Stage 4 bowel cancer- liver surgery

Hi everyone, hope you're all keeping well. 

My husband has stage 4 bowel cancer that has spread to his liver. He had emergency surgery to remove the bowel cancer about 8 weeks ago which came back with clear margins, but it had spread to his liver at the time of diagnosis. He has 6 tumours in the right side, and his recent mri came back showing 2 small tumours in the left side of the liver. The plan was always to remove the affected part of the liver and work towards curing him, the oncologist says this is still the plan but the surgery may just have to be more creative.

Has anyone been through liver surgery with tumours on both sides?


  • Hi 

    Don’t you just love it when a liver specialist talks about getting creative with a liver resection. That’s exactly what my mum’s liver surgeon said . I have to say I thought about it a lot after the consultation. Not a word I thought I would hear from a surgeon yet they do say medicine is an art and a science !!

    My mum had tumours from segments four through to eight with one abutting a blood supply ! Ten years ago they were able to remove 75% and I thought poor soul when he said it . My mum had 73% removed .  To be honest he did not say if that was purely one side or part of the other as they were getting creative around a section !! Some people report having a resection to one side and use radio frequency ablation on the other if they  are small . My mum had two resections and her surgeon said he would be happy to go for a third if required . Thankfully that was all that was required. It was not planned to have two procedures but the first surgery of four wedge resections just was not sufficient. She required a more extensive operation . In both instances her liver regenerated and functioned well which was excellent and allowed for a second resection . 

    This occurred over two years and whilst at the time it felt full of set backs long term it worked out for the best and all micro disease was eliminated.

    There are a few people around who have deal with spread across both lobes . Hopefully they will pop in and share . 

    take care ,


  • Hi Court, 

    Thanks for your reply. It certainly seems as though your mum has been through a lot and I'm so glad that she's doing so well. I wish time would fast forward through all this, to a healthy husband and well deserved holiday!

    He's currently on capox chemotherapy, 4 cycles altogether then the plan is to rescan him and hopefully the liver resection will take place after that. I'm terrified of them turning around and saying surgery isn't possible, as I'm aware his cancer can only be cured if it's all surgically removed.

    We have two little girls under 3 and it's very frightening to think what could happen.


  •  Hi ,

    He has a lot to strive forward for with his lovely girls and family .

    The centres of excellence for liver surgery are quite incredible. And given that is before what chemo can achieve in the interim is also encouraging . You will be able to google them as they are the ones who do liver transplant surgery as well . They are able to do more extensive surgery than the normal teaching hospitals and have dedicate specialists in high dependency. 

    I understand what you mean about the fast forward button . I used to desire an anaesthetist to knock me out to avoid all the prolonged agony . Obviously never happened and step by step we moved through the process .

    How many cycles has he had so far ? What we found helpful was not to wait until the end of treatment to start planning good things . They were smaller events and with shorter time scales but it helped reclaim some of her life and gave her a bit of a foothold to recovery .

    Glad your here and able to open Up to support from people who understand .


  • Hi Court,

    We live very near one of the centres of excellence, so we're very lucky in that sense.

    He's on his first cycle just now, there will be 4 altogether then rescan his liver and hopefully surgery!

    The waiting is the worst. We're really hoping that the chemo works really well for him and shrinks the tumours a lot x

  • Hi Court, 

    Do you know how we would find out which the nearest centre of excellence for liver surgery is to us?


    Liz x

  • Hi  

    There are seven spread out around the uk . Scotland has one  and covers all health authorities.

    If you google liver transplant surgeons you can find out which one is located nearest to your home . If you are located between two your oncology unit would know . You could phone the secretary. The other aspect to consider even if your not located near a particular unit a patient can seek a second opinion from any surgeon in the NHS . You could always put it out on the forum but you might like to keep location private so keep it general . 

    Having one nearer you is great particularly for travelling. We were a hundred mile round trip but well worth it .

    I found the liver surgeons in our area to be extremely helpful and eager to engage with patients . Probably the best surgeons to date .

    Take care ,


  • Hi Lornaliz

    I’m in a similar situation to your husband. I’m currently on Xelox/Capox, cycle 2 starts next week, total of 4 cycles. Then re-scan with a view to liver surgery. I’m very scared and anxious but it’s good to hear Court’s story about her mother. 

    Take care


  • I think my mum did six but they did not view her as a surgical candidate initially. Four seems to come up a lot now . 

    Totally understandable to be nervous but the surgeon / unit really instilled a great degree of trust . They were honest but compassionate. 

    Her liver actually regenerated quite quickly . After the first resection which included a bowel resection she was able to go sea kayaking for the first time . The bigger resection we were warned that would be unrealistic to aim for and they were right . However after two months she had a wee holiday but took it easy . 

    All the very best for the second cycle for all families . Nearly half way there !

    take care ,


  • Thanks that's really helpful. I have now seen there is one fairly close to us which is good news.

  • Hi Jules, 

    It's nice to know we're not alone but I wish you weren't in the same situation as my husband! I'm hoping that you both respond well to the chemo and are able to have successful surgeries.

    How are you finding the chemo? My husband seems to be doing well at the moment, but was quite down during the first few days after the infusion.