Bowel cancer treatment and side effects


Chemo here we go

Hi friends, Just had a phone call from the hospital so say my husband needs chemo. We don't know anymore details than that until we see the consultant in two weeks. The nurse said that they found some cancer in the veins for his bowel but nothing in the lymph glands. It has come as a slight shock as we really thought after his operation 3 weeks ago he would not need any further treatment. Not sure of this news is good or bad . We cannot wait now to see the consultant to ask lots of questions that we have in our heads :x::x::x:

Bear G

Hi @Sia
I can imagine this has been something of a shock to you both but I would certainly encourage you to try to view this as a good thing.
You’ll hear more from the consultant but it sounds like he just has some localised spread so they’ll be using the chemo to mop up any cells that are roaming around.
Please write down all your questions ahead of the appointment so you can make sure you get all your answers, I do that every time!
Big hugs


Hi @Sia my husband recently started chemo following surgery. Although the surgeon removed all the cancer they found that 3 lymph nodes proved positive. The surgeon referred him to the oncologist so that some 'mopping up' of any stray cells could be done. We were a little upset because like you we hoped that the surgery would be enough. Well my husband was told that he would have 6 months of chemo and he is just in the middle of his second of eight cycles.
Let us know how you get on when you see the oncologist and please try not to worry. I think this mopping up with chemo after surgery is quite usual :x:


@Bear G @Lupin thank you both so much for your encouraging replies. Yes we cannot wait to see the consultant and ask the questions. Take care love Sian :x::x:


Bless him, mop up chemo is ok. It sounds scarier than it actually is. I had 6 months too, it was manageable. :x: :x: :x:

Lady B

Hi @Sia , I too had to do mop up chemo after surgery, was supposed to be 6 months which seemed an age at the time but it was reduced to 3 months which was more bearable. Hope it goes well :x::x:


Hi @Sia - I to did mop up chemo for 6 months, it was capecitabine in tablet form. I was generally okay continued working , driving etc I did get tired towards the end and my toenails went a bit yukky but other than that it was doable. Ron :x::x:


Hi @Sia my hubby is on mop up too. He had chemo before surgery, as he was stage 4 at diagnosis, chemo worked wonders for him, and then he had two successful ops. He is on Cycle 3 of mop up (hooked up to his pump as we speak) he has folfox and 5fu and has found it ok. He suffers with some cold sensitivity, some neuropathy and the first bite syndrome, but other wise tolerates it pretty well. They give you so many drugs to help with the side effects, and can offer alternatives if these do not work. Hopefully in a week or so after seeing the Onc you have a better idea of what chemo and for how long. :x::x::x:


Thanks everyone. They have offered my husband Capecitbine for 6months. But he could.go without it as the doctors said that his body could fight the small.amount of cells that are left in the veins. We need to make a discision in the next 3 weeks. Does anyone know if chemo damages you other organs and does it shorten your life.?


Hi @Sia

There have been others on the forum facing a similar dilemma of whether to have the mop up chemo or not. Personally, I’d take anything to increase my chances of survival but all of us and our cancers are unique.

I don’t think chemo damages organs or shortens your life as such, as far as I’m aware, but of course there are risks associated with every medicine and drug, including chemotherapy. I think it’s a case of weighing up the pros and cons of treatment v’s no treatment. Perhaps others will be in a far better position to advise on this. You may wish to ask the @Charlotte Nurse Advisor for her views and expertise.

Wishing you all the best,


Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Dear @Sia,

Your husband has had surgery to remove all the cancer that can be seen and the purpose of the chemotherapy is to to TRY to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back in the future. The risk of this happening depends on many factors but when cancerous cells are seen in the blood vessels surrounding the tumour the risk of recurrence goes up slightly.

To be clear the doctors cannot confirm that the cancer WILL return there is just the risk of this happening. Chemotherapy aims to try to reduce this risk. Similarly even if an individual does have chemo the cancer may still return.

Whether to undertake a course of chemotherapy is a very individual choice. Some people want to feel that they have done absolutely everything to try to reduce the risk of recurrence whilst for others the prospect of 6 months of treatment is too daunting.

As others have suggested use this time to write down all the questions that are relevant to your husband and you. Everyone has different priorities so there are no right or wrong questions to ask and NO question is too trivial - ask everything you feel you need to know before making a decision.

With kindest regards,



Hi @Sia Just wanted to say that the chemo is manageable. This may have come as a surprise to you but do not be alarmed. It is far better that they do this now, belt and braces approach. I had 16 lymph nodes positive from 20 taken and had to have the chemo, but I was classed as a higher risk. Have a look at the publications on the forum, these may help with any questions for when you see the Oncologist. Take care wishing you well.:x::x::x: