Topic: Surgery or Chemo

It seems to me that the general goal of CC patients is to try to have the surgery if at all possible, because if I understand it correctly, a successful surgery gives one the best chances of beating this disease. If a surgeon you respect says "I want to go in and get this" and an oncologist you respect says "you need chemo first," what would be your considerations in making such a potentially life and death decision? I imagine many of you have faced this precise decision; I am wondering what factors you considered. Thanks for your valuable input.

Re: Surgery or Chemo

Jackson:
As of right now the only "cure" I know of is to cut it out: so that means surgery. If I am mistaken, I'm sure others will chime in.
Chemo often keeps this cancer in check, but I know of no one who's cc died completely from chemo or radiation.
I'm pretty lucky: resection is not an option BUT chemo worked fairly well and radiation has worked wonderfully for the past 6 months. I still have cancer, but as of Jan. 10th it is "quiet".
When I thought I had a resection option, I was so happy. The life and death potential never even crossed my mind. I just thought I had a better shot at life.

KrisJ
"Don't just have minutes in the day; have moments in time."
Any opinions I give are based on personal experiences, and are not based on medical knowledge. I strongly suggest receiving medical care and opinions.

3 (edited by jathy1125 Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:03:32)

Re: Surgery or Chemo

Jackson, I was listed under the care of my transplant surgeon, who coordinated with my oncologists when chemo and radiation was in my treatment plan. I  think your doctors should be working together.
Lots of prayers-Cathy

Re: Surgery or Chemo

Hi Jackson,

In my daughter, Lauren's case, surgery was not an option at first and we never thought it would be. 16 months later, surgery is an option. Her surgeon and oncologist are on a tumor board together with other doctors that discuss patient treatment after scans or procedures. Lauren's cancer has reacted well to her chemo and they feel this is the perfect window of time to operate. I'm sure if the surgeon had said he wanted to do surgery at first, the only way it would have been done is if he was very optimistic and the oncologist agreed. These doctors work as a team and have to be on the same page. I think if I had two doctors telling me two different things, I would have to get a 2nd opinion or I would be too upset and not be able to deal with the decision. Hope this makes sense.

Hugs,
-Pam

My beautiful daughter, Lauren Patrice, will live on in my heart forever.

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based on my experience as a caretaker for my daughter, Lauren and from reading anything I can get my hands on about Cholangiocarcinoma. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: Surgery or Chemo

I fully agree with Pam. The two doctors have to work as a team. They have to agree on the best course of action. If they can't find the common ground, I would definitely seek a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

Re: Surgery or Chemo

The surgeon has spoken with the oncologist and apparently the oncologist now agrees with the surgeon that they should "go in" immediately.
It was a bit unsettling that there was a disagreement, but the surgeon was VERY confident and apparently the oncologist came around; it is the situation Pam referenced above.
My friend really hated the first round of chemo. I think the thought of getting the cancer out quickly and not having to undergo months of difficult chemo is almost irresistable.
I hope he's choosing the right path. It's potentially a life and death decision of course. Thanks for all your input. It really gives me perspective.

Re: Surgery or Chemo

It is a very difficult decision, Jackson and I believe the patient has to make up his or her mind. Nobody else. Lauren's surgeon told Lauren that she couldn't just go lightly into this. She has to have a positive attitude and determination to get through this very difficult surgery. She thought about it for a long time before making her decision to commit wholeheartedly. It is very scary, but just think of the huge reward if it is successful! We see her surgeon tomorrow to find out when the surgeries will be. Best of luck to your friend.

-Pam

My beautiful daughter, Lauren Patrice, will live on in my heart forever.

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based on my experience as a caretaker for my daughter, Lauren and from reading anything I can get my hands on about Cholangiocarcinoma. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: Surgery or Chemo

Hi Jackson,

I had surgery followed by chemo, so having surgery does not mean that your friend will not be offered the choice of followup chemo.  I agree with Pam that having surgery or doing chemo is a very personal decision. 

I approached my treatment choices with an eye to how I would feel later on if I did or didn't do something.  Once I made my treatment decisions I owned them and decided that I would never regret anything that I did or didn't do.  We all do what we need to do based on the information presented and consultation with ourselves and our family/friends/doctors.  There are no do-overs and regret isn't helpful.

I hope your friend does well with any decision he makes.

Take care,
-Randi-

Survivor of cholangiocarcinoma (2009), thyroid cancer (1999), and breast cancer (1994).

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based only on my personal experience as a cancer survivor. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.