Ask the Nurse

If you have a question for our nurses, please post it here or email nurse@bowelcanceruk.org.uk. Typically you will receive a response within 2-4 working days. Please note this is for non-urgent enquiries only. If you are feeling unwell please contact your hospital team or GP.

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JCT050

Stage 3 bowel cancer

Hello,

My mother has stage 3 bowel cancer. She has had surgery to remove the tumour. Cancer was positive in the lymph nodes they removed also. She is currently on cycle 4 out of 6 total of chemotherapy.

We were told before chemo started that once it was finished they would scan her again before ending the treatment fully and then she would go back into the system for 6 monthly scans for the next 2 years.

The consultant is now saying that this won’t happen. They will finish the last round of chemo and then no scans or anything until another 6 months? Does this sound normal? I’m worried as they keep saying her bloods are good but they have always been good even when she had the tumour and they were doing various tests nothing showed up to say that she was sick.

Any advice would be appreciated. I’m so worried now as is she and nobody seems to want to answer any questions she has.

Thank you,

Julia

Charlotte Nurse Advisor

Dear @JCT050,

Your mother has undergone what is termed adjuvant chemotherapy. This is when the bowel cancer has been entirely removed with surgery (with no evidence of cancer in other organs such as the liver etc.) and chemotherapy is given following the operation to try to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Current NICE guidelines on the management of bowel cancer state that patients should undergo a minimum of 2 CT scans within the first 3 years following successful treatment. It is therefore usual for patients to complete their course of chemotherapy and undergo a repeat CT scan anywhere between 6-12 months after this.

I do hope this has helped answer your question but do get back to me if I can help further.

Kindest regards
Charlotte