The surgeon described the effect of the radiation therapy on the tumour as “phenomenal”, however the pathology report on the excised area showed there was still some active, aggressive cancer inside the tumour. All the margins of the excised tissue were clear and only 1 of 3 nodes found contained cancer. The surgeon was naturally guarded about a prognosis but was very satisfied with the results of the surgery.
It confirmed for us that we took the right course in proceeding with surgery. I had debated its wisdom and wondered if we should have gone ahead. If we hadn’t, there would always have been a question over whether there was any cancer left in the rectum.
The next step is that in about six weeks, following recuperation from surgery, I will undergo a further course of chemotherapy as a ‘mopping up operation’. This is to chase down and destroy any cells that might be at large in the body that are not presently detected. I had hoped the operation I have just been through would be the last but I guess having come this far it seems silly to not pursue it to the end.