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Friday, December 6, 2013
My father was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. He has been going thru chemo since September. In October, the dr. found a lump in his liver. This month, they stated that the liver lump went down from 8.4 to 4.6. What does that mean?
This liver lump is most likely a liver tumor that spread from the colon to the liver. This is also called a metastatic implant. Stage IV colorectal cancer is most often when the disease spreads from its original point (that is the colon) to other organs, the most common being the liver.
I assume he is undergoing chemotherapy, which is the right thing to do and quite effective.
The number you are referring to is the size of the lesion (tumor). The smaller, the better. So I see this as very positive; that is, the size of the tumor in the liver is decreasing. Your dad is thus responding to treatment. Normally, the cancer specialist will treat the patient for several months. At the end of treatment, new X-rays will be obtained, to see how the treatment effected the tumor. At that point, a decision needs to be made to send the patient to a liver surgeon to cut out the tumor, or to continue further chemotherapy. Usually, if the tumor shows signs of response to treatment, one would opt to cut out the tumor, if there was a response to chemotherapy. Besides surgery, sometimes other, non-operative treatments are offered. None are as good as cutting the disease out of the liver.
If you are in or near Cincinnati, I would be more than pleased to see your dad as a patient and to see what our team can do to help!!!
Best of luck.
Steven M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS
Professor of Surgery, Director of Liver Transplat and Hepatobiliary Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati