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Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

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Old 03-01-2005, 04:54 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Nirea HB User
Question Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

I know that it is not possible for anyone to give a direct or really correct answer to this question, but I seem to be getting no answers at all anywhere I look.
A dear close friend of mine has terminal secondary cancer of the liver. The primary cancer has never been found. She was given 6 mths to live last November, but only two months before that the Dr's said she had 12 mths.

She is currently hospitalised, on morphine for pain is is extremely bloated with fluid which is being drained from her abdomen every second day. I just want to know what signs to look for to say the end is close for her. At the moment she is confident she will be home in a few days, but I know she wouldn't tell me if she had been told otherwise anyway. I feel she has aged about 15 yrs in the last few weeks, and apart from the bloating she is skin & bone. I suppose I am just worried she will never leave the hospital again, but don't know of the 'signs' to be on the look out for.
Sorry for my ramble, I am not even sure if I have made any sense at all. If you have got this far through my mumble thankyou for your time and patience.
God bless you and your cherished.

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Old 03-01-2005, 10:12 AM   #2
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girlwondering HB User
Unhappy Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

I can't tell you what the signs are in terms of months, but days and weeks I can. I don't know if those will even help you at this stage. Most likely, her internal organs will just slow down, eventually stopping. Do you know what dosage of morphine she is on? Sometimes that slows a person down with regard to breathing as well.

Sorry this is so vague, but I don't think anyone will be able to answer your question about terminal cancer.

Best wishes to you,


My mother had breast cancer for 6 years, and at Christmas, surprisingly was found to have 3 large and agressive brain tumors. She was given 7-10 days and lived 10 before passing.

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Old 03-01-2005, 04:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Nirea HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

Thankyou for your response girl.
I suppose it is just hard to know how long we have. It is hard to know whether this is the start of the end, or something we will get past and have her at home again feeling okay.
I know its a silly question that no one can really answer, but I guess I want to know if the fluid and the fact they have her on morphine are signs her liver is starting to shut down. They are increasing her morphine to see what amount she needs to relieve her pain.
Thankyou again.

Old 03-02-2005, 06:49 AM   #4
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ktee_uk HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

Hi nirea

Im sure you have been told already that it varies from one person to another but this is not much help if you are trying to organise your own life to help your friend.

I can only speak from experience. I lost my mum July 2004 to colon cancer which had spread to liver. It became obvious in the last couple of weeks that it had also spread out towards her lungs. She started taking liquid morphine (diamorph?) along with analgesic pain relief about 2 months before her death. The morphine was a "break through" pain relief. As her illness progressed she required more and more but was often difficult to get the dosage right. One month before her death she was increasingly frail and eating very little and spent most of day in bed. Any movement made her exhausted which was not helped with lack of calory intake. With 2 weeks to go she went into a nursing home where she was a lot more comfortable. A week to go, I asked her doc to stop her normal presciption medicine as she could not swallow them or keep them down and at this stage he put her onto a morphine pump thing which was regulated by a timer (not a self administered one you click after an operation). When this happened she was only lucid for a few minutes each day but she was very comfortable. The morphine helped relax her body and her breathing although this was alarmingly rattley.

Her final few hours were peacefull. Breathing went from a rattle to very shallow until she stopped.

It was important to her that her family and only the closest of friends visit her during her last week. Also her priest visited her every day which gave her the most comfort i think. It is something we discussed with her when the inevitability of her illness was apparant and also closer to the time.

Good luck to you and your friend

Old 03-07-2005, 12:19 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Nirea HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

THankyou for your responses.
My friend is on 1 ml/hr of morphine, along with something else thats name I can't remember. She is on an automated amchine. They are draining fluid every 2 days from her abdomin (sp?). She has been given 2 weeks- we are just throught the first one now.

Old 03-08-2005, 05:52 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
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nmch HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

I'm sorry about your friend Nirea, I wish they didn't have to suffer. In my opinion, dying isn't most horrible part, it's the time they have to live in so much pain.

My mom passed Sept 19, 2004 of cancer that was throughout her body. She didn't know this before she was diagnosed, She lived for 9 days after the diagnoses, and just died.

she was drugged pretty heavily, I'm glad for her that she didn't have to live any longer with it. I kbow she's ok, and in a good place.

I'll pray for your friend.

Old 03-09-2005, 02:24 PM   #7
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

If you are looking for the Signs of Approaching Death, there are two phases:
One is the pre-active, can last two weeks or so and includes:

increased restlessness
withdrawal from active participation in social activities
increased periods of sleep
decreases need for liguids & food
periods of pausing in breathing
reports of seeing people who have already died
states that he or she is dying
requests family visits to settle up or tie up loose ends
inability to heal or recover from wounds or infections
increased swelling (edema) of the extremities or whole body

The active phase lasts up to 3 days or so and you can let me know if this is the type of information you are looking for or need and I'll type them in for you...

I am so sorry about your friend...
(Hospice is wonderful by the way)

Old 03-09-2005, 03:06 PM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 53
Dave440 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

The father of long time close friend of mine succumbed to liver cancer last year that was also secondary. It started from bladder cancer and ultimatly had his bladder removed but spots appeared on the liver and the chemo treatments just weren't cutting it.
Last signs? Well he was in hospice care for the last stages of his life and it was the best thig for him. They made the transition much easier. The morphine will help. Ultimatly Jaundice typically sets in at the last stages. Severe weight loss as well and tenderness around the abdomen area. Really sorry to hear about it, it's really difficult to watch someone you know have to go through it. But with the right hospice care, it helps the patient and family deal with the situation. I think in a lot of ways the chemo's side effects were worse than the the cancer's effects though so it may help to know that with the right care, there's little discomfort.

