Lost my mother to her osesophagus cancer returning

Hello everybody,

I lost my elderly mother to oseophagus cancer in March. She had been given the all clear only early last year. She seemed to be returning to her previous weight, health, and activity levels by the summer. We were concerned that the hospital said she didn't need any scans 'unless the symptoms came back'. In September she went to a local pharmacy for a Covid booster, 7 days after her flu jab. The pharmacy wrongly gave her another flu jab. She then had her Covid booster the same day. Very soon after that, she developed a throaty voice and started losing her appetite again. She was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day for shingles, and a month later they finally did a scan and saw that not only had the cancer come back, it had spread to her liver and was thus terminal at her age.

I'm finding things very difficult. I want to make a complaint about the pharmacy that gave my mum the flub jab instead of a covid booster. Does anyone have any experience with this. Is it possible that it caused the cancer to return?

  • Hi, I don’t think the flu jab had anything to do with your mum’s cancer returning. My brother too also was given an all clear for the same cancer but sadly within a few months it came back with a vengeance under similar circumstances. The only thing I feel to blame is the disease itself. 

  • I have no qualification to answer, but cannot imagine there was any connection between he jabs and the cancer. The time scale also miitates any  connection. Any regrowth would have been over months.

  • Hi Harmony Row

    I am sorry to read this, it must be extremely difficult for you to have lost your elderly mother to OC after she had been given the all clear last year.   OC is a type of cancer that is often difficult to detect, it is viscous and  unforgiving and once it starts to spread it seems to continue though the system.  

    My  husband became very ill over a course of a few weeks in April 2020, by the beginning of May he was finding it hard to swallow and in some terrible pain, by the time he was diagnosed his OC had, like your Mum's already spread to his liver, but also to his lungs, as well as the lymph nodes.  Shingles is a particularly viscous illness also, which would have made Mum feel extremely run down, and as OC is a fast mover, its return could have been at any point from when she returned to hospital, but I imagine Mum's blood results would have set off alarm bells had there been anything suspected when she first went into hospital.....  these are only my thoughts, but based on all of that, I like some others here, do not feel that the flu jab would have added to Mum's condition. 

    It is so difficult coming to terms with the loss of a parent, and I do hope you have support around you at this time. 


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  • Hi Lowedal, I was told last week my dad has oesophageal cancer which has spread to the liver, lung, kidney and lymph nodes. Am trying to get some kind of idea of how long he’s got left but not getting much luck in the hospital .. am I looking at weeks or months? I am preparing for the worst - he is very frail, lost a lot of weight, they put in a stent a few days ago, in hospital for the past two weeks as he collapsed in the supermarket, sleeping a lot, not really eating anything .. 

  • Hi Binge

    I am so sorry to read about your Dad, this must be difficult for all of you.   I really can't answer your question on time, simply because there are so many determining factors and I also am not a doctor.  

    All I can say is when I was told my Husband was very ill and that he needed to go an (basically) put his house in order, I thought we were looking at weeks, that was two years ago.. There is no knowing, but in many ways what it taught me was to focus on the now, live what life there is in this moment, say anything and everything you want to say and make memories.. 

    I know that this may not be something you can do with Dad in his current condition, but even when he is sleeping you can talk to him, and hold on to hope that he is recovering.  I don't know how old your dad is, or if there is any other circumstances in his medical history, but I do wish him well and I send you strength for the coming days 


    Call the helpline for free on 08088080000, 8am to 8pm everyday.
    Tomorrow is not promised but it always has potential. Aim for your potential!