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christylou
Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2009

My mother in law has been told that she only has a couple of months to live. She has large-cell lung cancer and it has spread to her heart. They are going to start chemo soon. Is the prognosis always pretty accurate or could the chemo possibly work really well?? If it did work well, could she live months longer or possibly years? I don't know very much about cancer. My dad died 10 weeks ago today from pancreatic cancer and he did not respond at all to chemo. His prognosis was almost exactly right.

Thanks for your help.

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

A prognosis is a guess. Doctors make it on the basis of their experience. They cannot predict exactly what will happen to any one patient, which means that your mom may live a lot longer or perhaps not as long as the doctor's forecast. If I had been told that my mom had only a few months to live, I would spend all the time I could making memories with her, get all final papers and estate questions in order, and make sure any questions I wanted to ask her got asked. Come to think of it, I should do that with my mom even if she has years to live. As for the chemo, she will have to decide if she wants to go through it. Some folks have gained years of life with chemo. Others don't respond so completely. Since there is no sure answer, most doctors present the side effects and probabilities and the patient has to decide what is best. Even if a patient decides not to do chemo, a doctor should still provide supportive care so that they live the best quality of life possible. I am thinking of you.

C. Abbott

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