Together we will beat cancer


Mum's diagnosis

6 Mar 2018 21:30

 my mum was diagnosed with colon Cancer  at the end of November and they operated to remove the tumor very quickly.  However, subsequent scans show that the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in her chest and stomach.  

Mum currently lives in Spain and is receiving amazing care.  She started chemo yesterday.  

What I'm trying to understand is the reality of the situation.  It's difficult given the language barrier (altho the interpretors and medical staff are amazing) plus I'm not sure mum and her partner are taking in everything they are being told.  They've been told it's at stage 4 but (they've told me) no prognosis has been given.

I've been reading up as much as I can but I'm finding conflicting opinions.  I tend to try to work with facts and so I'm trying to understand what stage 4 really means.  Is it terminal? (I just need to be prepared, regardless. I don't want to sound cold but I need to feel like I understand what's going on).  Or is it a case of there really is no prognosis and I just have to deal with it as and when?


Re: Mum's diagnosis

8 Mar 2018 11:05 in response to BHB

Hello BHB and thank you for posting a question. I am very sorry to learn that your mum has colon cancer. This must be very difficult particularly as she is so far away.

While I can understand your need for information, it is a bit of a struggle to tell you very much, as I am not directly involved in your mum’s care and do not know the full details of her situation. I will try to help, but the most reliable information is likely to come from her medical team.  However, I do realise that finding out more will be very difficult.

A stage 4 bowel cancer means that the cancer has spread from where the cancer first started, usually to another organ of the body. But when bowel cancer has spread to the lymph glands that are quite distant, this is also a stage 4. Probably a stage 4a. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be cured, but treatment can control the cancer, sometimes for a number of years. Some people can live for  5 years or even longer, but sadly many people won’t live so long. So, at the moment I think that even your mum’s doctors will struggle to tell you much about what will happen to her, because as starting point they will want to see how she responds to the chemotherapy.

I expect you have already seen our page of information about advanced bowel cancer, if not you can view it here.You will notice links to further information on the right of the page and you will also find at the bottom of the page information about survival for the different stages of bowel cancer. But please bear in mind, if you do read it, that this is only very general information and cannot say what will happen to your mum.

I am sorry that I cannot be more specific, but I hope this helps. Do get back to us if you have any other questions. If you would like to telephone our freephone number is 0808 800 4040. We are here Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm.

All the best,





Re: Mum's diagnosis

13 Mar 2018 18:18 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean

Thank you for your response Jean, I knew I wouldn’t get a definitive answer but just needed someone to say “this is how it is” so your response was perfect

thank you so much and what a coincidence that we’re talking about my mum and you share the same name.

you guys are amazing!! Xx