March 1, 2009 at 11:22 pm #26549rose-mayMember
Does anyone ever discuss the emotional component to cancer? I have heard that our health is not just influenced by the physical plane but by mental, emotional and spiritual influences as well.
I have heard that cancer is “anger turned inward” and it would seem that this would be especially so in the liver which in oriental medicine is considered to be the “seat of anger”. Unexpressed rage has to manifest itself somewhere and possibly stores itself in tumors. Stressful events can stimulate the growth of the cancer cells.
A little on the metaphsycial side, but interesting to consider.February 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm #26548tessMember
Hello Robyn and thanks for fielding the difficult questions. It is a very tough issue to get our heads arounds & I’ve asked many of the same questions… as I wanted desperately at the time of Dad’s diagnosis (Nov. 08) to know how this was all going to unfold. I too simply couldn’t reconcile how a strong healthy person could be handed such a sentence. CC felt like an unwanted intruder in our lives, that with enough research, experts & support, we could push back out the door. I’ve learned from the countless hours on this board that each case is different. I asked a best friend how cancer kills & she said that in her experience, the pain meds slowly take such a toll on the heart, that it eventually stops. With Dad, he did wake one eve with chills/fever & an infection that had spread through his blood stream. They caught it in time & he was ok, but it was very serious. The chemo has made him very weak & his immune system is down, this compromises his health & makes him susceptible to other germs. The radiation, which he will begin next week will destroy one kidney & part of his lung… at best, per the docs. However, if he doesn’t pursue it- in hopes of shrinking to size of resection, the cc will surely take him.
The tumor itself has been indirectly related to all the complications to date & those to come, but in and of itself- has served as a secondary source of all setbacks.
I also believe that the common threads that bind those with cc are yet to be understood. I worry about genetics, in that my son now has two grandfathers – on both sides of his genetic pool, with cc. His other Grampa passed in 98 from cc complications associated with resection.
You and your Mom are in our thoughts Robyn. I know it’s not easy, she’s lucky to have you!
TessFebruary 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm #26547kristinMember
Ummm, is there a doctor on this board?? It would be really nice to get this question answered by someone with some knowledge, instead of us all pooling our ignorance.
(Sorry if this sounds rude… but I would like to know the “official” answer!)
KristinFebruary 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm #26546devoncatMember
I think you can live with a tumor for a long time with no problems…but it depends on the type of cancer. My friend’s father has prostate cancer and he takes medicine for it and it is basically a chronic disease and not life threatening. CC is different, but how different is individual. Jeff, didnt you live with your tumor for about 4 or 5 years before doing anything with it? I could be remembering that wrong, but I think that is the case.
KrisFebruary 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm #26545darlaParticipant
I too am uncomfortable talking about this as we are, but I think you are right. Understanding is the pathway to beating this disease. I’m not sure about the kidneys, but what I was told by the doctor and is also stated on the death certificate is that he ultimate passed away from liver failure due to cholangiocarcinoma. In Jim’s case 95% of his liver was affected so that may be part of the equation. At this point I don’t think he had an infection, but the tumors were growing and multiply incredibly quickly during those 7 weeks.
This was our experience. It does seem as if there are as many different experiences & answers as there are people affected by this disease. Somewhere you would think there would be a common thread.
Marion, the genetic thing is another whole issue. Can it be distinguished genetically and are our children & future generations more at risk?
Once again, so many questions & so few answers.
DarlaFebruary 28, 2009 at 4:07 am #26544jmoneypennyMember
Please clarify me if I’m wrong (I know there are much better experts than me out there), but I was under the impression that the liver can keep going at a very low capacity, but it’s the kidneys that shut down because they are so dependent on the liver, so it’s actually kidney failure that happens before liver failure. I think that’s what a doctor told me (in a much more logical and scientific way). Also, I had heard about infections being a natural part of the process, as a few people said. And some tumors just start growing incredibly quickly.
I feel terrible — being so clinical about this, but it’s an interesting question and something we need to understand in order to beat this disease. Thanks for bringing this up, Robyn, and all my best wishes to you, your mom and your family.
