• My mom has stage 4 esophgeal cancer. She was diagnosed in may. She's 50 and never smoked once in her life. I need to talk to someone:(

    Asked by KaylaK on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    My mom has stage 4 esophgeal cancer. She was diagnosed in may. She's 50 and never smoked once in her life. I need to talk to someone:(

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • carm's Avatar

      Im sorry to hear about your mother, I can imagine that must be devastating. I am an oncology/end of life nurse and although I generally work with gyne cancers, I have had patients in end of life care with esophageal cancer, although not many. There are a lot of risk factors that could cause esophageal cancer. The risk does go up with age, and other risk factors are a history of long standing heartburn, or a disease called Barretts esophagitis in which acid reflux erodes or weakens the lining of the esophagus. Of course as you stated, tobacco, and alcohol as well; being overweight or a history of overeating. Eating processed meats also increase the risk and drinking very hot liquids frequently can increase the risk as well. Sometimes it can come from a workplace environment like working in a dry cleaner. Another risk factor is the Human Papilloma Virus, HPV can also cause esophageal cancer. These are some of the risk factors. The main thing now is to get a second opinion right up front to verify the diagnosis. Then, when your mom is given treatment options, take a few days to research these treatments. Reach out to patients on this website and ask her oncologist if he or she could supply you with the names and numbers of two patients in their practice with the same diagnosis so that your mom can ask them what their experience has been like under the direction of that oncologist. Remember that cancer is a chronic disease, it doesn't have to be a death sentence. There is no cure but you can learn, like diabetics do, to live with your disease, and still have quality of life. I hope this helps you and good luck to your mom.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar

      Hi. My grandma haS stage IV lung. I'm here if you want to talk...Mollie

      almost 9 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar

      Kayla- I'm sorry to hear about your mom. My husband recently passed away. He had a stage 4 esophageal cancer diagnosis. He fought it for 15 months. The chemo and radiation are tough, and he didn't ahve a great quality of life throughout that time, but it did give him more time.

      Please let me know if you have other questions. Going through this as a caregiver can be tough. It's important to have support.

      almost 9 years ago
    • rawrchiteuthis' Avatar

      Hi Kayla - I am sorry to hear about your mother. My father was also diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2008. I was surprised by his diagnosis as well, since he didn't smoke, but since learned that there are two different types of esophageal cancer - squamous cell and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell is the cancer that most smokers get, it affects the upper part of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma is related to acid reflux and Barrett's esophagus and is closer to the stomach.

      almost 9 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Do you have a Gilda's Club or Hope Club near you? They have special support groups for caregivers/family. You need people who will understand what you are going through, and this fraternity of cancer patients and family members is quite unique.

      Another thought might be a counselor or therapist. It's reasonable to have uncontrolled anger about the unfairness of your situation. Having a safe place to vent is very helpful. I know my counselor is very helpful - I recently spent an hour with him dropping the "f-bomb" about cancer because of my fury with what was happening to my friends. I'm not one to use that language, but there are some situations where no other words seem quite right....

      Hug her, love her, and yes, be angry. Life isn't fair. Cancer is a beast and does horrible things to wonderful people.

      almost 9 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Hi KaylaK, Best wishes to you, your mom and family. Your situation shows that cancer can strike anyone. My dad smoked like a chimney for the first part of his life, and has been affected by two different cancers for which smoking is a risk factor-- currently a stage IV pancreatobiliary cancer. Maybe your mom would have had to deal with health issues a lot sooner if she was a smoker. There are a lot of people out here and in your community who understand the shock, emotions, and the overwhelming thoughts that run through your mind. You might check with your mom's cancer center, or a local cancer center/hospital to see if there are any local support groups/social networks that reach out to families too.

      The American Cancer Society has a contact phone number or live chat for information http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/index Look on the right side of that page, about halfway down.

      The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health has a helpline for information 1-800-4-CANCER or an online chat also http://www.cancer.gov/ bottom of the page

      I am a caregiver for my dad. Try to take it one day at a time. I have never been closer to my dad than right now, and if you focus on living in the now, your mom and you can still have good days. It's hard to lose your health, and to watch someone go through illness when you're used to seeing them so strong, capable and healthy. And it can be hard to cope with the inevitable changes of life. The river takes you where and when the river flows no matter how hard you row the boat. So you learn to focus on what you do have, and the little things you can control.

      There are helpful publications and websites all over the internet. The amount of information can be overwhelming in itself. In the end, you follow your heart and gut, have a good cry, and do the best you can.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar

      Two zero nine nine one five seven three eight four if you want a phone buddy. I know it's sometimes easier to talk that way. They may block out the umber though. I'm sorry if that happens.

      almost 9 years ago

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