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What is Stage 4 Liver Cancer

SaveUncle
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2010

Could someone explain what it means to be in Stage 4 of Liver Cancer and what the odds of survival are? Thanks.

stage4liver
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2010

Sorry you have to be going through this. Cancer is staged by how far advanced it is with stage 4 being the worst. Stage four can mean either that it has spread to another part of the body or you can also be stage 4 based on tumor load or size of the tumors. As far as prognosis unfortunately with primary liver cancer - HCC the prognosis typically isnt good. You can find all kinds of dismal stats all over the internet which i've already read and have come to the conclusion that they're world wide stats and I'm my own case and not the same as all the masses grouped together.

I'm 41 years old and stage 4 primary liver cancer (no cirhossis, no hepatitis) diagnosed March 2010. I havent had any health problems in my life other than an occasional cold or flu. I've also been through 3 hospitals in the few months since my diagnosis. Diagnosed in one but they werent qualified to do the resection. Sent to the second local hospital for resection which they did a great job on but told me about a year to live and I was no longer curable. Decided I didnt like that answer and found a group that specializes in HCC at Sloan Kettering in NYC and have been there since. They have been more positive and also havent date stamped me, in their words we dont have a crystal ball to look in so we cant tell you that. I've also found out since there are a lot of great hospitals around the country that specialize in HCC and I would suggest seeking one of them out for your uncle. HCC is an aggressive disease with the average life span (here's the doom and gloom numbers you were looking for) of 4-6months to 2 years from diagnosis for someone stage 4 (those are figures from the internet, I'm not buying into them and neither should you).

Look into alternate therapies in conjunction to the conventional treatment. I've changed a ton of lifestyle habits mainly my eating habits to; fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean meats fish, turkey, chicken and low sugar, low salt, and no or as little as possible processed foods. Prayer, God works in mysterious ways! Its also been suggested to me by one of the hospitals to take Maitake Mushroom extract in liquid form as it helps promote a healthy immune system and also has cancer fighting properties. Attitude also plays a factor so i took a F*@k cancer attitude and took my life back even bought the te-shirt. I found when first diagnosed that the cancer not only was consuming my body but it also started to consume my mind. Everyone needs to break that cycle and take their mind and life back as much as possible!! It really does help. I know I could be dead in the next few months but I also know that I can fight it too and live my life and maybe even beat the odds!

Best wishes and I hope some of the above is helpful.

Loosyrkrdo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Mike:

I love your F*@k cancer attitude! My brother has been diagnosed w/esophageal cancer metastacized to the liver, while chemo is shrinking the esoph. tumor (he's been on for 2 mos), the liver has increased tumors dramatically...we just found out yesterday...so looking for a larger metro hospital to treat his liver cancer.

He's adopted the same lifestyle that you have, has a great attitude, still looks & feels good (except for a couple of days after each chemo treatment)...

We need to find a good cancer center for him quickly...MD Anderson was mentioned by his oncologist.

How are you doing? How are you feeling? have you had any of the glass bead treatments?

Take care, Mike (it IS Mike, isn't it?) You're in my prayers.

Sandy

stage4liver
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Sandy,

MD Anderson in Houston is the #1 cancer hospital in the country. I've also heard they are very good at late stage cancers. I'm going to Sloan Kettering in NYC which is #1-2 in the country with MD depending on what list you look at. John Hopkins in Maryland I think is #3. I chose Sloan because I found out they have a great group that specializes in HCC - primary liver cancer in many different departments from surgery, interventional radiology, and oncology. My brother lives in CT so I can shoot up there if I need extra recovery time before flying back and/or my wife and daughter stay there if I'm hospitalized. Would be nice to be more local as travel costs add up fast!! Hopefully at some point I can transfer care back to WI.

I havent had the y-90 radioembolization. I've had a resection of the entire left side of my liver and I just has a TACEdeb chemoembolization with doxorubicin

I feel pretty good about 70-80% of normal, although I did lose about 30 pounds total which I couldnt afford to lose from 165 to 135 but guess that goes with the territory. I'm still working full time and travel every other week for work (Midwest Sales), I do get some insomnia as you can see by the time of this post haha but fatigue hasnt been all that bad. I'm trying to work some bike rides back in but its been so hot and humid lately in WI I dont want to over do it either. I just try to take each day as it comes and focus on keeping my life as "normal" as possible. I also have a 10 year old daughter and I think that is a huge inspiration for me to keep fighting and also keep our lives as positive as I can.

There's also a song that's helped me personally along the way and I think my daughter as well as i've caught her singing it with her i-pod and headphones on. A very good friend of mine played the electric guitars on it and became involved in the TTT project a few months before I was diagnosed. Since, I've met the singer/songwriter of the song and also attended the premier showing of the release and other events they've put on. Great group of people for a great cause. Its pretty moving especially when the diagnosis is fresh but I now listen to it almost daily as in the second half of the sone he beats it. You can see the video at www.thistimetomorrow.org (top left of page i think) its all local WI musicians that came forward with their talent to remake the orignial to celebrate 10 years of survival.

Yes it is Mike

Loosyrkrdo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

OMG, we're overwhelmed! We don't know whether to go for it and go to MD Anderson, or try a more logistically reasonable treatment center on the west coast. There are so many variables relative to metastatic liver cancer, and we can't find out who treats it the best. Plus, my brother has very few financial resources to help him, although the family is rallying around to help...

