Doctors Lounge - Oncology Answers
provided on www.doctorslounge.com is designed to support, not
replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site
visitor and his/her physician."
Back to Oncology Answers List
- Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:16 pm
My father-in-law was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer and went through chemo for probably two years or more. He actually went into remission during that time but it reappeared in his liver during that two years. He has since stopped treatments of any kind and that was about 5 months ago. I would like to know what are the outward signs that he is in the last stage or stages of his cancer? He has a family doctor trying to manage his pain but he has no tests to see if the cancer has spread. He doesn't want hospice so my husband and I are caring for him the best we can but it is getting increasingly difficult as he is becoming very absent minded and a little loopy. He is also very weak but insists on driving which scares my husband to death. He is taking Lortab for the pain and we originally thought that maybe the pain meds were causing him to "talk out of his head" but we are careful not to let him take to much so I don't believe that this is the cause. He has lost a lot of weight since discontinuing treatments but he drinks ensure everyday without fail. He has lost his appetite but eats at least once a day. It seems to upset his stomach and he gets very nauseous. He also takes phenergan and Cipro 500. He has a constant headache but he is having some teeth pulled in a few days and hopefully that will help with the headaches. He is on an antibiotoc from the dentist for the few days before the extraction. I just want to know what we should expect or an approximate on the stage that he is in.
| Dr. Tamer Fouad
- Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:21 am
I am sorry to hear about your father-in-law's condition. Where was his metastasis and how was it treated - only chemotherapy? Can you tell me which chemotherapy regimens he took?
We do not depend on symptoms to stage colon cancer. Rather, we tend to look for more objective evidence such as CT scan (most commonly used) when we suspect relapse.
I know this is a difficult situation, but with a lot of persuasion you may be able to convince him that there is always a risk that he loose all the good that he has achieved from his long course in chemotherapy. Tell him that any advice he gets from his doctor is subject to his consent. No one will force him to do anything, but neglecting himself is not the right thing to do.
I don't think he should be allowed to drive a car in this condition. He could harm someone else as well as himself.
Even if your father-in-law completely rejects the idea of following up with his doctor (that doesn't mean you should stop trying), you can always consult his doctor and ask him for advice.
Unfortunately, patients that go this course may end up requiring medical help at a late stage, when they basically are unable to resist attempts to do so. There is also very little that can be done for them at this stage.
Good luck and best wishes.