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TomM1956728 09-17-2011 12:52 PM

Stage 4 End of Life Issues

My mother is 86 years old and has esophageal cancer which has spread to an area of her chest between her lungs.

My motherís doctor told us that she cannot be cured since the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. But the Doctor said that he can ďsustain her.Ē

Over the past few months, Iíve gradually learned, and Iíve reluctantly had to accept the fact that the cancer will eventually take her away from us.

I wanted to ask a few questions about her condition.

1. What is the average length of time a stage 4 patient can survive? 1 year? 2 years? 3 years? 4 years?

2. What is the average length of time a stage 4 patient can survive after she has decided to stop treatment? 1 month? 2 months? 3 months?

3. When you decide to stop treatment, where do people generally go for the last month or two of their life for care? A nursing home? Hospital?

4. I read on the internet that a person will suffer quite a bit after stopping treatment before passing away, that he or she will vomit frequently, will have to endure a lot of pain, etc. Does anyone know what a person has to endure before passing away?

If anyone has some knowledge about any of the above issues, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

I know this is not a pleasant subject to talk about, but it would greatly help me to know what to expect, and to see if itís possible to prepare in some way for what sadly seems inevitable.

Thank you very much for your kind help!


rudiraven 09-19-2011 01:50 PM

Re: Stage 4 End of Life Issues

I answered your other post and the questions you ask this time are hard to answer. Everyone is different and length of survival time would vary depending on how much it's spread and her ablility to eat, etc. Each family must make their own decisions on where they wish their loved ones to spend their final days. My husband and I decided that he should be at home as long as possible. If there is someone to be with your Mom, she would probably prefer to be at home where things are familiar. Hospice can be usually be requested to come to the home on some sort of schedule. Her doctor can help arrange this. As far as the vomiting, pain, etc. If she started to experience any of these symptoms there are medications that can be prescribed to keep her comfortable as she passes to the next life. That's what Hospice is for. She may have a very peaceful passing, so don't assume she'll be in horrible pain. My husband passed on in our bed with our dogs and me present. I wish you both peace and I'll be here if you want to talk anymore.

TomM1956728 10-02-2011 02:10 PM

Re: Stage 4 End of Life Issues

Thank you very much for your kind reply.

Sorry, for being so late in thanking you for your help. I’m struggling with all sorts of serious health problems myself. I’m also desperately trying to hold on to my job. And since my mother lives with me and I’m trying to take care of her, I often have very little energy left. But, again, thank you so much for your time and help.

My mother is still doing chemo every 3 weeks but it is getting harder, much harder for her to do chemo. Since Stage 4 cancer is not curable, and as she will eventually have to stop chemo, I am very worried and nervous about the future.

Thanks for the information about Hospice care. It’s good to know that they can help with pain and that people do not necessarily have to experience pain when they are near the end. Sad to say, I have no friends or relatives to turn to, and no knowledge about these issues so all this information is very new and helpful. It’s great to know that Hospices are providing such a valuable and important service. Thank God they are there to help!

I’m sorry your husband has passed away. But I’m glad that he passed away in a comfortable environment at home with you and your dogs present. I’m hoping that my mother may also pass away peacefully.

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. I greatly appreciate your kind help!


rudiraven 10-03-2011 08:28 AM

Re: Stage 4 End of Life Issues
I'll be keeping you and your Mom in my thoughts and prayers. I check in every so often, so if you need anymore info or just want to talk I'll be here. :angel:

amycar0805 06-22-2012 12:41 AM

Re: Stage 4 End of Life Issues
My husband had stage 4 Esophageal Cancer, stage 4.
He had a prior stroke, so his case was different.
EVERYONE'S case is different. Age, physical health, all seem to play in treating this horrible disease.

My husband had chemo and radiation for customary time and things looked great.

He did however, find the CANCER came back to this lungs and took him in 6 weeks...

Ina nswer to your questions, it could be up to 5 years, IMO.
Hospice care can come to your home, if you so desire, if no treatment is started.
Again, every one's Cancer is different, so I would say it is hard telling how long Hospice would could come your home.
You could go the nursing route.

I pray your mom is still fighting

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