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Forum Name: Sarcoma

Question: Sarcomatoid carcinoma


 kelli19785 - Sat Apr 28, 2007 12:05 pm

My dad's history: 2004 colon/rectal cancer-removed, perm colostomy, margins and lymph clear 4/06- PET and bloodwork clean, late 2006 tumor on tongue ,(sarcomatoid carcinoma/spindle cell squamous) removed tumor, margins and lymph clear

Now for the strange part:
In early April 2007 (feeling fine, normal activity) my dad felt a small lump on his chin, the size of a pea, within a week it was obvoius it was growing larger daily. He went to the doctor and the took a biopsy, said it was "cancer" nothing more specific. We made an appt with the radiologist at the cancer center, and in the meantime several more large bumps appear all over his body (neck, back, groin, armpit, chest, etc). These were intially painless, but started to cause regional pain as they grew larger. The radiologist ordered another PET, said there were lumps all over his body, many he could not see or feel. He also said the cancer is being carried around in the blood and just deposited all over the body, but not in lymph nodes. Only one bump was found on an organ, the liver. The radiologist said he could not help my dad and set him up with the chemo doctor. He also sent a larger biopsy to the pathology lab. We are waiting for the results, but my dad is getting really bad really fast. His tongue is swollen with sores on the very back and it is too painful to eat so we are giving him Ensure. He is VERY weak and needs help getting up and walking. The tumor on his chin prevents him from closing his mouth and he is having much trouble talking, so much we can barely understand him. More bumps are appearing DAILY. I am not exaggerating at all. Every day is worse and worse. I have never heard of something so fast. 25 days ago my dad was completely fine.
Has anyone ever experienced something like this? Is all of this cancer or could there be something else going on? We are getting no where with the doctors here and his family doctor (not a cancer specialist) said "well, I'm thinking he's got months", but we're thinking it's going to be days at this rate. We need some help. I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions on this.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue May 29, 2007 8:36 pm

User avatar I'm not a cancer specialist but I'll try to answer some of your questions. Most definitely this sounds like cancer. When someone has had cancer before the first thought is that it is the same type of cancer but those who have had cancer before are at an increased risk of getting a different type of cancer (compared to the general population) partially because things have already lined up to get one type of cancer and partially because the chemotherapy/radiation therapy increases risk of future cancers.

Given that it seems your father's cancer is spreading by his blood, I suspect that he had a focal development that has eroded into a blood vessel and is now being carried throughout his body.

With widespread involvement I suspect that chemotherapy is really the only treatment. Radiation therapy would likely not be appropriate at this point.

There are several things that can be done to help besided chemotherapy including placing central IV lines or G-tubes for nutritional support and hydration.

Unfortunately it does sound like the cancer is growing rapidly. Before therapy can be started they'll need to determine what type of cancer it is.

Talk to your oncologist about the options. I don't want to sound too forward but also keep in mind that sometimes it may be better to not treat with chemotherapy. This may shorten the time he has left but the time may be a bit more quality without the side effects of chemotherapy. Each case is individualized and this decision should be made with your family and your oncologist.

Best wishes. I'm sorry to hear of this news.
 kelli19785 - Wed May 30, 2007 6:01 pm

Dr. Lowe, thank you so much for your response. We ended up taking my dad to the hospital and he tried chemo (which did absolutely nothing). He passed away 5/18 at home with his family and hospice, he had just turned 57.

The cancer ended up being the same sarcomatoid squamous spindle cell carcinoma. It was very aggressive and took over his whole body (soft tissues, jaw, throat, spots in lungs, liver, bone, etc) in 4 months.

The whole thing happened so fast that we never got to get any 2nd opinions and hearing your thoughts have helped me realize that we did the best we could and even if I could have gotten him somewhere else, the prognosis would have been very similar. I truly appreciate your reply!
Thanks,
Kelli
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Jun 01, 2007 1:07 am

User avatar I am quite sorry to hear of your loss. Cancer is a devastating disease. I look forward to the day when we find a cure. Unfortunately that day can't come soon enough.

Regards.

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