I haven't been on the forum too long but was diagnosed with rectal cancer about 8 months ago. You can see the details of my diagnosis in my signature. I just want to start off by saying this forum has been my saviour and many posters have been providing advice and pointers to ask all the right questions whenever I check in with my healthcare team. So you are in the right place !
The fact that you have scheduled to see 3 colorectal surgeons means you will have 3 different opinions for comparison and you sound like you know what you are doing !
Urologist believed early prostate enlargement.
2 days later I go to a Gastro dr and I told him my symptoms and he ordered a colonoscopy for a few days later. I almost backed out as i'm 36, 1/1000 or 1/500 chance of perforation etc freaked me out, but I went through with it and had the colonscopy last Wednesday.
Dr calls me on Friday morning to let me know that there was only one polyp found, but it was large (almost 2cm). It was removed, and biopsied and found to have cancer embedded with less than 1mm margins removed.
2cm sounds too large to be considered a polyp... If it was biopsied and found to have cancer embedded then is it considered a malignant tumour is a question that I would raise ?
Today, blood test (no results yet) to check CEA levels (i think that's the acronym). He also tattoo'd where he removed the polyp and referred me to a good colorectal surgeon.
Tomorrow I go in for a CAT scan which we hope is negative.
Do note that CEA levels might not be the most accurate gauge. I was diagnosed at stage 3c but my CEA levels returned all negative and within range. I would also find out which part of the body are they ordering the CT scan for ?
When my colorectal doctor suspected my 2cm tumour during the colonoscopy to be malignant, he sent me straight to a CT scan for my liver and lungs to see if there are any metastasis (spreads) as those organs are usually the first to get hit by colorectal cancer. Also - will they be ordering an MRI / PET scan too ?
A) Obviously, it's way too early to stage it until it's fully removed. Is it at all possible I'm stage 1 only?
I believed it is possible to do an approximate staging but just not specific until fully removed.
B) Due to the distance to the anus -- is it possible I won't need a bag at all? I know if it is closer, it's certainly possible that they'd have to remove more. I know it's a minor inconvenience to live but just a thought.
My tumour is about 7-9cm away from the anus and the doctor told me there shouldn't be a bag for life situation. You may require a temporary bag if you are going down the surgery pathway for healing purpose.
Another thing I would ask about is the possibility of a Wait and Watch approach seeing as your 2cm cancer embedded polyp has been removed ? You can find out more about this on a separate thread. http://coloncancersupport.colonclub.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=53498
Would you also be requiring radiation at all ?
Basically - ask for a treatment plan to assess your options !