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When bowel cancer returns


secondary bowel cancer

My name is Carol I live in the North east of England
I have recently been diagnosed with secondary bowel cancer, It has returned as an abdominal mass in the pelvis
I am about to start Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy which is consisting of Five weeks of Radiotherapy in conjunction with the drug Capecitabine at the same time. this is to be followed by surgery at Leeds General Infirmary
Is there anyone else with this type of reoccurence?


Hi Carol

I had an abdominal mass when first diagnosed. It had wrapped itself around reproductive organs, bowel and bladder and massed at the base of my spine. It was surgically removed in Sept 07 at the same time as I had a hysterectomy, bladder repair and a colostomy was formed. it has never come back in the pelvic area although I now have liver and lung mets which, at the last scan were all showing signs of shrinking. I am having my last chemo this week, then will be scanned again. I am so looking forward to having a chemo free summer and intend to enjoy it.

I hope your treatment all goes well. I've had Capecitabine before, but not with radiotherapy. I found it ok, but everyone is different.

Stay positive Carol, and keep strong............Heather


Hi Heather
Thanks for the reply
Staying positive is a definite
Enjoy your summer

carol howe

Hi Carol
My secondary was called an abdominal mass in the pelvis. I have written under 'abdominal wall' if you want to read my story. Just started on Irinotecan with 5fu to try and keep it at bay. There has not been any more talk of more surgery tho.Trying to keep strong, you must do the same.



Hi Carol i am having investigations re query mass in the pelvis and have just finished my 8 cycles of irinotecan and capecitabine, this was because of lung lesions, still not sure what exactly is up in the pelvis told it was febrile cysts but PET scan higlighted something so got to have an MRI sometime soon. Good luck with your chemo!!



I now know that i am dealing with a mass about 3cm which is from the primary tumour and sited i beleive in the vaginal cavity next to the rectal area. I have constant light bleeding now and although i had a colposcopy to check the cervix because of the symptoms it didn't find the mass, so i have had it about a year now i guess.
I am currently waiting for a another surgeon at St Thomas's to look at my results to see if he would be able to operate. I can't imagine at the moment living with it as it is, but as i have lung mets which although small have started to increase i wonder if they will prioritise this as much as if i didn't. I just finished a course of Irinotecan and capecitabine, i am told there are further chemo options and they have to test the tumour re KRAS {which incidentally my doctor was extremely surprised i knew anything about! ....that is thanks to BBC} but that they need to judge when chemo is going to be useful as i am still asymptomatic. I am now going to look at whether i can get medical early retirement which is a much bigger thing to get my head around than the cancer funnily enough, after never being out of work before, but with the current recession and the changes they may be making to local govt pensions it might turn out to be the best time. Maybe i can just work the festivals after just returning home from working at Bestival yesterday!


Hi Hazel, you must be getting fed up for a decision to be made for what is best for you and you have so many other balls to juggle with when considering what will be your best options. Go for the retirement, you need it not only for yourself, but your boys too. When you are over whatever treatment you and the Dr's decide on and you are feeling more like your normal self you can consider options for keeping yourself busy (and therefore sane!). Maybe a small part time job or like me do voluntary work, I do 2 different voluntary jobs, one with the deaf fitting and servicing hearing aids for a charity and I started another one today, volunteering at the hospital where my cancer is treated, I'm working in ante-natal which is lovely, all baby talk, lots of happy people and a great bunch to work with, keeps my mind busy and off any thoughts of cancer related things and is getting me fitter! (The hospital is huge and I must have walked miles today running errands!)

Alison xx


Oh i think i could find loads to do, not least sorting out clutter at home and getting on top of the housework, giving the dogs a good walk everyday, getting the garden sorted...... it is just knowing i can afford to retire now and the scariness of not having a job at only!? 49 well nearly 49 i hadn't contemplated reaching this milestone so early, but i also don't want to lose out on the money i have saved for so many years and also don't want to leave it too late to enjoy. If i can would like to head off to Oz to see family and NZ to my best mate who emigrated there just after i had my op. My main concern at the moment is that they won't operate as i really don't want to have to deal with the side effects of this new growth.


Hazel, have you spoken to MacMillan at your oncology centre about what you would be entitled to, I know it's difficult to 'go there' when you have worked and saved all your life, but you have also paid taxes all your life and are just as entitled to benefits as others. It would be a good idea to find out now, before any treatment/operations as you may not be well or fit enough to go there then. You may be suprised at what you could claim for.
Keep that dream of a trip to Oz and New Zealand at the forefront of your mind, it will help you to get through whatever gets thrown at you in the coming months. Get some brochures and put them around the house, get that fighting and positive spirit of yours going (that I know you have) and hopefully your dream will come true.
I only suggested voluntary work as it is good to do things with other people and talk about normal things, as we all know how the mind wanders into morbid territories when left idle.

My thoughts are with you in wishing for news that your surgeon agrees to operate.

Hugs, Alison x


Hi Hazel,

Just caught up with your latest news.......

My Oncology dept is situated at St Thomas' and I felt I had really good care from them so hopefully your surgical team there will also be excellent.... However if they decide against an op, you can still try elsewhere for another opinion.

I was talking to a lady whose surgeon (at a different hospital) didn't feel an op for a secondary tumour that appeared around the vaginal cavity was possible - she then went to the Marsden who decided it definitely was an option.....so, I suppose what I'm trying to say is even if they say not advisable, you can still search around for other opinions.

I feel so much for you hun, it's a battle that just seems to go on and on and we ALL deserve a bloody break from it all.

I'm behind you in terms of both diagnosis and treatment - my op to remove the original rectal tumour was only in November last year and already there is a question mark about an area around the left lung and 'questionable inflammation' noted on the MRI from near to the original tumour site...
My GP is currently trying to organise bone scans to see what's going on with the intense pain that has recently developed on the right hand side under my rib area now and has now spread to the central back/spine areas....as I said, it's an ongoing battle and we ALL need, and deserve, a break.

You are in my thoughts hun
Hugs xxxx


Hi Dizzie

So sorry to hear that you are experiencing further problems Dizzie, it seems to get to a point where it's one thing then another. My consultant referred me to the colorectal surgeon at St Thomas's as she feels he has more experience in dealing with tumours in that area. As i beleive she isn't bad herself although she never operated on me i hope that the news will be good, but if not will cross that bridge when i come to it. So much of dealing with this disease seems to be a waiting game and a mystery puzzle trying to marry up the clues.
You're right a break would be well deserved please take care and keep us informed of how you get on thinking of you and sending big hugs!

Alison thanks so much for your replies to my various posts here and there and advice, the voluntry work i think is a great thing to get involved with and i did very tentatively look at a job with bbc a few months ago but really couldn't afford to take it, so maybe that is a direction i could go in. However there is soooooo much i could do at home that i probably wouldn't have the time to take on any other work anyway : O ) as my boss was saying today just be good to be with the boys, he is arranging for me to meet with my HR head before she leaves soon to get an appointment with Occupational Health. My company is being taken over by another and they are looking at harmonising terms and conditions and i could lose a hefty sum of protective allowance as i was originally working for local government before they privatised us. Last summer i went through redundancy and had to reapply for a new job in this organisation, the one i have now managing three homes instead of one. This is just the right time to look at this in the next six months it will all change again.


just an update....... saw the OH i am far too healthy and coping to consider early retirement, we are going to revisit this after the op.
Also had a call on Friday from the registrar at Lewisham saying that they want to delay my radio as Lewisham have just found out that i am having treatment at Guys, my oncologist feels that i could do with a different dose to minimise the side effects so now i have to wait a week while they re juggle it. I was due to have it Monday.