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Cancer

Masses or tumors show up instantly on body

01/15/2008

Question:

I have a friend that has been battling cancer for a year now. She has been diagnosed with 4th stage cancer and has cancer in both lungs, liver and other areas of her body. Approximately 3 weeks ago or a little more, the doctor sent her home and said there is nothing more that he can do for her. When she inquired about how long she had left and where the cancer was he responded, "I am not going to tell you where the cancer is and how long you have". His reason being was that she would then set her heart and mind on that amount of time and focus on that instead of spending time wiht her family. She seems to be at peace with his response and would rather not know. That was supposed to be her last and final appointment and hospice has taken over for her to die. My Question to you is: Can you take a guess or would you have any idea how much time she might have left????? She has also told me that she found two masses or hard areas on her body 6-7 days ago. what does this mean? I live in another state and need to go back home, but I don`t want to leave here prematurely. It is very difficult to make my decision given very little information. Another friend told me that the masses on the outside of her body was another indicator that she might only have two weeks left??? With then little information that I have given you, can you help me or give some helpful information about these masses.

Answer:

I am very sorry to learn of this unfortunate set of circumstances for your friend.

Based upon your note, you did not state whether or not this is lung or liver cancer. As such, it is very difficult for me to give you “exact” information.

Regardless, anything with “Stage IV” disease, especially if there are known masses you can feel under the skin, means that things are VERY advanced. You did not provide us with any other information in terms of her laboratory data, as you likely do not know that. In my best guess, with the limited amount of information, I would say your friend has weeks to live. Again, without more lab data to see how the liver and kidneys are working, I am limited in what I can say.

My best advice is to spend all the time you can with your friend as soon as possible, as we cannot predict what other things might happen to affect her mental status.

I am sorry and hope that you are able to spend quality time enjoying the limited amount your friend likely has.

Best regards.

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Response by:

Steven  M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS Steven M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS
Formerly
Professor of Surgery, Director of Liver Transplat and Hepatobiliary Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati