• What do you do when the cancer dr. says cannot do chemo anymore because of fluid retention? Should we get a second opinion?

    Asked by brachlefam on Friday, November 16, 2012

    What do you do when the cancer dr. says cannot do chemo anymore because of fluid retention? Should we get a second opinion?

    Chemo has reduced the size of my father in law's lung tumor, but fluid build up is so bad cancer dr. has said only hope is hospice and keep him comfortable. We are not ready to give up. Any advice?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Has he seen a doctor for treatment of the fluid retention? Is it peripheral edema or congestive heart failure? I think the key here is not so much getting a second opinion on whether to continue chemo, but rather to find out what if anything can be done about the fluid retention. It won't help to continue chemo, even if it is effective, if doing so causes him to die from heart failure.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I would find out what's causing the fluid retention and then see if it's something that can be treated. It's never a bad idea to get a second opinion.

      almost 4 years ago
    • tnblondee's Avatar

      Definitely get a second opinion. You wanna know you've exhausted ALL resources before giving up!

      almost 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Hello, my name is Carm and I am an oncology/end of life nurse, and that is such an excellent question to ask and one I hear so often. With that in mind, let me say that working both fields, I teeter delicately on the fence between treatment and end of life care because both offer so much however, to answer your question you need to first ask, what does this patient want to do? I can read from your post that you and others are not ready to give up, but what about the patient? This is his journey, so only he can make that decision. If he chooses to continue on the fight, then you seek a second opinion and preferably from a university hospital, only because they have a lot more options besides the standard regimens, like drug studies. This is his war and only he can say when it is over. If a doctor tells you that he cannot do anymore, that only means that at this point, this is how far he is willing to go, this doesn't mean the road ends, its just where he gets off. If he decides to give up the fight, then you seek a hospice and palliative organization that will enhance the quality of his life and possibly extend his timeline. As a nurse, my role is to support my patients, sometimes I might not agree with their choices, but I would never deny them the chance to make that choice. For caregivers, it is the same. You support their decisions because as long as they are making that decision, no answer could be wrong. If you cannot find a doctor who will continue with traditional therapies, there is one other option that is currently in trial but, this is an option of last resort because this particular physician can only take patients without any other options. If this is something you are interested in, you can write to me privately for more information. I do not work with this doctor, but I have sent patients to him and I do know of oncologists that have as well. He is trialing under the scrutiny of the FDA so everything is documented. In retrospect, speak with the patient and let him make the decision and then help him to achieve his goal, whether you agree with it or not. Best of luck to you, Carm.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar

      I'd like to offer a couple of things. First, getting a second opinion isn't a bad idea at all. It should give you clarity whether that it is in fact time for hospice or not. Have they put him on LASIK for the fluid retention? They did that for my grandma and it helped of course once she stopped the chemo the fluid retention went away on its own. Second, I don't know that I was ever ready to give up. When my grandma decided to stop treatment and go on hospice it was very hard to accept. But at that point she had no quality of life. The moment hospice and the comfort meds started she felt sooo much better. Her last three weeks were incredible. So, having said all that, I wish you luck and do ask yourself is he ready?

      almost 4 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar

      Ask the doctor about having a drain installed?

      almost 4 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar

      if the doctor is talking about a hospice,,i would most DEFINATLY get a second opinion!!!,,hey,,we all no how hard this is,,,keep fighting,,i do,,even when i want to give up,,i mean,,almost 2 years later,,and they are treating my cancer as a chronic illness,,,chemo every 3 weeks,,,pluse ,,the nueslasta,,the bone streangthener stuff,,,i think thats what its called,,my God,,its very painful,,ohhh well,,i am still here,,and the good days are about 50%,,and today i feel good,,i hope your father in law gets well,,,go make him laugh!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Lavonne's Avatar

      Carm Goodwill 1141...I am interested in the Dr info you listed below. Out of options for treatment for my sister in law and was wondering how to contact you privately for the info on the Dr. you refer too. Thanks

      almost 4 years ago
    • diovino's Avatar

      I can only tell you from my experience that I had fluid build up in my abdomen and have it drained twice. Once in nov 2012 and again7 weeks later on jan 9 2013. I don't know when the next time will be but my dr said it was part of course with this cancer. I always feel 100% better while they are actually doing the drain, and I leave the Hosp feeling so much better. I hope this helps feel free to email you need more info.

      almost 4 years ago

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