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Does cancer sometimes have a smell?

nikola61
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012

I desperately need advice and I do not want to offend anyone but please respond if you can relate to this. My husband had prostate cancer 6 years ago and had it surgically removed and has been fine.

For the last year he has had lower back pain which sometimes radiates into the legs and he has a smell, sickening sweet would be my best description of it. Sometimes it is very strong and other days hardly noticable. I have this very uncomfortable feeling that the cancer is back elsewhere.

The doctor told us that the prostate cancer is the primary cancer and if it had spread elsewhere we would not know until he had other symptoms. And now he definitely has some odd things going on.

The problem is he will not go to a doctor at all. He lost two brothers to cancer and said that if he is dying he does not want to know. He has been suffering from depression since the initial diagnosis and is now drinking a lot. He is so angry that he will not talk to me about his health at all. It has caused our marriage a huge amount of stress.

Can anyone answer my question? I have a feeling the smell has to do with cancer although my dad died from lymphoma and I never noticed a smell around him. Please answer if you can provide any information about this. I need to get an idea of what I might be dealing with in the near future.

Thank you so much.

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Nikola and welcome to you and your husband.Congrats to him for surviving prostate cancer! I was a caregiver for my dad. He passed in March 2010 after a 16 month battle with EC. My mom is a diabetic. She has told me that one of the symptoms of diabetes is a sweet smelling breath. Is this smell coming from his mouth or his pores? I am not thinking cancer, I am thinking possible diabetes. Drinking will only make things worse, and if it is diabetes, alcohol causes blood sugar to go sky high. Out of control diabetes has a lot of side effects. Blindness, Kidney failure, amputations etc. I would suggest he go to primary dr. and have the glucose checked in his blood. Hope this helps. I know all about having to deal with a stubborn patient. I would not change my experience with my dad ever! Let us know how it is going. Keep your chin up, you are doing the best you can. An updated pet scan may also be in order for your husband.
Tina in Va

nikola61
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012

The smell is definitely from his skin. Although out of 6 siblings, 3 are diabetic as was his mother.So that has crossed my mind too. Thanks for the suggestion.
He will not see our doctor about anything, the only way I will get him there is unconcious in an ambulance.i have begged and pleaded, cried and yelled. We just had our first grandbaby arrive not long ago. I asked him if he wanted to be here to enjoy his grandchildren. I thought this might jolt him into getting help but no. so at this point I am just taking care of myself and the two kids who are still at home.But I have to say I am so thankful to have found this site if for nothing else but emotional support. Thank you

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Nikola
Glad I could help. With the family history of diabetes, it is most likely that he has diabetes, or he has a great chance of getting diabetes. Well...you have done the best you can for now. The ball is in his court. The sad thing is..he is thinking cancer, it must not even be that, it could be the managable disease of diabetes. Which left untreated will also kill him. I will be praying for all of you. Keep in touch. Coming here has helped me for the last 3 years. It is a blessing.
Tina in Va

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