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Esophageal Cancer

Mum with Esophageal Cancer Stage IV

11/25/2009

Question:

Hello, My mum has stage IV esophageal cancer. Her prognosis has been suggested as 1 year. She has tumour on the outside of her esophagus and has a stent in place to aid her eating. She has a small lesion on her liver and it has spread to her lymph nodes. The docotors are extremely negative and don`t give any amount of hope, I understand why they do this to ensure we are realsitic but at the same time because of what they have said she has given up and is not trying to eat better. Is this usual, should they even be giving a time span? She has had 2 rounds of chemo but has reacted very badly to them. We are awaiting result of a first scan to observe the effects on the tumours. She has been told her bad reaction to the chemo is not common and she is a special case, however I believe this to be untrue as I have read lots of cases of people reacting badly to chemo. My question is what exactly will she die of so I can preapre myself. Will her major organs just break down or will it be something else. Also what do we look for when she is dying is there any tell tale signs that she is on her way out. She is pretty weak and tired already due to the lack of nutrition and the chemo so what can I expect her to die of?

Answer:

Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately I am unable to address each case individually and most of these questions can be best answered by the physicians taking care of her. I hope that they can have this discussion with her. 

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Response by:

Susan  Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of
Thoracic Surgery
Molecular, Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University