Hi I'm Mel and my uncle has stage 4 lung cancer. He is reali sick and it has spread to his bones doctor say dey can't do anything for him not even chom or radiation. So dey jus sent him home and we taking care of him, ryt new his mouth is sow and he can't swallow. It's so heart sow to see him, wat I don't understand is d doc never even tell us how long he has to live we jus live n fear every day cos not know what will happen next to him. Can anyone plz tell me more about dis plz cos he can't eat and d hospital can't help us, he is in a lot of pain. I need to know how long can someone in his case live and he can we easy his pain cos nw he day even want us to bath him. Plz help me understand dis
Thanks for posting a question. I am sorry to learn about your uncle’s situation. This must be very difficult for you and your family.
Even the most experienced doctor or nurse cannot say for sure for sure what will happen to your uncle. This is because the same kind of cancer can behave differently in individual people. As they cannot be certain about what will happen, doctors can sometimes be reluctant to say very much. But they should be able to give your uncle and his family a rough idea of how long he has to live. But there is always a chance that they could be wrong. Also, your uncle’s medical details are private and they won’t tell you much without his permission.
When someone has advanced cancer they usually experience a slow decline in health. This often involves becoming increasingly, tired, weak and sleepy. Then people lapse into unconsciousness and usually death is not far away. But there is always a chance of someone with advanced cancer becoming very ill suddenly, but this is probably less likely to happen. If you have not already seen it, you may find it useful to read some information which may help you understand what usually happens in circumstances like your uncle’s. You can view it on the Macmillan Cancer Support website here.
It is very sad to think that your uncle is in pain. It is difficult for me to offer you specific advice about what can be done about this, as I am not directly involved in his care and do not know what has already been tried for this. There may not be much that you can do yourself about the pain as your uncle may need to have strong painkillers which are only available via a doctor’s prescription. But you can try to make sure that he is taking painkillers he has regularly, as prescribed, as they work better when taken in this way. If he waits until he has very bad pain before taking them, painkillers can be less effective.
If your uncle has a specialist palliative care nurse involved in his care, do let them know that he is still in pain. They should be able to adjust or change his medication to keep him more comfortable. If he does not have one, then he should let his GP know about the pain. The GP may also be able to refer him to specialist palliative care nurse who can help manage your uncle’s symptoms. Palliative care teams are very experienced at managing the symptoms of advanced cancer. So do ask his GP about him being referred to such a team as hopefully they can help.
I can appreciate that living with the uncertainty must be very hard and I am sorry that I cannot be more specific. Do get back to us if you have any other questions. If you would like to telephone our freephone number is 0808 8004040. We are here from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm.
All the best,
Hi Jean thanks for responding to me.
At dis current stage my uncle is taking Morphin syrup but it does not help him. How ever for d pass 2 days he didn't not eat or drink anything. He only sleeps. Normally he will talk to us but he has nt spoke to us. He speech is very faint. I don't know what to do any more. I'm so scared. Don't know what to expect and wen too expect it.
Rely appreciate ur feed back
Thank you for your question.
Doctors and nurses understand that the friends and relatives close to a patient are important in supporting and caring for them To do this they often require information about the patient’s diagnosis, treatment, outlook and care. So, ideally there should be an discussion about the patient’s wishes with regards to who is told and how much they should be told. If the patient agrees this makes it much easier for everyone. Where possible this type of discussion should be early on when the person is reasonably well.
If a patient does not give consent then it can be very difficult to keep relatives informed. Health professionals might have a discussion with the patient to point out the disadvantages of not keeping people informed, but if the patient still refuses their confidential has to be respected.
When someone is unable to take part in any conversations about their illness doctors and nurses will speak with their next of kin or the person the patient has appointed as their representative, even if they have not had the opportunity to ask the patient about their wishes. But even very ill people are often able to make their wishes known and have the capacity to understand. So where possible, if they have not already been asked, they will be questioned about their wishes.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Jean, I read this when you posted it but didn't have the manners to thank you for taking the time to explain things to Thunderdog (and myself though I am not in immediate need of knowing this). I am sure you are very busy.
Thunderdog, I hope this helps you and maybe you have got some help from Macmillan. Not that you are obliged to share your info. with me! Thinking of you. Anne