Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.



Hi Everyone.

I'm new on here just joined today. My husband Jay has just had a recurrence diagnosis of bowel cancer after a successful operation back in January to have it all removed. So many things going round in my head. Shock, disbelief, anger all sorts. He was doing really well and responded so well to his treatment. Ironically he is the one being calm positive and holding it together while I am in bits. Just the thought that I am now going to lose him one day but hopefully that `one day` will be years into the future as his surgeon told him his cancer is `slow growing` and she said to him to look at `years` not weeks months or days. He's not `popping off` (hate saying the `d` word) anytime soon. The cancer has come back in his stomach lining and is showing in his pelvis too. Surgery at the moment is not an option but he says he doesn't know if he could tolerate surgery again because he's had to go through it twice in 18 months once to have his stoma bag fitted and then the cancer operation. The anger in me is beginning to surface now because when he finished his treatment and had his operation I asked the oncologist when we met with him back in February (his op was in January) if he needed anymore courses of chemo or radiotherapy and he said no an d his words went something like `If no further treatment is required in the immediate future, we don't do anything. I now wonder if they did do another round of chemo or radiotherapy it might just have killed of any remaining micro cells that may have been present that were hard to detect and instead they have been allowed to fester and grow again. He's 68 years old so he's at that `dodgy` age when they say cancer can hit bad. We see his oncologist in 2 weeks time to set up a management plan I'm hoping he puts him back on the Capecitabine because when first diagnosed he had 6 weeks of chemoradiation to shrink the tumour which worked and they were able to operate. He had a high tolerance level while on the Capecitabine and there didn't seem to be any adverse side effects as I see most of you have had experience with. He got anti sickness tablets but didn't need them. Guess he was one of the lucky ones. I don't know what the oncologist will do this time its his `say so` what will happen but as long as its going to buy him more time its good enough for me. His last tumour was localised and hadn't been or gone anywhere else and apparently he was walking around with this tumour for either 3 or 4 years according to his surgeon so he had it all that time and never even knew and in the last 18 months the symptoms just all began to flare up. Honestly since he retired in 2019 his health has taken a really bad downturn. He found out he had Type 2 Diabetes in 2019 just before retirement and he attempted suicide at one point. It was just not long after we lost his mum in 2018 but this he said was down to the pressures of work he was more or less working 24/7 and just couldn't say `no` to his boss and the b***strd played on it. So long story short it lead to Jay going for counselling and it helped a lot and then we started working on his diabetes adopting a healthy eating plan and going to the gym or playing badminton 3 or 4 times a week. Then covid happened so everywhere shut down and went into lockdown and so the gym/badminton had to take a back seat. At the end of 2020 there was a little `lull` in the covid rules up here in Scotland and the sports centres began opening again but sports were by booking only. Resumed the badminton again because the gym had to remain closed (close contact) but then his `toilet troubles` began where he was running to the toilet near enough 10- 20 times a day and sometimes not making it and feeling really embarrassed by it all. GP requested `stool samples` in February 2021 got an appointment for a colonoscopy in May 2021 (Covid was still raging) scan showed abnormalities and MRI CT Scans followed. Finally diagnosed with bowel cancer on the 1st July 2021. Went in for stoma op on 22nd July 2021 and the rest as they say is history and now here we are almost one year later preparing to fight again! Hoping its another one we'll win and if not `seeing it off` for a considerable amount of time. So that's my story. Look forward to hearing from you all at some point.

Joshua A

Hello @VickyTrish21
That's quiet the read you've written. It does help to get things out tho i find.
I can totally echo your feelings the 2nd time around. We live in Canada and I was diagnosed just before covid hit. What a crazy time. I had a colon resection then chemo with capacetabine
Along with the IV drip. I was good afterwards recovered well from the op and after chemo was done right back to work full time. Fast forward to summer 2021 and my cea started to rise, went for a ct then mri to confirm i had a met that spread to my liver. We had hoped the chemo had cleaned up any leftover cells but was not to be. So getting chemo is not necessarily 100 % guaranteed to stop it coming back. They use the wait and see approach sometimes which im not too keen on like you also. I found coping the 2nd time around alot harder. Not much mental support given going through covid. Could not even have a companion for all the doctor visits scans bloods etc....
But we press on for the one's we love anyway right?
I hope you 2 find some peace and acceptance,
Learn to cherish the time you have in the present because tomorrow is never promised.