Hello and welcome. Sorry about your mother's diagnosis. You did not say what type of testing was done to ascertain that your mother had no mets in her liver, kidney, etc. Why are you so certain that the test that was done (MRI, CT, PET) didn't involve looking at the lungs? Usually, the diagnostic CT (or MRI) is always done of the chest, abdomen and pelvis so likely they did look at her lungs and you may just not be aware of it.
In any case, even if she did have lung mets, the 1.5 weeks of chemo (which, btw, is at a lower dose when combined with radiation) wouldn't have made any lung mets undetectable. The radiation, which is aimed at the pelvic area, would have no effect on any mets outside of the radiation area.
You may want to ask the doctor to see if her CT included viewing the lungs and if not, you could ask why but you have to be careful about alienating your oncologist. That being said, if you feel that the doctor isn't doing the best for your mother, then switch doctors. The easiest thing to do is get a copy of the CT report and see what it says. If it says that the lungs are clear, you have your answer and shouldn't worry anymore.
I have a difficult time believing that the doctor would knowingly clinically stage someone (with rectal cancer, a patient is clinically staged from tests....rather than being staged from a pathology report) with no mets and not look at the lungs. My guess is that when the MRI/CT was done, all body parts from the neck to the pelvis were examined and determined to be free of cancer (except, of course, the rectum). You also have to understand that no test is 100% perfect. It is always possible, even with an MRI or CT that there actually is a met in the lung, liver, kidney, etc. that is too small to show up.
It sounds as though your mother is getting the first appropriate step in the treatment for rectal cancer. Her cancer treatment is a LONG process which will include numerous CT/MRI/PET scans in the future. Rest assured that if her lungs weren't already scanned, they will be soon.
Dx 6/22/2006 IIA rectal cancer
6 wks rad/Xeloda -finished 9/06
1st attempt transanal excision 11/06
11/17/06 XELOX 1 cycle
5 months Xeloda only Dec '06 - April '07
10+ blood clots, 1 DVT 1/07
transanal excision 4/20/07 path-NO CANCER CELLS!
NED now and forever!
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