Does stage 4 colon cancer mean terminal and so a life sentance? I’m really panicking

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Hello, my dad is fit and healthy and has always taken his health seriously. Didn’t even use the microwave much because he was worried about cancer and radiation. He retired and started going to the gym- lost some weight but we thought it was from working out. He had intense pain about a month ago and we were told it could be appendicitis. When it got super bad he was already on holiday in Spain. They did tests of his abdomen and chest and said there were lesions on his liver and colon. We now know it’s cancer. When the doctor in A&E U.K. told us that, I felt like I’d been hit by a bus. He’s lost a lot of weight and now I’ve found something called cachaxia which is the slow wastage of muscle cause my cancer - I’m now freaking out that we have a matter of weeks with him. Cancer is colon - tumour in colon and spread to liver and slightly to lung. Anyone been down this path before? Please I’d like to hear from you .

  • Hi  

    Bowel cancer that has spread is slightly more favourable than some other primaries as it still has treatment options if the person is strong enough to take the treatment. 
    Although classed as incurable in that an operation might not remove all the cancer they may still be able to stabilise the disease and look at adding other approaches. Going straight to chemo gives you the option not only stabilising the visible disease but possibly the microdisease too . Some people also get considerable shrinkage .

    After so many cycles , this can vary depending on the oncologist, they scan again and see what it has accomplished.

    My mum had a spread to her liver back in 2009 and is actually still here as she was then able to get surgery on her liver . She then has a spread to her lung . Fifteen years later she still has cancer but managed to keep on top of it . Definitely not been easy at times but also many , many good times .

    Not everyone achieved stability but the stats are slowly getting a bit better . Do you know your dads cell type ?

    I will add in a useful booklet later , I need to pop out just now .

    The first year was absolutely the worst , she was 67 . But after that we seemed to develop a resilience to the process and pulled together to tackle things but by bit .

    She is not alone . Others have also managed to get to the point it’s a chronic condition . Some stay on chemo for years . 
    But it takes time to see how he reacts to treatment and it takes time to find your feet .

    We are here for you .


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  • Hi  and a warm welcome to the board. Colorectal cancer is very treatable even with spread to other organs. Has your dad met with his consultant yet and discussed a treatment plan? Once he has a plan in place then things will honestly feel a bit better.

    Stay away from google - it can be out of date and scary. Ive attached a link to a booklet that will give you an idea of what treatment may be suggested?

    Im sure  will be along shortly with her words of wisdom but if you click on her name then her profile page will show her mums treatment to date - and she’s just posted as I type!

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • I found out I had stage 4 in October ‘22. Reading all these comments kept me going throughout it. Mine had spread to my liver. After 3 months of chemo they removed the tumours from colon and liver then 3 more months of chemo. Have 2 nodules in my lungs now which we are waiting for them to get big enough to be removed. My oncologist is great and has reassured me they will be able to remove it. It’s so frightening at first but once you get a treatment plan it’s so reassuring. Don’t hesitate ringing the colorectal nurses. They are great. They will answer all questions if they can and the ones they can’t they will find out for you. Keep posit and definitely stay away from google. It’s all negative and so outdated. 
          Big hugs