Joyce MFebruary 28, 2009 at 12:47 am #26543darlaParticipant
Well, I might as well add my 2 cents for what it is worth. I think that a person can live for a long time with a tumor or tumors that are not causing any symptoms. This is just my opnion based on our experiences.
My husband passed away 7 weeks after his first symptoms & the progression was very fast at that point. I now believe that he probably had this tumor for many years with no symptoms & no treatment.
You asked “How can someone feel healthy and have no symptoms only to be gone weeks later”? I’m not sure how, but I do know that it happens, as it happened to my husband. In his case he died from liver failure caused by the Cholangiocarcinoma. My understanding of that is that the tumors (intrahepatic), blocked the bile ducts & caused the liver to fail.
There are so many questions about this type of cancer & not enough answers. You are right, none of it makes any sense. I don’t think any of us really can understand what it is all about as it is so different for each individual. Hopefully in the near future more will be know about it & there will be some sort of breakthrough as far as detecting & treating it more effectively & efficently.
You , Mom & your family will be in my thoughts & prayers.
Love & Hugs,
DarlaFebruary 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm #26542marionsModerator
If the tumor simply sits there and does not encroach on vital organs couldn’t we assume that a person could live with it? I often wonder as to why some people diagnosed with CC respond so well to chemotherapy whereas others simply do not respond at all. I have been told that chemotherapy can only penetrate tumors up to 3 or 4 centimeters therefore, the debulking of the tumor can be considerationfor some patients. And what about those patients who respond well to one of the more common drugs and, that for years? Charles R. Thomas and Clifton Fuller’s book: “Biliary Tract and gallbladder cancer” describe the distinction from liver cell cancer amongst other lies in the following: A prominent desmoplastic stromal reaction and mucin production are key features in favor of a tumor being a cholangiocarcinoma. And it goes on to say: The presence of definite biliary dysplasia is potentially very useful, but in practice is rarely seen and can be very difficult to distinguish from reactive biliary changes seen as the result of obstruction due to any kind of tumor. The book continues to describe for CC to be positive for biliary cytokeratins (CK7 and CK19) while they are less frequently expressed by liver cell cancers, although in some series up to 50% are CK7 positive.
There are so many questions in re: to this cancer although, I believe that in the future most of these disease will be genetically distinguishable.
Point to ponder for the day,
Hugs to all,
MarionFebruary 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm #26541jeffgMember
Hi Robyn… I’ll add in my 2 cents. Cancer is systemic, in the blood. the red cells slowly die off causing anemia and wasting of the body and then the white cells that prevent infection become over burdened and infection sets in until you have a major organ affected and in turn failure. That’s my take on it all. In fact most hospice care does not treat infections as it is considerered part of the process of passing. Some tumors can sit for a long time and not bother you. But like my liver it finally appears it has been going like a work horse for so long, It just decided to give in. Well, that is my thought process on it all. With that all said, I have personally witness total wasted anemic body until the heart muscles stop without infection. So the ole saying swings around again as it is an individual and can be different for many.
Jeff G.February 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm #26540ron-smithMember
I was told by my surgeon, after being told that surgery was no longer an option, that it would likely be an infection that would ultimately kill me. I would guess at it being pneumonia if the tumours metastise to my lungs. But I daresay all options are still available.
RonFebruary 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm #26539tanolandMember
Because they do grow, they do metastasize and they do cause blockage eventually. And as far as I know, it happens to everyone. I don’t mean to be negative, but from everything I understand, it happens to every single patient.February 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm #2029robynMember
I have read in several alternative medicine books that tumors do not kill people. As long as the tumor does not grow, met. or block the flow of essential fluids, people can live forever with a tumor. As I’ve said before, my Mom has a 10cm tumor that is not blocking anything at this time. It is wrapped around the portal vein, but not blocking it or causing any symptoms. I guess my question is, what actually causes death in a cancer patient. I know no one is the same, but I don’t understand why the Drs. are so grim about mom if the tumor is not actually causing problems that would kill her. I know this is a morbid topic, but I just want the honest truth about her condition. We’ve heard everything from 3-6 months to years. Do the cancer treatments themselves cause death? Is it liver failure? I just don’t understand and I want to. How can someone feel healthy and have no symptoms only to be gone weeks later. It just does not make sense to me.
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