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Palliative Chemotherapy - your thoughts?

(106 Posts)
gangy5 Sun 12-Nov-23 12:22:06

Have any of you come across this and what are your thoughts on this? I have a friend at the mo who has pancreatic cancer and has had this treatment offered to her. From personal experience I don't feel it is ever appropriate in this situation and is simply adding to the pain already being suffered.

Primrose53 Sun 12-Nov-23 13:02:14

I know somebody who is currently refusing any treatment. She says she just wants to enjoy a last Christmas visiting her family. I can’t say I blame her to be honest. She is 80 and has had some surgery but wants no more.

I have lost 3 friends to pancreatic cancer and it is usually 3 months without treatment.

Grandmabatty Sun 12-Nov-23 13:12:06

My friend refused this because it would only have given her a matter of months. She'd already had a colostomy and she reckoned that was enough to deal with. Without chemo she died within two months.

DamaskRose Sun 12-Nov-23 13:16:00

I have no experience, personal or secondhand, of this but I agree with the two previous posters …

MerylStreep Sun 12-Nov-23 13:20:21

My sister lived for 3 years after stopping chemotherapy.

Charleygirl5 Sun 12-Nov-23 13:21:56

Pancreatic cancer killed my MiL and she refused palliative care. It all happened so quickly that she was dead within a few weeks of diagnosis.

I personally would refuse because the side effects of chemo can be horrendous.

BlueBelle Sun 12-Nov-23 13:31:13

I think we have to accept we can’t last for ever and if the treatment was going to be given for just a few months extra then no 5 years yes but 12 months or less no

dogsmother Sun 12-Nov-23 13:39:58

It’s a tough call, you can’t stop it but only delay the inevitable at quite a miserable cost. I know I’ve seen enough to not want the chemo ……but there may be reasons for others doing it.

PamelaJ1 Sun 12-Nov-23 13:44:33

I’ve never heard of palliative chemotherapy? Is it a different to the curing kind?

Cabowich Sun 12-Nov-23 13:44:36

I think it should be up to the individual. I would refuse it myself, and just ask for tons of pain relief instead.

But some people want to eke out their last few months of life, perhaps to say goodbye, perhaps just to put off the inevitable.

Wendy Richard was offered palliative chemo and took it.

JaneJudge Sun 12-Nov-23 13:46:59

I suppose none of us know how we would react and if it offered it is down to individual choice

Theexwife Sun 12-Nov-23 14:25:51

Some want to live as long as possible, I have an aunt that would like to not have anymore treatment but my uncle wants her to keep going so she puts herself through it for him.

Grannynannywanny Sun 12-Nov-23 14:39:15

Palliative chemotherapy can ease pain by partially shrinking a tumour and relieving pressure on other organs. Although it mightn’t prolong the patient’s life it can improve the quality of their remaining life by easing distressing symptoms.

SusieB50 Sun 12-Nov-23 14:40:09

My DH died from pancreatic and liver cancer , he was offered palliative chemotherapy but chose not to and we thought he would have 2-3 months to be with the family . He died within 3 weeks sadly, but he did have that precious time with us at home without the trauma of chemotherapy. It’s a difficult choice and I fully understand anyone wanting to hold on as long as possible, but it was the best choice for DH .

LOUISA1523 Sun 12-Nov-23 14:42:08

Palliative chemo can improve quality of life for the last months....and relieve pain ...not sure the understanding here around chemo....not all chemo is horrendous .....they won't go in with the big guns ....side effects can be minimal ....its a balance ....definitely personal choice ....but until you are walking in those shoes as a palliative patient.... you don't really know what you would choose

Whiff Sun 12-Nov-23 14:59:34

My husband had grade 4 malignant melanoma in 2001 and from diagnosis and cancer removed we knew he wouldn't live 5 years. October 2003 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer 6 tumours. He had palliative chemo every 3 weeks he only had 2 side effects apart from being tired but that was due to the cancer and agonising pain. He lost his sense of taste and became impotent . 2 things he didn't want to happen. But he had set himself a goal to reach his 47th birthday in February. He collapsed the week before and had his birthday in hospital the day after he was given 5 weeks. Because of needing oxygen he came home on the Wednesday . He died on the Friday 4 days after his birthday. He died at home with me and the children. Even on full oxygen he couldn't breath as he had 3 tumours in his right lung,one in his chest and 2 in the brain by optical nerve he was going blind. I had to tell he to stop we would be ok. He died few minutes later. He was 47, I was 45 and our children 20 and 16. He got his wish and got to his birthday but it cost him a lot in pain which made him scream into a pillow until the morphine kicked in.

