Small bowel cancer


Hi everyone,

My sister has just been diagnosed with small bowel cancer, she has been told it's inoperable at the moment but has just started chemo in the hope of shrinking the tumour to an operable size, well one doctor is doubtful and another doctor is positive about it, just wondered if anyone had undergone chemo for this before surgery, thank you very much appreciate any advice any of you have on this awful disease


  • Hi Janet,

    When my husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer he was told an operation wasn't possible.  After 6 months of chemo the primary bowel tumour had shrunk enough for surgery and the tumour was successfully removed.  His cancer was colorectal so not small bowel but the cancer never recurred in the bowel after this operation.  I'm sure someone else will come along with their experience of the same cancer type but I just wanted to let you know that chemo can make a big difference and make surgery a possibility.

    I hope your sister tolerates her chemo well.

    Kind wishes



  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to hiloa

    Hi Hiloa

    Thank you very much for your reply and encouraging comments, and hope your husband is keeping well, my sister has just started chemo and second round due this week, she was very nauseous and extremely tired after first round. 

    Best wishes


  • FormerMember

    Hi Jan 

    Sorry to hear about your sister. This probably ain't much help as I've done my small bowel cancer the other way with surgery first and now Chemo. The Chemo will shrink the tumour and as soon as that's shrunk it's easy street. A lady I meet at Chemo Club is going that way and her tumour is shrinking very fast. I think Doctors are like any other person some your pints half full some others it's half empty. I only believe the positive ones, hey it's my Cancer so it's my choice. A few notes that maybe your sister may find helpful. First and most important contact Macmillan for anything at all even a chat about the weather because they are brilliant. When the tumour has shrunk remember you have around 5 metres of small bowel plenty room for manoeuvre or cut and shut and plenty space to get the whole lot of the cancer mines all gone in the small bowel but there's a trace in my lynph nodes that's what the chemos for. Chemotherapy isn't the most enjoyable thing I've ever experienced but it is what it is. Everyone is different I've zelox or something like it sounds like a printer the side effects although not pleasant can be managed and used too suite the situation. Tea lots of sympathy TV and a Comfy chair relieves most of them. As I say side effects vary my favourite is the mood swings I can say what I want and blame the Chemo. Most important try to be strong and positive we've got to fight so bring it be honest Jan it's probably harder for you and everyone who cares about your sister than it is for her. All the patient has too do is beat Cancer you lot have got too watch and run around after us Be there when she wants and don't be there when she don't want. Oh and tell her to get selfish only thing that tmatters is her and winning. I'm sure this didn't help you at all but if it did great. Good luck fight hard and don't get too down about it after all it's only Cancer.


  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi Andy

    Thank you so much for your reply and it was very helpful as its great to hear some very encouraging and uplifting comments, you sound like a very positive person which is what you need to hear at times like this, i shall pass this on to her as its got some great info, I hope your well and chemo going ok

    Thanks again


  • Hello! 

    I cant tell you how relieving it is to see this thread for those going through the same thing my mom is going through. She’s got stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the small bowel. She has two catheters put in for the left and right side of the duct. Her first chemo is tomorrow. All of this in the last 45 days has turned our lives upside-down. She’s so young still!  62 Anyway, the doctors say inoperable as it’s in the lymph node. But I’m wondering what this means? Will chemo still be able to put her in remission if they can’t operate? She has lost a lot of weight too and im Worried about how she can maintain the needed white blood cell count needed to continue her chemo sessions.


  • Hello Jlax, 

    Apologies for not responding sooner but I haven't been on the site for a while.

    My husband was diagnosed in February 2018 and had a Whipple procedure. He has had one round of chemo [that's six sessions] in 2019 as the cancer mestastised into his liver. The chemo shrank the tumours to nothing and he's been clear until last month when a CT scan showed a 2.1cm tumour in his liver.

    He has had a PET scan and MRI in the last two weeks and get the results tommorrow [Tuesday 23rd] as to whether it's more chemotherapy or possible liver resection surgery. If so, back to QE Birmingham!  He is still asymptomatic though, and only has to deal with the problems caused by the Whipple  - which are not inconsiderable as anyone who has had one will tell you.

    But after an original prognosis of 12-18 months, he's doing better than we hoped.   I do hope the chemotherapy helps your Mum and that she improves. Duodenal Cancer is rare and agressive, but it doesn't always do what the doctors say it will - so I will send good vibes your way.


  • Hi Janet. 

    I was diagnosed with small bowel cancer back in December. It all started with blood clots in my leg. I was told it was related to Crohn's disease which I have suffered from since 1992. I had a operation in January this year and it was not successful as it was to spread out. A biopsy was taken. The surgeon told me I would have to start Chemotherapy. I have 12 rounds of chemo to do and have done my fifth one. After I do my sixth I will have a scan on my small bowel to see how things are progressing. My main thing is weight loss. Before I started the chemo I was 55 kgs but now 52kg. The Dietician has me on a low residue diet and I am also drinking 2 ensure compact drinks a day to keep weight on. I worry about the future and have trouble sleeping at night. 

  • Hi. I am new on this site. I also have been getting chemotherapy for small bowel cancer. My chemo has been cancelled once due to my white blood cell count being on low side. I also have lost weight but would advise you speak to dietician as she has me on Ensure compact drinks which have 300 calories each. I asked is there anything I can do to keep white blood cell count up but apparently there is nothing, you have to maybe skip the Chemotherapy for one week so that white blood cell count rises again. Hope this helps