Head and neck cancer

A place for people affected by head and neck cancers, including oral, throat , larynx (voice box), salivary glands, middle ear, and sinus and nasopharyngeal cancer. Support one another, ask questions, and share experiences.

pleural effusion, help needed

burvill76
Posted by

Hi there
My partner (he's 51) has acinic cell carcinoma of the palate which is spreading aggresively in his lungs (he had the primary site and some lymph nodes removed in Feb this year and was told not to worry as this is an indolent cancer and he'd probably have 15 years before his lung mets became symptomatic??!)
He has confirmed pleural effusion and his lung capacity is less than 50%. His symptoms of bereathlessness came on over 3 days, from being not at all breathless to breathless on walking to the bathroom etc.
One of the mets is pushing on his right atrium and trebled in size to over 5cm in 3 months.
He's had pretty terrible treatment in hospital as he's always required to stay on trauma and medical wards and not oncology wards. (Rare head and neck cancers have this problem I guess?) He was told that the chest drain he required could not be done at home as the risks were too great, so he needs to stay in hosp. The drain would take 72hours, with associated risks of infection and lung collapse. He has been told by different chest nurses (the doctors were 'too busy' to talk to him) that it will almost certainly (95%) refill quickly and that it will certainly refill over a month or so.
He has declined the procedure and is learning how to retrain his thought patterns into slowmotion. He is very depressed and will only see me and wont leave the house (we're working on that though and he recognise he needs to get out at least into the garden)
We are looking at alternative therapies to help his natural death become less strenuous. So far we are using Bach Flower Remedies and I think they are helping his mental health (although everyhour is different) and they should help with some of the fluid retention, as are the diuretics and steroids.
If anyone reads this and can think of any other non invasive procedures we can try for symptom relief, please could you let us know as our referal to Marie Curie is not until the 12th July
Any suggestions will be greatly accepted
Thank you in advance
Sarah x