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PURPOSE: The recurrence of colon or rectal cancer may be signaled by serial carcinoembryonic antigen assays, patient symptoms, or radiologic tests such as abdominal and pelvic computed tomographic scans. There are unusual clinical presentations of recurrent disease. METHODS: Retrospectively, six patients with recurrent appendix, colon, or rectal cancer had a femoral neuropathy. Their clinical features and results of reoperative surgery were reviewed. RESULTS: All six patients had thigh weakness and atrophy, and four complained of leg pain. Each of the six patients underwent a reoperation, with a complete cancer resection in four. Pain control was excellent, but only one of the six patients, a patient with appendix cancer, demonstrated prolonged survival. CONCLUSIONS: Leg pain, thigh weakness, and atrophy are compatible with femoral neuropathy and are symptoms and signs compatible with recurrent large-bowel cancer. These findings may alert the clinician to the need for further investigation and treatments.
Key wordsColon cancer Rectal cancer Appendiceal cancer Femoral neuropathy Recurrent cancer Carcinoembryonic antigen Reoperative surgery
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