Look, if you are really uncomfortable with this surgeon, then by all means...STOP the surgery consult, don't schedule surgery and seek a second opinion. Unless your husband has a blockage or something equally emergent, waiting another week or two or even three is not going to impact the cancer. Now, that being said, it does make it difficult for the patient and his/her family to postpone. In the long run, your husband's quality of life after the surgery (and trust me, that CAN and WILL impact him) can make the world of difference for most people. Please don't think that cutting out a 12 inch section of someone's intestine has no impact on a person. It is NOT the same as taking out someone's appendix, for example. Now, I'm NOT saying that the surgery your husband will have is going to affect his quality of life just that is CAN and MAY change things for the patient...bowel habits, ability to eat/digest certain foods, etc.
Remember ALL surgeons are board certified in GENERAL SURGERY...but some have more training in their specialty. Ask your husband this question.....would he like a general surgeon to operate on YOU if you had breast cancer OR would he want a surgeon who not only specialized in breast cancer surgery but who had completed a fellowship in breast cancer surgery. Then ask yourself this question....who would YOU want to go to?
Any surgery that involves removing a large portion of your intestine comes with risks and those risks aren't always just mortality and/or infection risks. While a patient can live without a portion of his/her intestine/rectum, his/her quality of life often is changed, altered and in some cases, drastically changed. Your husband should be aware of this and should go into the surgery knowing all the possible outcomes (change in bowel habits, passing of gas, more diarrhea, weight loss, etc.). Certainly you're willing to accept that things will change BUT (IMO), if you can utilize the BEST surgeon who has a good record of success and extra knowledge of this surgery....why wouldn't you.
I still have a problem with the surgeon telling your husband/you that it appears to be stage I (there is NO....let me repeat...NO way of knowing that without both the pathology and some imaging study) and that your husband likely will NOT need any chemo or radiation. That's irresponsible to me that a surgeon would even consider saying that to a patient. Even IF the imaging studies and pathology report indicate that the cancer IS a stage I....that doesn't necessarily mean that chemo, for example, is not necessary. IF your husband's pathology report showed one or more negative prognostic factors (and depending on what those might be), an oncologist might seriously recommend chemo.
If this were MY husband and knowing what I know from my own and other's experiences, I would GET A SECOND OPINION and I would get an appointment with an oncologist NOW....before the surgery. That way, you can be certain that with the oncologist on your team, the pathology would be (or at least should be ) sent to the oncologist.
Don't mess around with this. Your husband has one chance to make this work and work to be the best for him. Call another surgeon and get a second opinion!
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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