• what to do if treatments options are denied due to age and prexisting conditions

    Asked by terry5960 on Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    what to do if treatments options are denied due to age and prexisting conditions

    was told lungs would kill before tumor did and wasn't healthy enough for surgery even though he agreed that if he were to die on table it would be worth trying

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Hi Terry: Based on what you've written, I am wondering if you've gotten a second or even third opinion? I always feel like I'm being unfaithful to my regular docs whenever I get a second opinion, but w/cancer, it's different. There are so many aspects to having cancer that make the patient feel like everything is out of his/her control. For that reason, I think it's very important to listen to your team of doctors, yet still be the one who makes the final decisions on treatment. Good luck to you and your family in this difficult situation...

      over 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Get a second opinion, maybe a third and a fourth from a top specialist in your cancer

      over 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I agree with the other answers, I would talk to as many doctors as I could to get. After being misdiagnosed as many times as I have in my life, I have not problem asking for more opinions. Tracy

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      You can certainly get additional opinions, but you should also be prepared at some point to accept the professional opinions you are getting. A physician's credo is "first do no harm" and a surgeon who operates knowing the risks out way the benefits can lose his license. Another way to state it is that, "given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good". It reminds the physician and other health care providers that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.

      over 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Hello, I am an oncology nurse, and while I agree with others that it is always prudent to get a second opinion, it is inherently dangerous to perform surgery on some patients with relative co-morbidities at an advanced age. Reading your bio, I noticed that this patient is 86 years old and that is a risk factor that has to be considered. I do not know if other therapies were offered like medical or radiotherapy management, but I can see where the trauma of opening someone in this condition is dangerous. While the patient seems ready to accept the risk of death on the table, the surgeon clearly does not, and that surgeon would have to live with the consequences of that decision should the results be one that ceases a life. Seek a second opinion, and if it is not possible and treatment options are slim, consider palliative care where the goal is to extend life without a cure, but where comfort is paramount. There is no life expectancy for palliative treatment, it is covered 100% by medicare, and you can receive palliative care while getting curative care, and is available to these patients for years. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi terry5960,

      No knowing anything about the person involved, I can say with all honesty that there are times (I know from my late Mom) when a person is too elderly and frail for surgery and if they have other medical issues (comorbidity) it just makes it all the more risky.

      I realize you're the caregiver for your dad, but his dying on the table with the conditions you mention might open the surgeon up for a lawsuit (I'm the ex-wife of a physician as well as a Medical Librarian, so I know first hand). No doc wants that!

      What I do recommend is that you get in touch immediately with CancerCare so that you can get some counseling (they offer it for caregivers as well as patients) to deal with all of the issues you have. It's not like "regular therapy". The social workers there deal exclusively with issues related to cancer - all kinds in all stages.

      You can seek a second opinion to see if there's anyone willing to do this.

      I hope CancerCare is helpful to you and your father.

      Best wishes,

      over 4 years ago

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