In November 2003 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer....I had a right colonectomy. The surgeon removed a small tumor from the outside of my liver while he had me opened up. I had 2 positive lymph nodes out of 25. Also, there were two small remaining possible tumors in my left liver lobe. I had chemo and the tumors shrank to being practically invisible. My oncologist was very excited by this, as only 40% of patients responded to regular chemo. Avastin was not yet available for this chemo round. The oncologist told me he wanted to probe the liver and destroy the spots that were still visible, but I opted for a second opinion at Duke, and 6 months later in July 2004, had the larger lobe of my liver removed. The surgeon said there were still small tumor fragments that had not been killed by the chemo. Since I had no peritoneal involvement, and a low Cea level (8), which went down after each surgery, things were looking good. Unfortunately, there was a spot that had appeared on my right lung, which they suspected to be cancerous, and it started growing right after I finished by second round of chemo with Avastin. I had a surgeon at Duke remove it, with little fuss, and that was in March 2006. The surgeon said he saw nothing else in the lungs.
It is now January 2009. My Cea level is <1 and my catpet scan have been cut down to every 6 months, instead of every 3. I have reached 5 years, 3+ of them disease free.
The literature suggests that recurrence in Colon cancer comes early on. The further one gets from the time of Stage IV diagnosis, the much higher the survival. If you make it to 5 years, there is an over 85% chance you will be alive another 5 years. The studies could make no further assumptions regarding survival, as they worked the the data they had, which covered only a certain number of years.
Md Anderson has a surgeon that has shown very longterm survival for patients who qualified for liver surgery. He even said he was astounded . So, there is Hope. Karen T.