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I think my Dad might have Lung Cancer

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2006

My dad is 63 years old, and has been a chain smoker since he was a teenager. I live across the country so I don't get to see him much. My siblings told me he dropped a lot of weight (he hasn't been really thin since he was a teenager) and he has been coughing. One time my brother said when my Dad spoke on the phone, he sounded like he had just ran a marathon. (he is not active). I tried talking to my Mom to make him go to a doctor, but she told me he will go when he is ready. She said he's had the flu on and off for awhile now, and he is tired a lot. See, both of his parents died of cancer. His Mom of breast, and his dad of prostate cancer. Do you have any ideas on how I can talk my Dad into going to a doctor. Ever since I found this out I cry every day. I don't understand why he won't go to the doctor. Sorry, I just needed someone to talk to. A lot of people have told me not to think it's cancer since he hasn't been diagnosed, but for some reason I have this gut feeling it is.

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

For starters, I understand your concern for your dad, but remember that it is not cancer until it is clinically diagnosed as cancer. Therein lies the problem. You have to get your dad to the doctor. Some people, especially we guys, don't like to go to the doctor. Sometimes we "don't want to know", - we're afraid of what the doctor will find, as if that makes any sense.
I didn't like being diagnosed with lung cancer. Certainly no one does. But I am very thankful that I was diagnosed when I was. I believe that another few months would have been too late.
It seems to me that your situation calls for a little hardball. Explain that you feel that, while he may be right, - that it's nothing serious, - it would be better for the doctor to examine him and prescribe something to make him feel better. Try explaining to your dad that besides the fact that he and his family need reassurance that he's ok, he's being somewhat selfish in not going to see a doctor. What about his family, who love him very much, and don't want to lose him if it turns out to be serious? Doesn't he want to be around any longer for his family, and especially for his present/future grandchildren? You and your siblings will have to soften his defenses, but do what it takes to get him to a doctor, even if you have to do it long-distance. "Do it for us" still packs a wallop with fathers, especially if it comes from his "little girl", if you or one of your siblings fits that title.
Best wishes. Please keep us informed.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2006

Thank you so much for your response. We had thought about playing hardball with him, but will get very stern with us and tell us to leave it alone. And if we keep pushing, he won't talk to us. That's where it's hard. I am his youngest girl, and he does have grandchildren, so I would think he would want to live as long as he can! Thanks for your reply, I will keep you posted.

ernrol's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

I only had a small pain in my shoulder and a little indigestion. I went for a physical they said I was in great shape. I said I wanted a chest x-ray. That is how I found out and glad I did. Finding out when I did is why I am cancer free today. I agree with plymouthean. You are his little girl and I am sure he would not want to hurt you. So I would tell him that your health is endangered because you are concerned with his health. Tell him you loose sleep, have head aches or what ever it takes. He may stop talking to you, but I do not think it would last. You could still talk to your mom. I would take the chance on ticking him off if it may save his life. I would make sure he at least gets an x-ray. If you can get your siblings to follow suit it should take less time. I have a daughter and if it only took an x-ray to make her happy, I would get it in a heart beat. All of his symptoms cold be nothing, but they are indications of possible cancer. Keep pushing him till you know the results of at least an X-ray.

Stay positive,


Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Gosh, ddcalny, you are in a pickle. My mom tends to be stoic of her aches and pains and puts off seeing the doctor until she feels it's absolutely necessary. But we've told her that since she's not that young anymore, she needs to seek medical attention for any persistent discomfort. She doesn't fight against us as your dad is doing.

Like Plymouthean, I think your dad is held back by the great fear of the unknown or confirmation of his worst fear. I'm not a guy, but I have those feelings sometimes when I get some suspicious symptoms (which eventually go away).

I think in addition to becoming hard-nosed and tough with your dad, you may have to confront him on how he feels about the prospect of dying if he doesn't seek medical attention. It's an extreme tactic but your situation may call for desperate measures. Tell him if he doesn't see a doctor NOW and get treatment, he may well write his epitaph. Is that what he wants? I tend to think not. The more he puts off treatment, the tougher it may be. At the very least, he should get treatment to alleviate any of the discomfort he's going through now, which may become worse (e.g., shortness of breath, coughs, weight loss). Your mom should just make the appointment and drag him if she must to the doctor. Get one of his brothers and sisters to come along. Well, actually, you may need a medical intervention with as many loved ones to force your father to the doctor.

Good luck!

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