Stage 4 Diagnosis

Hi, 

My mum was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer on Wednesday and it has spread to her liver and some lymph nodes. We have been told that the hospital can’t treat the cancer and she won’t be seen by an oncologist. Yesterday, she had a flexible sigmoid oscopy? We are not quite sure why, if there is no treatment available to her. 
I would just appreciate any help and advice on what we can do as a family in any area to support her as much as we can. 
Thank you in advance for any help that you can give.

  • Hi 

    Welcome to the forum . I am really sorry to hear about your mum . It’s very difficult to hear such information. You might like to chat this through with our helpline staff 0808 808 0000. My understanding is everyone is entitled to a second opinion and if she felt it was beneficial she could access a consultation through the NHS ,

    The NHS most certainly does have treatment options for stage 4 patients , the only time when that becomes difficult if they feel the patient is too frail to endure  chemotherapy and they have reached a tipping point where the treatment would be too much of an assault on their body and its kinder to look at caring for the person and family and supporting them through a difficult time . If that was the case the Multi disciplinary meeting would have reviewed the patients scans and seen the extent of the disease . 

    How is your mum’s general health ? But a second opinion is very much available and can often either help to clarify and understand the situation or indeed open up other avenues if appropriate.

    Take care ,

    Court 

  • Dear Court, 

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply to my post. My mum has heart failure too so we were told that treatment would be too much for her and would also only  extend her life by a few weeks. 
    Today, my mum was discharged from hospital and we were informed that they may now consider treatment depending on the results of the biopsy. 
    Mum has had no real emotional support since the diagnosis and I just wonder what the protocol is when someone is informed they have stage 4 cancer? Can mum have access to any treatments for well-being? Access to a district nurse? We have been left in the dark about what happens next. 
    Thank you.

  • Hi 

    Has your mum had a cardiologist review her case ? They sometimes get involved to provide their clinical opinion on suitability of treatment . 
    To be honest my mum just really had us straight after diagnosis but was going on to treatment so I am not sure what might happen but our helpline staff have Macmillan nurses who have lots of experience and could help . 0808 808 0000. 
    Palliative care teams do become involved and have nurses that visit within her home and guide people through the nursing aspects . 
    https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/treatment/if-you-have-an-advanced-cancer/end-of-life/being-cared-for-at-home

    I have linked in a booklet on palliative care and what to expect , however if she goes for treatment she would probably remain under their care . They meet the patient before each cycle of treatment and check bloods etc and how it is being tolerated . 
    Sounds a bit more encouraging if they think some treatment might be possible . 

    Take care ,

    Court 

  • I should also say I hope your mum is getting on ok at home . Always good to get onto your own bed !

    Send her our love ,

    Court