Stage 4 bowel cancer

New Contributor

Stage 4 bowel cancer

My Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years ago and it had gone to the lymph. A year later it grew in his lung. The oncologist said that if it occurred in a second organ he would not be able to cure it. Oxaliplatin worked well on his lungs, the cancer cleared and so they stopped his chemo to give him a break. The cancer grew again in his lungs within a few months and they resumed Oxaliplatin. He recently had a clear scan but they have stopped the Oxaliplatin again saying that it his body cannot take it anymore. He thinks the clean scan means he has been cured of cancer. In the last few months his oncologist has retired and he has been given a new one who he has seen twice. On Tuesday I will meet this one for the first time. I privately asked the former oncologist how long my Dad might have to live and he told me around 12 months. It has been 7 months since that conversation. I'm not sure if my father has ever asked that question. Usually he insists on seeing the oncologist and having chemo on his own. He has been very stoic throughout this whole process and is convinced he has 8 years to go. While I respect his positive outlook I also wish he would be a bit more realistic about whats happening to him and help me put some plans in place for the family after he goes. I also want to make sure he is informed so that he can use his time wisely. I want to ask the new oncologist about his prognosis. Is it fair to do that in front of him?

Super Contributor

Re: Stage 4 bowel cancer

Hi JJ1,

I'm very sorry to hear about your Dad and what he's going through.

I say this as a patient, but also as the son of a father who died of bowel cancer.

I think a lot of what you are describing could be a coping mechanisim. It can be very difficult to accept that the end of your life is rapidly approaching, especially if there are many things that you have not completed that you wanted to.

Dealing with the fact that the end of your life is rapidly approaching can be very confronting.


Determining how long one has left to live is, I think, an educated guess.

My Dad wasn't given very long to live, but extended that many times over.


As to whether it is fair to your father to ask the oncologist about life expectancy, perhaps discuss with your Dad that you would like to discuss this with the oncologist with him. Check with him so that he doesn't get any rude surprises during the meeting.


Best of luck JJ1.



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