Cancer results

Hello, we've just had the latest result of a CT scan for my mother's cancer and I would like to ask for clarification of the result. The oncologist spoke to my mother over the phone and we probably didn't ask as many questions as we should have.

Last year my mother was diagnosed with stage 1B endometrial cancer and had a full hysterectomy. That went well, but then an aggressive stage 3 tumour appeared in her vagina. She had radio and chemo over the Christmas period, and a very good result in March when a scan showed that the tumour had virtually gone.

She had another scan early this month and the results yesterday. The oncologist said she was very pleased with my mother's progress, but the tumour has not quite gone away. Apparently it might shrink further and in any case isn't affecting my mother's health or regular life: she has no symptoms and has been gaining weight etc. The oncologist wants to keep a watching brief and arrange another scan in three months and an appointment with a gynaecologist, just to be safe.

This is all very positive, but there is still a slight question mark over the lingering tumour. If it might shrink further without treatment - as the oncologist suggested - then should it still be described as a tumour, or is it just some remaining cells? It's a bit of a curate's egg situation at the moment: obviously things could be so much worse, but it would be nice to have a bit more information.

Thank you.

Best regards,

David

  • Hi David (RobeH),

    Thanks for getting in touch with us, and welcome to our online community.

    Your mum has been through such a lot, and it must have been such a relief to hear that the treatment has been effective on the tumour.

    It’s completely natural to have more questions after speaking with the consultant. This happens at face-to-face consultations as well as over the phone. Essentially, the best person to answer these questions would be your mum’s consultant as she will know exactly how the tumour is behaving or if it is some remaining cells.

    We do know that radiation treatment doesn’t kill the cancer cells right away. It takes days or weeks before the cancer starts to die and then they keep dying for weeks to months after treatment has ended. This might be why your mum’s consultant would want to wait another three months to see if the tumour will go away on it’s own from the radiotherapy.

    It’s understandable that you’re worried about the cancer still being there and having to wait 3 months for a scan. Her consultant would only do this is she wasn’t concerned about the cancer growing or spreading, especially as your mum is well and has no symptoms. However, it is also important for your mum to report any new or changing symptoms to her team or GP.

    I hope this information has been helpful and that you are able to speak with her consultant soon.

     

    Best wishes

    Alison P

    Cancer Information Nurse