The only dose of morphine that would have stopped his pain was a dose that would have killed him .

After we knew he wouldn't live 5 years he didn't want anyone but me and the kids he wouldn't live. As he didn't want anyone to treat him differently. Or in his words dead man walking . Unfortunately when we had to tell people he was terminal that's what happened so he cut them out of his life.

If my husband had wanted to died I would have gladly given him an overdose . But it's only the person with cancer who decides what they want in the way of treatment . It's their life and their body. No one has the right to decide for them.

But whatever the person decides their loved ones must support them whether they agree to their choice or not.

seadragon Sun 12-Nov-23 15:03:56

My dad accepted palliative treatment which is different from ongoing active treatment aimed at a possible cure. It meant that he could come home from England to us in Scotland for his last few months and even managed a hill walk with an old friend who had travelled all the way from the North of England to see him the weekend before he died. My mum refused any suggestion that she may have cancer - she did - and/or might need treatment for it as she was already frail after surviving DVT's in both legs.... She had achieved a long held dream of visiting New Zealand, the home of a man who had asked her to marry him the week before he was killed in WW11.... She met all his relatives, who were delighted to learn he had wanted to marry her. They invited her to stay with them and gave a party for her with all his friends. They also gave her his family tree which showed a strong link with Morayshire and Orkney which are significant places for us too...! When it was clear that, although brilliant NHS care had saved her legs, she would not recover her independence, she died suddenly within 6 months of her NZ trip. I think I would accept palliative care if it would improve the quality of my last few months but otherwise not 'not keep alive' ....

Oldbat1 Sun 12-Nov-23 17:27:12

My dh is on the palliative chemo route. It means he has incurable cancer. He has been on palliative chemo since the day of first lockdown - so three years plus. He is currently having a break from gruelling chemo but recent scan and blood results show cancer growing so oncologist advice is to restart. DH has had bowel cancer for 10yrs with a few operations and chemo originally with a hope of a cure. Now the cancer is in bowel with lungs and liver metasteses. Inoperable. Pancreatic cancer patients sadly tend not to be so “lucky” in gaining that much more time if on chemo. Personally i dont think i could cope with the chemo regime

Georgesgran Sun 12-Nov-23 19:50:19

DH accepted palliative care, including chemo by mouth and was told it would continue indefinitely, as more new products/treatments came to market.
He had lymphoma (blood cancer) which suddenly and unexpectedly got into his spinal cord and brain, and for which there was nothing that could be done.
As LOUISA says, it’s a personal decision and until we’ve walked in those shoes …..

Iam64 Sun 12-Nov-23 19:58:11

My husband had palliative infusions. They did shrink or stop the metastasised cancers. The radiotherapy for brain mets shrank them but destroyed his carotid arteries. He lived for 6 months post devastating diagnosis. The infusions were brutal. If I’m ever in a similar position I doubt I’ll accept palliative care

Lomo123 Sun 12-Nov-23 20:08:27

My neighbour had an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was offered this and refused it. She had two little girls and said she didn't want it dragged out to never recover. She was only 39.

PamelaJ1 Sun 12-Nov-23 20:39:35

Thank you to those of you who explained about palliative chemo.
It must always be an individual choice and must be so difficult to come to a decision.

Ali23 Sun 12-Nov-23 21:14:22

My dear friend had an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer and opted for palliative chemotherapy.
It was really tough and she suffered a stroke. But she was desperate to live those extra couple of months, so that she could die knowing she had done all that she could for her (adult) daughters.
Her widower is on a much longer term form of palliative treatment and has outlived his prognosis and is doing well.

BigBertha1 Mon 13-Nov-23 06:53:21

My lovely son in law died from pancreatic cancer four years ago. He was offered palliative chemo but refused as his prognosis was so poor. He died in 8 weeks from playing squash the day he got the diagnosis to a pr

BigBertha1 Mon 13-Nov-23 06:54:08

Peaceful death in hospital.