• Metastasis to the bones

    Asked by catwmn63 on Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Metastasis to the bones

    My husband was first Dx with pancreatic cancer, then bile duct and then liver. Chemo for about 8 months lowered his tumor marker numbers to an all time low of 59 this summer (from 8000). Late this summer, metastasis to his femur and spine was recognized on a scan. About 3 weeks ago, he had radiation on the femur. The last day of radiation, he was in so much pain I took him to the ER. The admitted him for observation and to administer morphine. At the follow up appointment 4 days later, we found out that his tumor marker numbers are now over 2000 and he has multiple lesions in his bones. He is on percocet (sp?) for continued sever pain and does not want chemotherapy until after Thanksgiving. I respect his decision, but we don't know what to expect. Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Hi catwmn63. My heart goes out to you and your husband. That looks awful. Have you thought about seeing a palliative care specialist to control pain and help with comfort? I know that when my dad was with his regular oncologist, they were not as good at taking care of the pain as later when he was in hospice. His pain went from around a 7 to usually 4 or less on a scale of 1-10. I don't think he had the bone mets though. Palliative care can continue while you're receiving treatment, while hospice care is when you've stopped treatment of the disease and focus on comfort and end-of-life care.

      My dad had pancreatic cancer that spread to his liver. Everyone is different, but for him, he gradually lost a lot of strength, started to have more frequent falls and decreased mobility, and had the symptoms of liver failure. There were a lot of other symptoms that we managed with the help of hospice as they came up. If he's going to stop treatment altogether, I recommend going with hospice as early as possible. You can also start hospice and if you decide to start treatment at a later time, stop hospice and return to treatment. Ask the doctor about it.

      over 6 years ago
    • catwmn63's Avatar

      Thank you so much for the information and quick feedback! His oncologist had mentioned a morphine patch. Thank you also for the information on palliative care. Good to know!

      over 6 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      What worked for dad was extended release morphine twice a day, and immediate release morphine for breakthrough pain. Over time, they increased the dose. With hospice, there was a nurse on call 24 hours a day, and two home visits a week. If he needed something extra for pain, he got it. Each time they came in, they would ask how his pain was on a scale of 1-10, where it was located, and so on. They asked what's comfortable or tolerable for him. Any time he said the pain was above a 4, they were right on it.


      I would add that with morphine, we also managed constipation that can come along with it, using Miralax and a store brand version of Senokot every day.

      over 6 years ago

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