Husband just diagnosed

Bowel (colon & rectum) cancer

A group for anyone affected by colon, rectal or small bowel cancer to get together, ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

Husband just diagnosed

No. of entries: 21 | Posted on 10 May 2013 09:42
  • Hi all I'm angie and I'm 29 my husband is 33. My husband had blood in his stool and had to go to the toilet more frequently for about 6 weeks before he told me of his problems. He has no pain no constipation and no dihorrea. The gp told him to change his diet and did a blood test which showed increases inflammatory markers. They told him that they were sure he had ulcerative colitis. And referred him for a sigmoidoscopy. The signoidoscopy showed a tumour and not ulcerative colitis. We were devastated and shocked. The biopsy went to the lab and we were told 2 days ago its a malignant rectal tumour. He had a colonoscopy yesterday. The rest of the bowel is clear. However the tumour is very large 9cm in length. Waiting now for MRI and CT scans. The twist in this is that I'm a senior scientist In the lab where the biopsies and tissue specimens are processed luckily I was off work when it went in but I had to go back Tuesday and everybody knew before me. I couldn't look anyone in the face. My husband and I are completely devastated. It's surreal. We are so lost. And so terrified of what the scans will show. We have no family where we live. My husband is terrified he won't see our little girl (17months ) grow up. Heart broken
  • Hello Angie, I am so sorry that you've had to join this forum. I joined in February when I also got the same shocking news of a rectal tumour. There are very friendly people here who will give you a lot of support at this very scary time. Let me say that when your staging is done it is likely your husband will be offered combinations of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. The exact location of the tumour found is important to know also. The next few days will be horrible but you must do research to understand this and work up some positivity. I have been having chemo radiation treatment since mid March and currently my bleeding has stopped and my bowel habit is becoming normal. I have to wait for scans to see whether I need surgery or be a lucky few who might be able to delay surgery and keep scanning frequently. There is another guy on here called Lee whose 5-8 cm tumour was dissolved by chemoradiation. So the treatments available will most likely work. I wish your husband the best for the next few months.


  • Hi, I'm sorry you find yourself on this site, but it's the best place to get advice. The people on here, certainly helped me! The way you described your husbands symptoms etc and diagnosis is very similar to mine. My tumour was also discovered through a sigmoidoscopy. Quite large and low down. Like you both, I was devastated, and just couldn't grasp what was happening. I then had a Ct and MRI scan and luckily there was no spread. I had .the operation to remove the tumour, followed by 6 months chemo(oral) that was in sept 2011 and my scans have been clear since! The best advice I can offer, is try not to think too far ahead as to what might happen and take each day as it comes. There are many success stories nowadays, and you'll find many lovely people on here ready to help and advise if you need it. It must be very hard for you not having family near by, but stay positive, you'll both get through this! I found the waiting for scan results was the worst and still do, it's referred to on here as Scanxiety!! But once I had my treatment plan, I felt much more positive. Please let us know how things go. Very Best Wishes Angela

    Angela Pattinson

  • Hi Angie, 


    I am very sorry to hear that you have had to join this forum. However, as others have said, you have found the right place for support, for practical and useful advice, and for just having a rant.


    I can assure you that you are at the most difficult time now, and that things will get much better from now on. The initial stage, of shock and worry is the worse stage as you worry for yourself and your family, you have uncertainty about the treatment ahead. You will find it very difficult to believe, but I can assure you that you and your husband will feel a bit better when you know what your treatment is and you will feel even better when you actually start the treatment, as you are then fighting back and doing something positive to help the battle. 


    I was diagnosed with a bowel tumour last year at the age of 44, with two young boys. I was devastated and in shock. A friend of mine who has gone through breast cancer advised me that I would feel better after treatment started and that the first few weeks are the worst, until you start the treatment. She was right, for me. Since then I have successfully completed chemotherapy and radiotherapy and my tumour has shrunk to just scar tissue. 


    The treatment of bowel cancer is now very advanced and successful and improving all the time.  Do not try to do research on the internet on bowel cancer as the data is inevitably out of date. One of the others on this site, Lee, has found a video on the MacMillan site from a specialist doctor on bowel cancer which is very reassuring about the treatment of bowel cancer. 


    When you find out what your treatment is, come back onto this site as you will receive lots of practical advice and reassurance on the treatment and how to minimise any side effects. Do not be too daunted by chemotherapy or radiotherapy side effects - they are not pleasant but they are manageable and a small price to pay for successful treatment. 


