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My mum was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the lung with secondaries in her kidney and liver. She died 6 days after diagnosis. She had no symptoms until she had trouble breathing, had back pain and a pain in her head/face 2 or 3 weeks prior to diagnosis. Initially, she was treated for a chest infection.
My mum didn't smoke, she didn't drink, she ate healthily bar from some snacks that she enjoyed, she walked a lot, and had only just turned 60, she worked hard, but wasn't stressed and had just retired, she was hardly ever ill. Her medical history was sparse.
I can't understand how she got this cancer, or how it took her life so suddenly after being diagnosed and having had no symptoms for more than a month... Please can you help me to understand?
Thanks for getting in touch with us and welcome to our Online Community,
Firstly, we would like to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family at this time.
Losing someone you love so quickly, is devastating and nothing can prepare you for what happened. It’s understandable why you’ve got lots of questions going around in your head, that you want an answer to.
Sadly, we don’t know the answer to why some people get cancer and others don’t. What we do know is that there are some things that can increase someone’s risk of developing a lung cancer. However, there are many people who lead a healthy life and unfortunately still get lung cancer.
It’s difficult to say why your mum never had any symptoms until her cancer had spread. But, sometimes symptoms can be subtle and can be often due to other none cancer conditions too. Sometimes people don’t really notice that their pains are getting worse as they can be gradually getting worse over a period.
For some by the time their cancer is diagnosed it has spread to other areas of the body and it has started to affect the way that the body works. This can make it difficult when someone develops an infection for the body to recover.
To help you to get a better understanding of what happened to your mum, if she died in the hospital you could ask to make an appointment to speak to the doctors. They will be able to explain in more detail what happened to your mum.
You can also make an appointment with your mum’s GP as they will be able to give you more information.
People may find different types of support helpful. It’s important that you get support and can talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
If you think it would be helpful to do, we have a supportive group that supports each other when they have lost someone that they love you can join. There is nothing quite like the support that you can get from others who know what it’s like.
You can also give our Support Line a call on 0808-808-0000 and talk to us. Our lines are open 7 days a week from 8am till 8pm.
Best wishes and take care.
Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.
Thank you, Ellen. This is really helpful. I will look into the links you've added to the message.
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