boxhill wrote:I wonder how much of the problem is caused by radiation, rather than the surgery? I know my husband has had ongoing urinary tract problems clearly caused by the radiation to the prostate bed a couple of years after surgery, rather than the surgery itself. (Not that I would advocate his forgoing it.)
I don't have rectal cancer, but from reading what others report I wonder whether some people with low tumors would be better off with a colostomy rather than radiation to try to avoid one.
Not a choice I've had to make. It would be very, very tough.
The radiation worked on me as it should have. It shrunk the tumor 90% and didn't affect anything else that I'm aware of but mine was 5 cm from AV. At much lower numbers, the sphincter muscles would likely see some damage. I think that the surgeon doesn't really offer a choice. My surgeon told me that she would make the decision during the surgery. After seeing the radiation results, though, she said that the odds of a colostomy were 5%. I think that she both needs to see that the sphincter muscles are intact enough for a good result and that there are no other issues discovered during the surgery.
As you said, the choices are tough because there are downsides to all of the options.