    It will seem impossible at the moment, but try to stay positive and not to worry too much. I am a big fan of complementary treatments, but always in addition to chemotherapy/radiotherapy and surgery - never as a replacement to these established, tried and tested treatments. When I was diagnosed there was an article on the bbc website about a trial in the Netherlands of 4,000 patients and the benefits of aspirin for those suffering from bowel cancer (search on google for bowel cancer + aspirin). As a result, I take an aspirin each day. I also take lots of multi-vitamins, turmeric, wheatgrass, and selenium. Always check with your consultant before taking any of these pills, and if you have chemotherapy you may be advised to avoid vitamin B and Folic acid as they can interfere with chemotherapy. I take the view that these give the patient a small degree of control and fighting back, and that is very important when you feel powerless. They may just have a placebo effect, but it is an important psychological benefit for a patient - or it certainly was for me at least. 


    Very best wishes and try not to be too scared - you are not alone in this fight. 




  • Oh Angie, 

    have to send you a big huge hug.

    Waiting for tests and results is tough. The scans are simple enough. Then the docs can get husband into treatment. Will probably be small comfort but treatment can be worse than disease. But. . . it is curable. 

    My husband was diagnosed Jan this year, A work mate, my mortgage advisors father in law, a family friend and apparently my next door neighbours wife have all beaten the odds. The family friend and neighbours wife I wouldn't have guessed if not told.

    The news is a bolt from the blue of all the bad stuff you wouldn't wish on an enemy but it will find a way of filing into the little recesses of your mind so that you will cope. 

    Hang tight and be Mummy. Daddy is still holding your hand. 

    More hugs

  • Hello Angela, 

    I am so glad you have joined this group as I'm sure you will find it a great support to yourself and your husband. 

    Please know that the way you feel right now WILL improve and the enormity of the initial shock will get better. I really understand how you feel as  we all do - and at this time it is very good to get some support as you are. 

    Please do not search the web with out of date information that scares us ! Macmillan and Beating Bowel Cancer are both superb with all the required and accurate information. 

    It does get so much easier - please believe me. I understand the disbelief and the feeling of devastation - BUT it really does  get easier as you go along and a plan is made and support is given. 

    I worried for 2 weeks and then realised that the worry wasn't helping me at all - so began to carry on as normally as I could - which I have and it has helped. I haven't labelled myself in my head as 'with cancer' but think of it as an illness that I am recovering from - because that is what it is. But initially the thought of having the Cancer was overpowering. I don't feel that anymore. Of course I have up and down days - which is the way it will be. Thankfully more up days with a few down moments ! 

    I was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer just before Christmas 2012 ( great timing !) I have had the radio / chemotherapy which you will hear and learn about - it was all manageable and the thought of it for me was worse than having it. Darshin has mentioned to you that I had 5-8 cm tumour which has now disappeared. My friend Matt - has had the same results and I know he will reply to you with his positive story and lots of helpful information  and be a great support to you both. 

    I currently feel and look well - go to gym and loads of walking etc ... I am 9 weeks post the chemo and radiotherapy which lasted for 6 weeks. The treatments are all manageable and we can explain more later.I currently feel a bit down about having the surgery and the thought of having to sit still and rest for about  weeks after ! So this is the bit I am currently trying to come to terms with at this stage. 

    When I first wrote on here I kept reading the replies to try and absorb what was being said to me as it is all so overwhelming at the very beginning. 

    You must both try to not think the worse outcomes which I know you are at present and as I did and probably everyone else on here. 

    You will find that the NHS service for cancer is the best - in my opinion. You will discover too that the treatments for this are so good now. 

    So with an 8cm rectal tumour with ? some lymph nodes affected - They said it was sizeable ... but they said that the aim was to CURE. They explained that the treatment plan is long but the outcome aim for it  to have gone. Mine cannot be seen now by scan or eye but I  am having surgery in a couple of weeks to remove that area to make sure. 

    I really feel that when you both know a little bit more it will become easier and you both feel more positive that you will be beating this.....  Getting rid of this tumour and at his young age too and carrying on with life as before. A year of doing this will be worth it in the end. 

    Hoping that you both feel a little better very soon :) 

    Very Best Wishes to you both , 


    ..... Lee 

  • Thank you all for your replies. I guess a lot of it is the fear of the unknown. I'm a big planner and this was not in the list for 2013!! We were told to cancel our holiday ( was only to Devon but we love it there) and now they are talking about freezing sperm when we had just started trying for baby number two. The scans just can't come quick enough. I guess I just can't understand why or how it's the shock. Reading your posts has helped. So thank you all
  • hi matt im going to look up about the asprin sound's  good but in which forms do you take the tumeric and wheat grass only there are so many vitamin websites its difficult to know which are genuine. 

    ruth x

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