Rectal Cancer & Agreed No Action to be Taken

Hi my mum, 86, was diagnosed with rectal cancer in October 2021 with the tumour being very close to the rectum itself. She received 5 days of intensive Radiotherapy at beginning of December 2021.

On seeing the oncologist in January it seemed the tumour had softened & shrunk. However, seeing the consultant a couple of weeks ago he advised that the tumour hadn't really shrunk leaving 2 options. Operation to remove tumour & have a stoma or do nothing. The plan to have a follow-up appt 2 weeks later to get mum's decision.

Us kids discussed it amongst ourselves & were all on the same wave length that we want mum to fight & whatever her decision we'll stand by her & support her. 

We had the appt today & though we had a pretty good idea that mum would say no to the op the consultant basically said it to us without mum having to confirm it. Because of mum's age, the size of the tumour, approx 4x6,  the risk of surgery, infection, lack of healing due to having had Radiotherapy etc he would be extremely reluctant to carry out the operation & believed mum would have a longer life not having the surgery. 

Mum's happy with this, as are us kids, but our main concern is that mum says she always feels uncomfortable around the tumour area. Things like bleeding, extreme diarrhoea on occasions, soreness & feeling like she can't really control her bowels.

Mum used to be really active, always nipping into town, working in the garden, seeing friends, going on holidays both in this country & abroad. But since last summer she's hardly been out. Only really going out when she's had a medical appt.

And being uncomfortable is the stumbling block. I managed to get mum to come to the local shops recently & go for a coffee while there, she's been making an effort to do some gardening & I keep buying bedding plants to encourage her & we did get her to go for a meal after the appt today.

I wondered if anyone also has this 'uncomfortable' feeling & how or what they do to ease this. Mum does have a prolapse, which probably makes things worse & I have been prompting, (nagging), her to get a further pessary fitted to help. The consultant also agreed this could help to ease the discomfort mum has. 

Any thoughts gratefully received

Thanks Px

  • Hi Piglady

    It really sounds like you’re all doing really well. 
    Before my rectal tumour was removed I found it very tricky to manage. I would spend long periods on the toilet feeling that I needed to go. However once I was diagnosed and I knew what was causing it I changed my diet. Small and often, food that didn’t cause a problem for me to process. Not too high in fibre as my bowel couldn’t manage it. I drank complan twice a day to build up my strength and ate as healthy as I could. 
    I didn’t go without my favourite chocolate bar or glass of wine. 
    I hope this helps. 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann