First of all, to clear up some confusion....radiation is generally NOT given to patients with colon cancer UNLESS, the surgical pathological report indicates that the margins were not clean and/or too small.
So, the OP indicates that rectal cancer was the diagnosis that he/she received. (BTW, Dr. John Marks is a HIGHLY reputable colorectal cancer surgeon and is, IMO, 'on top' on things...he is a well respected and very well known colorectal surgeon). I suspect that you are being clinically staged as a stage I....which would explain the 'over treating' comment. Generally, those with stage I are not given chemoradiation because the risks associated with chemoradiation outweigh the benefits for a stage I .....with NO negative prognostic factors. That being said, I might consider asking either watch and wait OR to have a transanal excision (IF you are an early stage) followed by chemoradiation.
However, I am not you.....YOU have to be comfortable with whatever decision you make. I'm not looking at your post right now so don't remember if you said how high up/low down the tumor was. If, in fact, the tumor is relatively low down, I would seriously consider looking into other options. Unfortunately, what too many patients don't understand is that your quality of life can and likely is affected by the surgery (and yes, also by the chemoradiation). The surgeons aren't simply going in and taking that small lesion out.....they will take out a good portion, if not all (depending on the location of your lesion) of your rectum and reconnect you to your intestine. That sounds ideal EXCEPT that your intestine is not your rectum and won't function the same way.
Talk with the surgeon who is doing your surgery and get all the facts before you go in. That way, you know what to expect. While you may not have the residual side effects of chemoradiation, it's very likely that you will experience clustering, loose bowels, some accidents, etc. If your surgeon isn't open and forthright about it, ASK specific questions.
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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