weisssoccermom wrote:The first surgeon measured my tumor at 3 cm in however, he was way off. My tumor was actually located between 7 - 8 cm up and initially it had grown downwards which is why the first surgeon thought it was at 3 cm. Transanal is possible with tumors higher up (but there is a limit) particularly when the surgeon has access to the equipment for TEM (not to be confused with TME). TEM stands for transanal endoscopic microsurgery.
I have a question for your and your signature. It says T4N0M0 and you call that a stage 3a...however, stage 3 has some positive nodes. I recognize that the staging has changed somewhat but I just looked at the ACS and it still has all stage 3's having some form of lymph node involvement. Did the surgeon tell you this was your staging?
HI weisssoccermom. Sorry for delay. Your question about lymph nodes is a good one. It's unclear to me and something I should probably ask more questions about.
My rectal tumor grew (is growing? Monday's sigmoidoscopy shows it's gone!) on the wall closest to my uterus. On the original scans (last May), they had trouble seeing any fat plane between the two organs so, (I believe) to be careful, they staged me Stage 3. (I believe) they were unsure at the time about lymph involvement or didn't think there was any.
How do they usually determine lymph involvement???
After 4 months of chemo (I did TNT), the post-chemo MRI showed a "significant' decrease (again, this was BEFORE chemo/radiation) in the size of my tumor. Apparently, some lymph nodes were smaller too. The surgeon said that this *may* suggest they were involved or they could have been enlarged for another reason to begin with (I honestly don't remember her reason here, but it sounded good to me at the time). They honestly haven't discussed nodes much so I haven't worried about that part.
Please let me know if it sounds like I'm missing something or getting something wrong or should ask more questions. I find this learning curve to be STEEP. I used to think I was fairly smart, but so many people on this board can digest an enormous amount of technical info and make real sense of it at a very anxious time in their lives. I am not succeeding at doing that. I come on here and get overwhelmed - get enough info to be dangerous (and more anxious) - and come back again later for more. I would love to know how long it takes most to get up to speed on all of this and how they do it. It's really like a bunch of medical school classes!