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Ask Dr. Chip Your Own Question
Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 36709
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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Can I discuss this issue with you quickly?

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Can I discuss this issue with you quickly?
Hi--what issue?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

HI Sorry Dr Chip, I hadnt realised the question was not on there.


It is about secondary liver cancer, my mum has just been to a meeting with her oncologist. She has been told she has secondary liver cancer and there is a 10 cm tumor - they said there is nothing they can do other than put her on Zelboraf on Monday. They said this could shrink the tumour significantly and give her more time. I just want to know if there is anything that can be done AT ALL COSTS. We are getting a second opinion as my mum has had melanoma's removed from her skin and theyve always been in situ and not metastatic.

Secondary David? How did he know that and if it is, where is the primary cancer?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my mum has had a lump removed from her head and was told that was in situ in 2009, in 2011 she had occular growth treated with a plaque fitted to the back of the eye. She was again told this was not as a result of a spread and that the door was closed on that growth and it will not spread. In 2012 she had a small lump removed, that was initially identified as metastatic and she was told all they could offer was palleative care, the sample was sent to a professor in london who completely disagreed and said it was in situ. She has been told by two professors that she has a rare form of malignant melanoma. The oncologist today had a ct scan (which we didnt see) and he is confident it is secondary with an unknown primary and thinks it has spread from the arm growth.

Has your mom had a colonoscopy?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, she has had an ultrasound which detected the liver cancer.

Sorry to hear about this David--what exactly would you like to know?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

With this history, could it be primary? On Zelboraf, what is the prognosis, is there anything that can be done, i know zelboraf may decrease the tumor size if she reacts well to it, can it then be removed with surgery then chemotherapy used?? I know there is a chance it will come back but is there a chance it could not, i know my mums cancer is rare but as such should she be given a chance of survival?

It could still be primary or it could be colon cancer--that really can't be told without a full workup and a biopsy of the liver tumor itself. Yes, the tumor can be surgically removed if necessary but I can't right now give you a prognosis for her--it could be fairly good but I just don't have enough information right now to tell you David. Keep me in the loop whenever you have any more information
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok - thanks for your honesty.


The consultant said something about a metastatic spread on the ct scan.


I suppose my real question is that if it is secondary from the skin, can there be an 'effective cure' for years rather than months if chemotherapy is used. I understand at the moment it is too big, but will/can the zeboraf reduce the size so it can be operated on? The impression I got today was that the NHS were not willing to go this far and just want my mum to take the zeboraf until it doesnt work anymore and then to die.

Chemotherapy can give a good prognosis for at least a few years but that's really not precisely predictable. The zebrograf will likely shrink the tumor and might shrink it to the point where surgery isn't necessary. Try to keep yours and your mum's spirits up for now
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