goes for chemotherapy have him wear slippers and get comfortable. Be there so that if he needs something you can get it for him.

    I would read all about colon cancer and it's effects and treatments so that you understand the disease he is fighting. I got survivor books about cancer, I went to the American Cancer Society and found out about a lending library they had and we borrowed a lot of books about cancer.

    As far as alternative treatments, what we did was stick pretty closely with traditional treatment for breast cancer (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) We used a Naturopathic doctor that helped my wife with all phases of her cancer and after treatment.

    As soon as we found out about my wife's cancer I found a psychologist that we have been using since her diagnosis. My wife when she was first diagnosed saw her about once a week, now it is every two weeks. It is very hard to talk about your fears and it will give your husband to get his feelings out in the open.

    Treatment is very hard to go through, it makes you weak, tired, and fatigued. You at times might feel stretched to your limits, you could even reach a point where you resent what you are forced to do because of your husbands cancer. Truthfully, I did because I was at the point of exhaustion. I could not sleep, hardly ate, and I was wearing myself down trying to do it all.

    So, get your caregiver team together and if they offer to do things take them up on it. I found out the hard way that you need to take care of yourself, so you can take care of him. I wish you the best, being a caregiver pushed me to my outer limits, and we are now nine months cancer free. I hope you get to this place too. Wishing you the best,

    Dave

  • 10 years ago

    I am not a doctor so I am not aware of any treatments...I am however pretty sure there is nothing you can do, yourself, for cancer.

    However if you help your husband, support him, comfort him.

    Cancer is a very stressful time, for yourself and especially for him. Just care for him.

    I pray for an all clear

    Emily xx

  • 4 years ago

    My brother in law has just gone through all this with diet and juices to meditating to breathing and I have one thing to say....He is very disappointed because none of it worked, so eat what suits you and enjoy the time you have left. No diet will save you, not even the apricot kernel thing either. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but its true and I don't like seeing people being taken advantage of.

  • 10 years ago

    Go to the colonclub.org.

    This forum is filled with colon cancer patients, SURVIVORS and caregivers.

    You need support as well does your spouse.

    Good luck and God Bless

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