Small trial suggests the scans might help, but experts aren't so sure
by eddyb on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:11 PM
my best friend was diagnosed 12 months ago with cholangio carcinoma and given 3/6 months. It's stage 4, inoperable with a secondary tumour in liver of some 10cm in diameter. She has undergone chemo - gemcitabine and cisplatin which finished in April but is now getting very tired, rash and bloated stomach. Still eating well and managing to care for self. Can anyone suggest any treatment she can try as can no longer have chemo and told radiotherapy not an option. Also what are the final symptoms of this horrible disease?
by rosaflor on Wed Aug 25, 2010 03:56 AM
To eddyb: Final symptoms depend on where the tumor goes and what organ functions it affects. Because the liver is sort of wrapped around the gall bladder, by the time gb cancer is discovered it has quite often invaded the liver and of course can also have gone to other organs. My husband was dx'd in July 2009 and already had liver involvement. Chemotherapy was not an option because of his age and heart condition and two radioembolizations were unsuccessful in inhibiting tumor growth; he died in July 2010. We expected that he would have extreme pain, jaundice, and nausea and vomiting: he had none of these. Had very little pain, no nausea, never threw up, and never became jaundiced. The cancer just seemed mostly to break down his resistance, and his heart condition became worse. He was most troubled by opportunistic infections (various infections that his body couldn't fight because his immune system was compromised)---ran a low-grade fever for weeks and had urinary tract, throat, and mouth infections. Became gradually very exhausted and weak. Lost his appetite and finally stopped eating. As the end approached he slept most of the time. He had an annoying but nonproductive cough and we thought tumor was probably in his lung but Hospice doesn't do tests so we never were sure. If your friend is not seeking further treatment options she would do well to get on Hospice as soon as possible. Medical staff will come to her home and all drugs and equipment will be delivered to her home; the object of Hospice is to make the end of life as easy as possible. Hospice nurses are very skilled at relieving discomfort of all kinds and other staff (social workers, chaplains) offer support and many kinds of help. Best wishes to your friend. And also to you, who will be supporting her.
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