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Husbands diagnosis....confusion

13 Jun 2018 16:28


My husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer in February and had an anterior resection of the rectum and has a temporary ileostomy in place. He also has inconclusive liver mets, which will need to be operated on. He's to have 4 cycles of chemo before the liver surgery. He's had a few MRI, PET scans and ultrasounds. 

The oncologist is concerned that as the cancer has been detected in the nerve and venous supply that we would have to start chemo now. 

We had a meeting with the oncologist today and the report stated the following:

He is staged as T3N0 (solitary liver mets on staging - not assess pathologically)


Venous Invasion: Extramural positive 

                          Intramural positive 


Lymphatic Invasion: Extramural positive

                              Intramural: not seen


Perineural Invasion: Extramural positive

                             Intramural: not seen


I am confused.  I thought if there was no lymph node involvement that was a good sign but seemingly that isnt the case.  He was diagnosed at 39 (just turned 40) and we have 4 children.


Husbands diagnosis....confusion

15 Jun 2018 10:24 in response to tasha5884

Hi tasha5884, thanks for posting.

I am sorry to hear about your husbands situation, this must be a difficult time for you all.

The news of a cancer diagnosis can trigger so many emotions, and the staging and treatment plans can be confusing.

It is true to say a common way for many cancers to spread to another part of the body is through the lymphatic system which includes the nodes, but another route is through the blood stream. Sometimes cancer cells can break away from the original tumour and travel to another place, but to begin with they are often so tiny that unfortunately they cannot be seen until they grow bigger.  

It's positive news to hear they are planning on operating on the liver metastases after the chemotherapy, which hopefully will get rid of any of these cancer cells hiding away.

You can also have a look at our web pages for more information here. 

I hope this is helpful, please do get back to us or give one of us nurses a call 0808 800 4040 if you want to chat further, we are here Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.

Take care,