How do we decide where to go? The survival rate for metastatic liver cancer is dismal, but we're feeling encouraged because of all of the newer treatments out there...but where to go? None of the centers publish their "success" rates...

stage4liver
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2010

There are some tough choices you have to make.

If you can find a good group of Drs. that specialize in his primary type of cancer locally, that would probably be the best route. Another option is go to MD for a consult to see what their thoughts are? They may be the same as your local cancer centers. Finances and family are tougher when you choose a place across the country. I've been fairly lucky with help reducing the financial burden. My wife's cousin held a benefit for me that raised about 15k, I had ff points and hotel reward points (NYC isnt cheap for hotels) that I used. Friends have also used their ff point to help with me with flights. I am also lucky that my brother is 2 hours out of Manhattan or a lot of my trips and or hospitalizations I would be going solo. My wife and daughter came twice but financially they cant be there for everything and friends and other family were not able to come whereas when i had my surgery here i had about 10-15visitors a day which can be good and bad haha...Just some things to keep in mind.

I just started reading a book recommended to me from Sloan called AntiCancer by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD. I'm only about 3 chapters into it but a very good read. It was written by a Dr that discovered his own brain cancer during research. He then went on with conventional treatments and also heavilly researched alternate and integrative medicines, diet, mind and other ways to help the body fight the disease in addition to conventional medicine. He beat his brain cancer and has been in remission for years now. This isn't the typical book you find online with crazy diets it's based on research, clinical trials, published medical journals etc. It will also address your concerns of "success rates" and statistics. Don't read into them too much. Everyone is different and everyone responds to treatment differently. To quote a line "statistics are information,not condemnation" for my type of cancer 5 yr survival is I think 5-7%. Pretty grim but I keep telling myself I'm going to be in that group! Only God knows when my time is up.

stage4liver
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2010

I wrote that on my phone and for some reason it left some out....

What i've learned about Drs. - Hospitals is look at the search as an interview process as you're hiring them for the best cancer care you can find.

Once you find your list of hospitals go to their websites as a lot have bios on each Dr. you can do a little pre-screening that way and see their educational background, field of specialization, etc. Ask a ton of questions when you have the initial appointment, even tape record it to play back later as there's always things you forget. Find someone that you get a good feeling about and you think is looking out for your brothers best interest and then trust in them but also keep asking questions. When my docs bring something up to me I scour the internet to see what I can find and then ask questions accordingly.

Loosyrkrdo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

thanks Mike! We're going through the hospitals today, need to make a decision tomorrow. The idea to go to MD Anderson for consult is a good one --

You know, if God brings us to it, He'll bring us through it...

We had one benefit yard sale for Rob, earned $5,000! The checks continue to come in to the account, which is very nice. We have a GREAT little community here in Grants Pass! Isn't it a blessing that you have friends & family that come to the aid? ...and He's using you, through your illness, to bless others. Thanks.

Sandy :)

Loosyrkrdo
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2010

Mike. I haven't seen any posts from you lately. I'm just checking in to see how you're doing.

My brother will find out tomorrow how much of the liver cancer this latest round of chemo has reduced/killed. He's been really pummeled by this chemo, has lost a tremendous amount of weight...

We're making plans to go to MD Anderson as soon as the results are in from the pt scan. After doing all of the research, it appears that MD is the place for him to go to for the next round of treatments.

Mostly, I just wanted to know how you are doing...

God bless!

Sandy :)

Annster
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2012

Recently, around January 28th, we found out that my brother was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. It was shocking because he wasn't an alcoholic and seemed completely healthy and athletic. We took him to MD Anderson, but they weren't willing to treat him and he was given 3 months to live. All they could do for him was give him pain medicine. Little did we know that less than a month later, he would be taken away from us. Drastically within a few weeks, he had lost a gigantic amount of weight, had a loss of appetite, and became very weak. Soon he began to have jaundice and prespirate getting hot at most times. We spent much of our time trying to get him to take herbal medications and use home remedies we thought would make him feel better. Little did we know that he was deteriorating right before our eyes.
My advice to anyone who has a family member with this terminal illness spend as much quality time as you can with them, and take lots of photos and videos while they are somewhat of their normal selves. Once they get to a point where they are always resting, try to keep the noise level down and just comfort them by talking or reading a story or playing music they like to hear. I always felt the need to be around him even if I didn't say a word, because it seemed to me that he didn't want to be alone. Don't force them to eat if they are not able. Within a week's time, my brother turned to skin and bones and we couldn't recognize him from first glance. Enjoy what you have and say the things you need to say and make every moment count. It's very hard to deal with because my brother was only 32 and had an 18 month old son and wife to care for. He was a wonderful husband and great brother and son as well. We all loved him. May he rest in peace.

lauren6015
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2014

my mom had her consultation today. we learned that she has stage 4 rectal and liver cancer. i appreciate reading your post and giving me a different way of looking at this. i will try and switch my brain to think more positive so to help her during this time. its just really hard. but i need to share that your post has really helped me.

thank you

sandipd
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2014

My dad, 69 has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver n rectum cancer. Doctors have advised for resection and chemotherapy subsequently. We are in India, Mumbai. Can any one brief me about the implications of further line of treatment considering his age. He is non smoker, non-alcholic, vegetarian, no history of hepitatis.

 

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