my sister in-law was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer a year ago and the doctors removed half of the gland and said chemo was not necessary. At some point last month, she was bleeding profusely as of it her period but never stopped. She had many blood transfusions and finally they removed many reproductive organs and found cancer in the bladder. Still, she is not having any chemo or Radiation at this point. I would like to know how one gets referred to a different specialist, perhaps in Montreal and is it normal for her not to be having Chemotherapy at this point. Please help!
@Worried-Robin I can understand your concern and your sister-in-law is lucky to have you advocating for her.
First, I'm not a doctor; however, I will share what I know. Basically, chemo goes through the entire body unlike radiation which very direct and specific. Chemo is often used if there is a concern that the primary source of the cancer has spread. I had cancer in my breast and it was found in a few lymph nodes. This is the reason why I had chemo as part of my treatment. Sometimes chemo or radiation is used to shrink the size of a tumour. It can make a tumour easier to remove by surgery.
So, if the tumour is small and there is no concern that the cancer has spread, then chemo may not be recommended. Having said that, with cancer in more than one location, has it been determined if any of the cancer are from the same primary source?
As for getting a second opinion, it never hurts to ask. I have epilepsy. One doctor I went to recommended brain surgery. I asked for a second opinion and sent me to see another doctor. When I asked the new doctor if brain surgery, he told me that for the type of epilepsy I have, they would have to remove my entire brain. Two very different opinions.
I have also asked my family doctor for a referral to a different doctor so that I could get a second opinion. Still others on this site have commented that some hospitals have a sort of tumour review board where they review various cases so that they can discuss them and figure out the best possible approach for treatment.
Be an advocate and make sure your concerns are heard. I know that @Lianne_Moderator has acted as an advocate for a loved one. Perhaps she can help.
Hi @Worried-Robin ,
I can’t comment on the thyroid cancer as I know nothing about it. But the bladder cancer I have had. I too had bleeding. Sent to emergency. I had no idea what they were going to find, but woke up to a Dr telling me I was one lucky lady. I had a large enough tumour that he said I almost lost my bladder, but they were able to resect it, spent 3 days in hospital and was sent home. I have had many recurrences over the last 30 years, they just cut it out or cauterize it. Never had any radiation or chemo. If it is localized and can be removed there is no need for further treatment. But lots and lots of follow up, forever! I have had 5 different kinds of cancer over the last 43 years, all were caught early enough that surgery was all that was needed. I guess I am unlucky having that many cancers but lucky that no radiation or chemo was ever needed. Hope my experience helps.
@Worried-Robin so sorry to hear about your sister in law and all the troubles she’s having. I am also from the Outaouais and I had a lobectomy and the removal of a cancer in Montréal last fall at McGill university centre. If your sister in law wants a second opinion she can ask her doctor for a referral in Montréal which is what I did last year! Some of the specialists from Montréal actually come to Hull hospital on a regular basis and that’s where I had my first consultation with the specialist last year and I still see them every 4 months in Hull for my follow up. My cancer was caught early so I had no need for any treatments or medication afterward. She is entitled to a second opinion if she wants one, I wish her all the best and hope she will find the help she seek!
Hello and welcome @Worried-Robin . Thank you for introducing yourself here.
As @cancertakesflight has mentioned, you sister in law is fortunate to have someone in her corner willing to take on advocacy on her behalf.
There are processes for getting a second opinion. By specialist are you referring to a gastroenerologist? Or a surgeon?
Here is some information on acquiring a second opinion from cancer.ca
And here is some information on bladder cancer from cancer.ca, including treatment options
Cancer treatment can vary from patient to patient, even with those with a same or similar cancer, as exampled by @DMT who only had surgery. There are so many variables that determine a treatment plan. In the first link I share, on the left you will see treatment options there.
I hope some of these resources will help you and your sister-in-law .
Does she have next steps set up yet? Other appointments?
Please keep us posted on how you are both doing
PS - I am going to move your post to the Bladder cancer forum ( forums > Cancer types > Bladder ) so that it will be seen by a broader bladder cancer audience