When bowel (colorectal) cancer spreads it often spreads to the liver or the lungs. This is referred to as a secondary cancer. In these cases surgery is often impossible because the cancer is too widespread throughout the liver or is attached to important blood vessels or nerves in the lungs. However, in a small number of cases surgery is possible and the affected portion of the liver or lung can be removed. The liver is a regenerative organ, which means that it grows back if you cut some of it away. It is also possible to live with part of a lung or an entire lung removed.
One person twice developed secondary cancer of the liver after bowel surgery and had two operations to remove tumours from her liver. She then developed secondary cancer of the lung and had three further operations: two to remove affected portions of the lung and the third to remove the lung completely as a safeguard against any more secondary cancers. She has been entirely clear of cancer for 6 years and considers herself to be fully cured.
She explains how she coped with so much surgery:
She explains how she coped with 6 major cancer operations.
Stephen had an unusual form of secondary bowel cancer. His cancer had spread to form tumours in his leg.