New here - Question about staging cancer
Hi, my Dad had some bleeding on and off for 6 months and then some abnormalities were picked up on his latest screening test, he had a colonoscopy straight away and they found several smaller benign polyps which were removed. Unfortunately there was also one that had grown large and although they successfully removed it, it was found afterwards to be cancerous. We were told it was moderately differentiated, which I think means a moderately fast growing / aggressive type of cancer?
At his follow up consultation my parents were told by the surgeon that although there was a good chance that it was caught early enough not to have spread, they would like to take the belt and braces approach and carry out an operation to remove that part of the bowel, this would give him a 98% chance of being cancer free if there was anything left. He would have to have a temporary colostomy bag while the bowel heals and this has put him off having the operation, he is very old school and stubborn!
The surgeon said they couldn't properly stage the cancer until this had been done, he seems to be latching on to the "good chance it hasn't spread and we've removed it all" comment and wants to take the wait and see approach with periodic colonoscopies and scans. My mum said the surgeon said if any cancer cells had been left behind it would not be a case of something showing up in his bowel again, it would have spread to his liver as secondary cancer before then. My dad says he does not remember this being said. Does this sound right?
We have so much to think and talk about as a family, I wish I could have been there for the appointment with my parents that day but I have young children and nobody else to care for them, obviously I couldn't bring them with me to the appointment. I feel like my parents are very confused by all the information given to them and things they told me straight after the appointment they have now forgotten saying, or have changed what they said at the time. My dad seems to have this figure in his head of there "only" being a 1 in 5 chance that any cancer cells have been left in there, which he said the surgeon told him, but he's only just mentioned this now and not straight after the appointment a few weeks ago. My mum doesn't remember this being said at all but she also admits she is confused by it all and tends to focus on all the negative, her version of the appointment was that the surgeon said if there are any cells left behind to spread, then it will go to his liver next and then only palliative care will be offered.
Is the resection operation the only way they can stage the cancer? Are there any alternatives to this operation like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or a way to avoid the colostomy? Sorry if this all sounds totally naive but this is new to us and I'm trying to get my head around how everything proceeds to try and be helpful to my parents. I feel he's still in shock at the moment, but we are very worried he is saying he doesn't want to have the operation and all because of a temporary colostomy. Any advice would be appreciated