sad news from family member

Nurses General Nursing


A member of my family just had surgery for very advanced bowel cancer. They are only 40 years old. They are in the medical field and are very familiar with this kind of cancer and it's outcomes. Right now they say due to the fact that they have never seen anyone with this type of cancer this advance benefit from treatment they are going to refuse any further treatment. Many times I have seen elderly patients with this type of cancer go through chemo treatment and I have also thought it did not help much. However, I do not have much experience with 40 year olds with this diagnosis. Is there anyone with more oncology experience than I. Actually the person I am talking about knows much more about the subject than I do.


6,011 Posts


I used to do oncology back in the 70's. Nothing is the same now.

My dear friend J. 's husband also had colon cancer. He was older than your relative by about 15 years, but otherwise similar. He and J. chose to try for the treatment. He lived about 5 years beyond the diagnosis.

In that 5 years he saw his daughter (actually J's daughter but "his" in his heart) graduate with honors from college. His son from his first marriage give him another grandchild. He and J. took several outings to Cherokee and Biloxi for a bit of gambling, not a lot of money but a lot of fun.

S. has passed away now. He died in his sleep. But by not refusing treatment, he gave his family not grief but excellent memories.

aimeee, BSN, RN

932 Posts

Oramar-I'm sorry to hear your family member is facing this difficult situation. If this person is, as you say, in the medical field and very familiar with this type of cancer, then I would think that they have thought about this very hard already. Although choosing not to pursue further treatment may seem like giving up, you may have to look at it another way. Your relative is choosing instead to make the most of the time that is left. Unemcumbered by the side effects of chemo, they he or she may be able to do more, experience more, and generally have a higher quality of life. Some people are very fatalistic and feel that God will choose the hour they leave this earth, whether they have chemotherapy or not.

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