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Nidhi asked...

My father is suffering from lung cancer.

Tags: Cancer

My father is suffering from lung cancer(squamous type) in advance stage, pallative chemotherapy and radiation therapy was given and finished in dec'12. After that the cancer has spread in spinal cord, now he is bed ridden having bed sore in peri anal area and develop respiratory distress. Please tell now what can i do for my dad for his survival.

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The answer

At this stage, given the degree to which the disease has spread, it is unlikely that any treatment will make a significant difference to how long he will survive. However, there is a huge amount that can be done to improve his quality of life in the time he has left. While I have no doubt it will be difficult, it is absolutely essential to know what he wants if you are really going to be able to help him. For instance, about 80% of people want to die at home, but only about 20% of people do. Yet with careful planning, you and he can access a huge variety of services which will help him to remain comfortable at home for as long as he wants. Some people do not want to go into hospital, but would be happy to go into a hospice, which is set up purely to help people who have incurable conditions. They are absolutely not places people go to ‘just to die’ – he might be able to go in to get certain symptoms under control and then come home again. Your father should have been referred to a specialist palliative care nurse attached to a local hospice. They can help you with many of these emotionally challenging discussions, as well as offering invaluable help and practical support. Talk to them about a joint visit where you can all have an open discussion about your father’s wishes. If he hasn’t been referred yet, speak to your GP or specialist team.

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