Six weeks after Dad’s last radiation treatment he had a repeat PET scan to see how effective the chemo and radiation was. Since that time Dad has been feeling better every day. No trouble with swallowing and no pain. He says he wouldn’t even know he has cancer.
The results of the PET scan today carried a lot of weight. The results could go two ways ranging from a complete resolution in the cancer to the cancer still being present. Depending on the results it would be a watch and wait approach or surgical intervention to remove the esophagus and reattach the stomach up near the throat (an esphagectomy). The surgery carries a lot of risks.
Dad’s PET scan showed a small amount of uptake in the area where his cancer was located. At this time it’s hard to tell if it’s cancer or inflammation from the chemo and radiation. If cancer it could continue to be shrinking and go away completely! The only true way to tell right now is to remove the esophagus and test it, but as I said that surgery carries a lot of risk and may be completely unnecessary if the cancer is truly “killed”.
Based on all of this information the decision was made to wait and repeat the PET scan in 2 months. The waiting will not affect anything negatively even if the cancer is not completely gone. Our hopes are that the cancer is killed and these next 2 months will show a continued regression to resolution where the next PET scan is cold with no uptake.
He will need to decide in the next few days if in the interim he will proceed with 3 weeks of weekly chemo with one week off for two cycles. This is to ensure that there is no spread of disease with his cancer being a stage 3 with some lymph nodes enlarged from the first PET scan.
All in all it was pretty good news today! Continue sending prayers for good news on the repeat scan in 2 months!