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my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

6 Dec 2017 10:06

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 

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

6 Dec 2017 16:42 in response to thunderdog
This sounds very distressing. If you cannot get to speak to your uncle's doctor (if you can get to speak to him/her ask all the questions to which you want answers - don't wait for him/her to volunteer the information) alternatively you could try ringing McMillan and tell them what you have explained here and they will be able to guide you hopefully. I have never been in your particular position but am sure it is all a strange and frightening new world. Don't delay - you need to know what is happening and what can be done as soon as possible. You may want to copy your post into the section headed "Ask the nurses" so they can advise you also. Sorry this is the best advice I can give but I think this is what I would do in your situation.

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

6 Dec 2017 19:49 in response to Annieliz

Thank you so much will do god bless u

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

7 Dec 2017 11:27 in response to thunderdog

Hello Mel,

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,



Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

7 Dec 2017 11:57 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean

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 


Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

7 Dec 2017 12:25 in response to thunderdog
Sorry to poke my nose in again. I understand the confidentiality issue but I am curious about how things are done when the patient appears to be near end of life and unable to comprehend or discuss his medical situation. I can imagine the family feel at a loss to know what has been happening. Thunderdog, if you want to let off steam about your worries feel free to contact me just to release the pressure on yourself. On the other hand, feel free not to contact me again if you feel you are getting things under control. My very best wishes for you and your family.

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

7 Dec 2017 15:09 in response to Annieliz

Hello Annieliz,

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.

Kind regards,


Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

8 Dec 2017 12:05 in response to CRUK Nurse Jean

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

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

17 Dec 2017 08:12 in response to thunderdog

Just wanted to say hello and hope that you are getting things under control with your uncle's illness.  I was thinking of you in the build-up to Christmas.  You don't have to reply - I bet you are busy.

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

18 Dec 2017 07:20 in response to Annieliz

Hi hun it saddens my heart to let u guys know my uncle pass away on Friday morning. My heart is broken but I know hw has no more pain and suffering. I will miss him dearly. Jus wana say thank u guys for caring and trying to help me. May my uncle soul RIP love u forever Brianna

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

18 Dec 2017 09:19 in response to thunderdog

Thank you for telling this to us.  I can understand you are both sad at his passing and at the same time pleased that he is no longer suffering.  I am glad we were able to be of some use to you.  Best wishes for Christmas. 

Re: my uncle has stage4 lung cancer

18 Dec 2017 09:21 in response to thunderdog

I'm so sorry to hear that your uncle passed away on Friday morning Brianna and on behalf of everyone here at Cancer Chat I would like to offer you our sincerest and heartfelt condolences.

We are here for you if you need us Brianna and our thoughts are with you at this time.

Kind regards, 

Steph, Cancer Chat Moderator