Elderly mum

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Hi all, 

My mum aged 84, had been diagnosed with R side bowel cancer T3  N2, and some tiny lesions in her liver. We are waiting for a colonoscopy and liver scan to determine treatment. However, the consultant pointed out the difficulties of surgery for an 84 yo albeit a fit one, and of recovery. He said people can go downhill fast at this age following surgery.Also, if it has spread to her liver, what options are there?  I wondered if anyone had any experience or advice for an elderly person facing this. 
Mum is not ready to give up and she has not really had any symptoms apart from anaemia and her bowel is so far working normally. 
I want to be prepared with the right questions to ask- eg/ if they don’t want to operate what is the chance of her bowel becoming blocked and then what? What type of palliative treatment could they offer? 

  • Hi  

    The NHS works on a fitness for surgery approach but to be honest my mum had a larger liver resection at 69 and it was quite a lot to recover from . However at 80-81 she was fit enough for some targeted intravenous therapy . She was able to access Cetuximab as a single agent due to covid rules as we wanted to balance out her quality of life with treatment. She managed ok but I did have my moments When I wondered should we keep going .

    However it did a good job . My mum has had previous treatments so knew the process and what she was signing up to but she also knew she could stop them at any point .

    Our helpline staff have nurses you could chat this through with .0808 808 0000

    Her oncologist should be able to tell you which chemo options are possible and what the side effects are . My mum was offered one but we selected not to . I can’t remember if it was a full dose or a reduced dose . 

    All the very best .

    Take care ,


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  • Thanks for your reply. 
    It’s reassuring to hear your experiences.