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no treatment throat cancer

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2007

My mom (80 yrs old) has been diagnosed with throat cancer and she is insisting on not having any treatment. She says she feels fine now and doesnt want radiation or chemo with all the bad side effects. Anyone know what she would or could go through if she left this type of cancer untreated?

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Yes, Ray, cancer kills. There is no other way to put it. It doesn't just stay put, either. As a head and neck cancer survivor who went through a lengthy surgery AND radiation for seven weeks AND chemotherapy within the last year and a half, I learned Friday it is likely my cancer moved to my lungs.

Without treatment, I would expect these to be the types of results you can anticipate.

On the other hand, at her age, your mom may be thinking that she prefers to enjoy her final years with relative quality. What she may not be calculating is the pain and suffering she is likely to experience at some point without treatment.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that she can seek curative treatment or, in the end, palliative treatment.

Best wishes with this Ray.

Take care.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2009

My father, 59, learned recently that he had throat cancer with metastasis to the lymph nodes, as well as cancer, possibly another metastasis, in the colon. The throat cancer in his case is very bad in and of itself, not counting the metastasis (putting it in layman's terms he was told "10 out of 10 in badness"). He was going to have treatment until they found the colon cancer. In the end, he decided that he prefers to have no treatment, enjoy what he can while he can, and deal with the worst when it comes.

His (2nd) oncologist told him that in the end, it was his choice and the doctor's role was to do what he could for him to keep him comfortable. He was advised he was most likely to starve to death taking the throat cancer alone into consideration. Of course, metastasis could cause other things. I know my father well ... this IS the right choice for him.

He was advised he would probably have 1 yr to 18 months if he took care of himself - drank nutrition shakes, slept well, etc. Goodness knows that could change, but its what he has right now. No one is going to lie - cancer is an ugly thing and dying from it is ugly, too. But some people choose to die from the cancer rather than be miserable from treatment for months on end only to die from cancer.

What I can say is this: in the end, it is her choice. Do not try to scare her into treatment. She is a full grown woman and knows her own mind. I would guess that in 80 years she has probably known one or two people who had cancer, maybe even died of it. Support her decision and take the precious moments with her while you can. Someone who does not want treatment is only going to give up when they feel so bad from it, anyway. That is brutal honesty.

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