Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

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Spread to 6 lymph nodes out of 20 what does it all mean?

Hello my brother is home but very weak. 11 nights and 12 days in hospital.

He got a call today saying it’s in 6 nodes and will need chemo 6/20 or maybe 8 he can’t Remember what she said. Is this good is this bad? Will he be ok. I was praying it was going to be a matter of removing it and all will be ok. I know stage 3 high chance the nodes but again was wishing it wasn’t. Been a month and 4 days since we knew he was poorly.

Anyone similar stories. Again sorry not been on here as much trying to take it day by day for him, he’s lost so much weight from surgery but he isn’t eating. He said the nurse said will be mild chemo what ever that means?

He has a face to face soon with the doctor. So so so sad with the news having it confirmed is awful. Any success stories will help our family a lot

Lots of love Penny :x:


hi @penny247 its hard to say whether it's bad or not - i mean things can often be worse and in cancer terms it could be worse. The most important thing is that the cancer is out. Your bro is likely to be told that the chemo is to mop up any potential stray cells that may or may not be there. the good thing is he's had surgery that is deemed curative (they may or may not say this to him, it depends on surgeon etc) and the hope is he is cancer free with mop up chemo as a precaution. Your brother will be able to ask more about his prognosis if he wishes. I've seen people with more lymph nodes go on to be cancer free and signed off surveillance... and I've seen others with an early stage and no nodes hve recurrences.... its hard to know, but i think its good to be hopeful and know there are many positive stories out there.

have you someone to talk to outside of family ? macmillan for example? It sounds from your message that you are v distressed and I think sometimes talking is really helpful. for me as the patient it was good but i think for friends and family supporting a loved one and trying to be positive and hopeful for them, its vital too :x::x::x:

Mark McC

Hi @penny247

After I had my stage 3 tumour removed they found 2/11 local lymph nodes showed signs of cancerous cells. The lymph nodes filter germs and remove waste products so my consultant wasn’t too surprised, but they did recommend precautionary adjuvant chemo. So I would say it’s a good thing it’s been identified and that chemo is suggested, just to be safe.

The cancer journey is a rollercoaster and it sometimes feels unending, but it does end and you do feel better and each day you get stronger. It is tough, I was shocked and very upset about more chemo after the surgery, but I’m glad I did, and I recently had my first scheduled surveillance checks and there is no evidence of cancer.

Take time to pull together questions for the oncologist.

Stay strong and good luck to both of you.


Hi @penny247. I have had surgery recently too and it was found in blood vessel so I have oncology appointment tomorrow to find out about mop up chemo.
A positive story, my friend had bowel cancer nearly 5 years ago. She had N2 which I think is up to 6 nodes affected. She had 3 months Capox as a precaution and she has nearly come to end of her surveillance with no reoccurrence :)
Hope your brother makes a speedy recovery after surgery and precautionary chemo goes well if he takes it :x::x:


Hi @penny247 i have a very similar story to your brothers and am awaiting chemo. 5 weeks post surgery.
It is tough but I am positive that the chemo will zap those last remaining cells on my nodes. Then reversal of my stoma.
I am alway told one day at a time and I have to believe that. Pls don’t worry about stuff that hasn’t yet happened. Your brother is in good hands I’m sure. A strong tribe around him will help his recovery too.

I will make sure my husband looks at the carers forum as this whole experience is super tough for everyone.
Love and best wishes for recovery.
Kate :x:


I know it's scary but they are doing the chemo to mop up and kill the cancer cells. My partner is stage 1 T2 and had his tumor removed, we assumed as it was early the op would be enough however it came back that 2 out ot 20 nodes had cancer cells so he's now undergoing 3 months of chemo
It's scary and unsettling but chemo is to mop up the last of it following the op. He will be okay :x::x::x:


Hi @penny247 I understand your worries, it feels terrifying. I thought I was stage 1, had the op which went well then received the news i was stage 3 as it had gone to 1 out of 40 nodes so had 3 months of 'mop up' chemo (Capox). If in 6 - 8 nodes, it's likely that your brother will have 6 months / 8 cycles. Usually that's a two week cycle with an infusion of something called Oxalyplatin on Day 1 followed by 14 days of Capecitabine tablets and then 6 days 'off'. It's not fun and some of the times were tricky as I strruggle with anxiety anyway - BUT it's manageable and you do get through it, especially with the support of friends and family. They have amazing drugs to help with sickness etc and forums like this are phenomenal to help with the mental struggle - I'm so grateful for the people on here who reached out to me. (and continue to). Your brother will find he is stronger than either of you can possibly imagine. Wishing you both all the best. :x:


Hi @penny247 , my story is very similar to your brothers. Also stage 3 (diagnosed in 2020). I had 7 involved lymph nodes. I also had 3 months of CAPOX. One day at a time and most important thing for now is for him to keep his physical and mental strength through chemotherapy.


Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your replies. I feel so much educated and better. Unfortunately I have suffer from anxiety a lot and this news has turned me into a nervous wreck. I worry about everything and this is the worse I have encountered. The treatment seems like a protocol and doesn’t mean it’s spreading and getting worse. Everyone is so positive which is great including my brother

He sees his consultant in 2 months end of September this worries me it’s in 6 nodes will it go to 12 in 2 months? Wonder why it’s so far away. It was his main nurse that called him and told him he will need chemo. Does this time frame seem ok? 2 months after surgery to see the doctor? Chemo letter will come through post.

I thank you all so so much for each and every reply ❤️