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Surgeon told me five years to live

Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2008

I like to know what gives a doctor the right to tell you that you have five years to live. I know that I'm not that smart so I wanted to check out lung cancer on the net. He told me to get my affairs in order because if I didn't get operated now I'll be dead in five years.With me I don't like it when someone trys to push me, it's like they got you trap. I thought the man upstairs tells you when your time is up. Has anyone else been told they have a time frame. The surgeon didn't tell me what kind it was, I found out by my doctor.

NoQuiSi's picture
Posts: 118
Joined: Sep 2008

I think docs give educated guesses as to how long they thing a person has to live. My dad had Multiple Myeloma and lived ten years longer than he was supposed to. Docs had him dead five times over. I think it's important to follow the advise of your doc, as they do know the mechanics of it and oncologists do have a lot of experience with it. It also doesn't hurt to get several physician opinions as well.

My advise, do everything you can to fight the cancer. Use everything at your disposal to beat the crap out of it, and this includes medical techniques. I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and survived ovarian cancer in a time when it wasn't supposed to be possible. Maybe your doc just doesn't understand that you need a little time to sort it all out for yourself and decide how you want to handle it? I'm sure he's thinking of the value of time in trying to deal with the issue from a medical perspective.

I don't think there's ever a way to be 'ready for it' emotionally, as far as surgery and such...sometimes you just have to go ahead and do it.

Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Sometimes doctors make an educated guess. From what I know, usually they tell you to get your affairs in order when they think you only have six months to live.

All cancers are different and the same cancer affects two people in different ways. There are different types of lung cancer and survival depends on many things like stage of the cancer, the type, treatments, etc. Mostly, the earlier the cancer is treated, the easier it is to get rid of it.

There are many people that have been told they have just a few months to live and they have proved the doctor wrong. By all means, seek a second opinion and do not postpone surgery and treatment if you need it.

All the best,

zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

For your doctor to make a prediction that far ahead means he is 'shopping around' in the statistics market. If 75% of people with your type of cancer die in 5 years, then that means 25% LIVE. And who is to say you are not one of the 25%? I am a 22 year cancer survivor. What do you suppose your doctor would tell me about how long I have to live? Would he suggest that I must surely die in the next 5 years because I have had cancer 3 times, am 60 years old, and have arthritis? No thanks. I prefer my own 'statistics': I have 100% chance of being the best I can be for as long as I can be.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I admire the commentary of those who have already replied to you. A couple of them are among the wisest folks I've read on this site. But in this instance I am going to disagree with them.

The key reason for this is your phrase "because if I didn't get operated now I'll be dead in five years". This, followed by "I don't like it when someone trys to push me."

This tells me, first, that you may be a bit bull-headed in this instance. It tells me, second, and more importantly, that the doctor/surgeon knows or suspects this and is telling you that if you do not accept his advice to get the treatment he suggests, based on his experience with the disease, you WILL be dead within five years. He cannot, without risk of some liability, make that a guarantee, so he couches it in the terms you provided. But he means it, my friend.

He is trying to help you at a time when, it seems to me, you do not want to hear about it. I would strongly advise taking some time to breathe in, relax, and consider what you have been told; consider the diagnosis; consider the surgeon's suggested treatment options; consider your alternatives; and then make wise decisions, rather than rash ones based on your natural (according to you) proclivity for defying authority.

True story: I was diagnosed with lung cancer at the same time my neighbor across the street received simmilar bad news June a year ago. I chose to proceed with recommended treatment, including a lobectomy and chemotherapy. My neighbor had watched her brother die of pancreatic cancer, and was convinced the treatment killed him. She turned down any treatment and relied on herbs and such instead. Sadly, she is about to leave this world. She is on oxygen. It is a matter of weeks.

Me? I was recently pronounced cancer-free.

In my opinion, your doctor is simply giving you the cold, hard facts: accept the diagnosis, that you have cancer; accept the fact that you need treatment; and trust him to give you the best possible treatment he can provide.

If you do not like any of these three actions, please make your next step a second opinion rather than ignoring what the doctor said.

Finally, you indicate that you are a person of faith. I am not, but I have knowledge of its tenets and must remind you of the adage that God helps him who helps himself. If you want help from God, I suggest that you consider this surgeon to be that help.

Best wishes, and good luck in making the best decisions for yourself!

Take care


Posts: 872
Joined: Feb 2007


Yours is some of the best-phrased, most lucid advice I have seen on the subject! Thanks.


Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2008

Joe, you are right I'm bull headed and I don't believe in God. I do believe in a higher superior being and this surgeon did not know me from adam. He told me that he had a space open on Tuesday and he would fit me in,that's why. But I still wanted to know what else there was that could be done.I made an appointment with my doctor, he knows me better that my husband. For what I have I had time to check on it, I went with radiation 60 of them but it help. The cancer hasn't grown in 3 years, so I guess that I'm lucking that way. What I have is Adenocarcinoma, not in my lipnotes if I'm spelling it right. I also take alternate meds. too so far so good. I have exrays every six months, but my doctor told me that what ever I'm doing to keep it up.

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