Aunt given 6 months to live

My aunt who was originally dx with breast cancer 18 years ago…bone secondaries 3 years ago and stomach secondaries 6 months ago…was told yesterday by a Pallative Care Consultant she has approx 6 months to live.

She has been seeing her oncologist every year since dx…[her choice]…he has never discussed her present condition with her, she didn’t even know what Pallative Care was…she was just sent the appointment…she has been told to cancel her appointments for bone strengthener she has been having every 3 weeks as it is not going to make any difference to her condition as the stomach cancer is the problem…the Pallative Care Consultant was shocked that she had not been told anything by her oncologist he just referred her to Pallative Care…he actually rang my aunt last sunday and apologised for not being in clinic the last time she went and said the x-ray she had showed ‘’ nothing untoward ‘’!!..

I think its disgusting that her oncologist let her find out this way…not that him telling her would of made it any easier, but out of decency I feel he should of explained things.

She is still trying to carry on as best she can, but as you can imagine her head is all over the place.
I just pray her last months will not be spent suffering too much.

Hi Karen

I also think your aunt’s oncologist has been disgusting. I think many (not all) oncologists have a big problem with death…its like they have ‘failed’ and so they avoid talking honestly and sensitively to their patients.

I hope the pallaitive care team are able to make your aunt as comfortable as possible at this time. Would your aunt want more treatment if it were available for the sceondaries in her stomach? This could be something to consider in a second opinion though it may not be what your aunt wants.

best wishes


Jane…my aunt did try oral chemo back before christmas, she had the lowest strength because of the possible side effects and her severe weight loss…unfortunately she ended up hospitalised for a week…therefore she won’t try it again.

Spoke to her today and she was sorting out her insurance policies, her son and daughter who both live away have come up, though I think she’s frightened of them going back home as she has said when they do she will feel alone…she is married but her husband is in his early 80’s…she’s 68…and recently his children we’re talking about my aunt going into care/hospice…this she does not want…she has already said she wants to stay at home…at present she is still able to potter around doing bits and pieces…although gets very tired.

Unfortunately when she was dx there were no BCN’s or as much information available as there is now…she was amazed when I was dx how different things were.