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Mother-in-law has PPC

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2011

My Mother-in-law was diagnosed with PPC in April and her numbers have been going up very quickly. She has had 6 rounds of chemo and this has been a scary situation watching her stomach area grow massively. She looks to be 7-8 months pregnant and because of her age 74 her doctor really hasn't given us much hope on her surviving. The nurse from her doctors office called on yesterday to ask if we had a family meeting? Does this mean her cancer is terminal? I'm just trying to help my family out with options if their are any at this point? Anyone's help regarding this would be apprecicated? Is it too late for her to get a second opinion? She had a total hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer about 5 years ago. Thanks.

Posts: 152
Joined: Feb 2011

Sorry you find yourself here, it is a place none of us want to be but it is a very helpful place! Do you mean your mum-in-laws stomach grew while having chemo? I think it is the norm for it to decrease during chemo, if it has grown since chemo then I know some ladies here have had the fluid drained... Is she in pain or does she have any other symptoms? Have the docs said anything about having more chemo? Sorry so many questions, you will find the whole ppc thing quite a confusing journey, I certainly do with my mum, you will hopefully get some helpful answers on here, there are a few ladies who know a lot about it and I am sure they will be along soon.... I will say, if you are not feeling happy with your mum-in-laws treatment then ask for a second opinion.

Are you in the uk?

Wishing you good luck and hope your Mum-in-law gets the help she deserves


Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2011

I am sorry too hear about your mother-in-law.....has she had a CT scan to determine why the extended stoamch....or been evaluated for ascites (fluid in the stomach cavitiy). At 74 your Mom still seems pretty young. In my onc clinic there are ladies in their 80's that are being treated for this. Maybe her having ovarian cancer years ago has something to do with this??? What is the rest of her blood work like? Someone needs to get really involved and get answers, if not seek second opinion. I had surgery to remove my tumor...then chemo and my stomach never grew after chemo.... You need to get aggressive...cancer doesn't wait. Good luck.....

Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

I am the last one to tell someone what to do? I just don't quite understand why you are settling for this? She is 74 and no she's not young but women of every age have this. U r making it seem like because she is 74 her doc said she was useless and should consider dying. I don't know. Maybe u are leaving tons of stuff out?
I went to my mom's first doc appt after her diagnosis and i took a notebook and i made him talk soooo slow so i could write it all down. We made appts at Cancer Treatment Center of America in Philly, and then her doc recommended a gynecologist oncologist at University of Penn. We told him we were getting the second opinion. I think b4 u do anthing else u need to do this for ur family. Someone needs to step up and take the lead.
If we had just settled and we had a doc like ur mom in law's my mom would probably be dying.
I know that her stomach swelling and all means that chemo isn't working. Haven't they tried to drain it? There is more chemo to try? Also, when she had the ovarian cancer, it could have already shingled off of her ovaries down into her pertineum. I am just confused. You should definitely get a second opinion. Maybe even a third! My mom was so sick and now she is on a break from chemo. She goes back in january for a check-up. This could be ur mother in law if she is treated the way they took care of my mom.

AussieMaddie's picture
Posts: 345
Joined: May 2011

Hi Tiffany,

you don't say what chemo your mother-in-law in on. Do you know? Above all, do you - or someone responsible in the family - get a chance to ask questions of her oncologist. She needs someone to represent her interests to make sure that all of her questions are answered. There have been many women in their seventies and older go through this and *not* necessarily find it to be a death sentence. Certainly, those of us who have peritoneal cancer know that it can be "managed" rather than cured, but many of us go for years "managing" it. You don't give any information about her cancer except to say that she has previously had a total hysterectomy because of ovarian cancer. It is true that Ovarian Cancer and Peritoneal Cancer are closely related. The involve the same type of cells and typically use the same chemotherapy to kill off the cancerous cells.

Having a family meeting doesn't mean that she is dying. I had a family meeting just because my family wanted to know how they should best go about helping me because I live alone. I want to live alone for as long as I can. When I can't, I expect that Palliative Care will help keep me as comfortable as possible, but that could be years off.

Sounds like you need to be more informed and you should get that information from the oncologist overseeing your mother-in-law's medical care. Are you the one to whom he/she would exchange that information? Or is there a closer relative who would normally act in that role? If there is, you need to talk to them and have them write down all the questions that he/she needs to help your mother-in-law to understand what is happening to her.

Bring to here as much of that information as you can and others here can help you to see how we deal with the same kinds of symptoms and side-effects. Having tratment for peritoneal cancer doesn't have to rob your mother-in-law of her life *now*. Is she good herself at communicating with others? Could she bring herself to talk to other people on a forum such as this? You could introduce her to this forum. If she finds herself talking about how she feels and finds that others share her feelings and fears as well as the same type of side-effects, she may feel less alone and less panicked by it all.

Indeed, you might too.

Take good care,


Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2011

This is alot to take in, but I really appreciate it. I plan to go to my Mother-in-law's next doctor's appt to find out more information about her cancer. I did talk with her about getting a second opinion and she's all for it. So I'll keep everyone posted. I've printed off your questions and will inquire with her doctors. Thanks again.

Best Friend
Posts: 222
Joined: May 2011

It is hard to decide to be the spokesperson for someone who is going through this stuff. I knew my mom wouldn't ask questions, so I do. And if she has issues, i ask everyone on here. Remember to ask questions about her chemo.

Posts: 92
Joined: May 2011

I just want to say that we are many people on here that cares for our mothers with PPC and we have a lot to learn from all those brave women here that can share information with us and we with them. I too write down questions and bring to the doctor appointments as my mum is not up for it and is tired and tanked with medicine and often ask me questions later on.. That is my way of helping her and to give answers and comfort. She appreciates it a lot. So keep your faith up. Some people live long with this "chronic" cancer and I will continue to consider it so. Strenght on your journey.

Love Sophie

LaundryQueen's picture
Posts: 682
Joined: Mar 2011

It sounds like the poor prognosis is more about your mother-in-law's cancer being chemo resistant than her being 74 years old. That is unless she also has other medical problems or bad kidneys. I don't know how it was determined that she has another primary cancer rather than peritoneal cancer secondary to metastatic ovarian cancer. Both ovarian & peritoneal cancers are often the epithelial type cancer which are treated very much the same way. There are a lot of different types of chemo--how many have been used so far?

The most worrisome issue is that the fluid is STILL building up. Sometimes giving the patient IV nutrition (also called TPN) can help stop the fluid from building up. Just draining the fluid will provide comfort only--meanwhile, more protein is lost which causes the fluid to build up again.

There HAS to be more going on with your mother-in-law than you know about--you need to ask about her liver & kidney function tests. Best wishes to all of you.

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