Old 03-13-2005, 07:04 AM   #9
Join Date: Mar 2005
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AliciaMcL HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

Wow I was so glad to see this thread. My grandmother has been fighting what started off as uterine cancer 9 years ago. She has been through so many different treatments, but unfortunatley she is losing her battle. They stopped all treatment in October and said there was nothing else they can do. Since then it has spread from a small spot on her liver to her lungs, lymph nodes basicly everywhere and has MORE than doubled in size. She just recently started going "down hill" very fast. She has developed a VERY Large lump on the lower right side of her back, and she informed me it was not a cramp as I thought, it was indeed her liver. THAT SWOLLEN. She has started taking morphine. 20Ml every 24 hours with Vicadin in between, which in just the last 2 days they have removed her from the Vicadin and increased the Morphine to 30Ml every 12 hours. She refuses to go to the hospital, says she wants to stay home. All anyone can tell me is "when she turns jaundice, you know it's close." but that isn't good enough, I have 2 small kids that are going to be devistated as well as the rest of my family. She is like my mother. There has to be something else besides watching for the jaundice, and is there anything I can do? I can't lose her I am not ready.

Old 03-13-2005, 11:21 AM   #10
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandma; I think one of the things you can do is spend alot of time with her. Tell her about all the memories of good times that you have had since you were a little girl. Maybe a few extra special photos in a handmade album?

If you're old enough to see some of the things you share in common share them with her! Let her know that you might have inherited that "stick to itiveness" or "ability to budget" or "funny walk" etc.

Sometimes in getting those important things said you may find that you will be as ready as any of us CAN be. And that's not very ready, I know.
Please keep in touch, one of my Grandma's who died is my guardian angel. Maybe you'll have one too.

Old 03-13-2005, 02:15 PM   #11
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2
AliciaMcL HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

Ruth6, Thank you. I am just so lost I guess I am looking for anything that will help me be more aware that "it is time" so maybe it won't be quite so hard. I just don't know what to do. I lost my grandfather (her husband) in 2000 right after the birth of my 2nd daughter, then 2 months later had a very serious car crash with her in the car and she came out of it with only a scratch, so I think I know who her angel is.

Old 03-15-2007, 04:07 PM   #12
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: corona cal. usa
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criss HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

My dad was also diagnosed with liver cancer. i believe it is secondary. he was told that it is terminal. anywhere from 3-12 months. that was back in September. recentlyI noticed considerable weight loss and aging. he also has started feeling pain and was perscribed vicodin. he bruises very easily. Are these signs that the end is going to start approaching more rapidly?

Old 05-29-2007, 01:26 PM   #13
Join Date: May 2007
Location: us
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Rhiannon22 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

not sure if anyone will be able to answer my question but ive just found out it looks like my grandad has got secondary liver cancer. At this stage the primary cancer has still not been found. We are waiting on the biopsy results to find out how severe it is but could any one tell me how severe this sounds. In the last few weeks he has been ill, lost lots of weight and looks gaunt, has lost his appetite, bleeding from his rear, and has had lots of pain killers for the pain, today he seems fine but could anyone tell me how severe they think it is, and also how long he has got etc?

Old 02-17-2008, 11:25 PM   #14
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: scotland
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trace13 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

My had breast cancer 2 yrs ago. In may 2007 was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer.She went thro lots of chemo to give her abit more time and was given 12 months. She was doing really well up until just after new yr 2008. She started not eating and started losing alot of weight. Now feb 2008 she has gone down hill so fast.ABout 2 weeks ago she was told it had also spread to her brain. She lost use of the right hand side of her body wasnt able to walk.

SHe is now in the last stage of life. We have been told that she only has days to go. She is sleeping all the time has now stopped eating and she doesnt want to go into hospital so we are looking after her at home. Which is really hard. We have a nurse that comes in to make sure she is comfortable and she is on oral morphine. But she is now unable to take so hopefully they will set her up on a morphine pump. She is very restless and jaundice and her stomach is very large as she has filled up with fluid. She is very confused and ina nd out of conciousness. We have been told not to worry about her eating or drinking as the body cannot digest this anymore.So we are just waiting for her to let go which i hope is not too long as i dont like seeing her suffering i hope she goes in peace. Hope this has answered the signs of the last stages and signs to look out for.I will keep you posted on my mum as we wait..... Takecare for all those going through the same thing. Its not a nice experience, you dont want to loose them but you do want them to be a peace....I also forgot to mention that the whites of her eyes have gone slightly yellow and her skin has is very yellow which is down to the liver but it aslso looks like she has aged 20yrs even tho she is only 54 too young to die if u ask me.[/I]

Old 02-21-2008, 11:50 AM   #15
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: canada
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telly2 HB User
Re: Terminal Liver cancer- what are the signs it's nearly over?

I lost my mom 17 yrs ago with secondary liver bone and lung cancer, again primary breat,, but the 1 thing I do remember was the breathing, when the time comes thier breathing gets very laboured, almost rattly, that was how we knew we only had hours left. I hope this helps, but the best thing to do right now is take care of you the best you can, don't feel guilty needing to get away for a few minutes, go for a coffee with friends. There is nothing you can do right now and you having a break down from exhaustion is not going to help. I know this is the most difficult thing to do, watching a parent go, I wish you the best and remember it is a blessing, you don't want to see them suffer longer than neccesary. and at the end it is peacefull I remember thelook on my moms face like it was yesturday, the pain was gone forever.

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