How long does "end stage" last??

My dad has just finished his last dose of chemo for prostate cancer. It has become ineffective. He has new lesions which have turned out to be kidney cancer. He will be started tomorrow on an infusion to boost his immune system to fight the cancers. He is needing to get blood every 3 weeks or so because his hemoglobin drops. Dr. says the prostate cancer moves into the bone marrow and replaces it. He has been fighting this for over four years. I'm feeling the end is near, but I don't know. He is not hungry, lost 20 pounds in three months. Has anyone else had experience this end stage??

5 Replies

  • Truth is nobody knows. I finished treatment around Christmas and the oncologist talked about 12 months being the norm for someone fairly fit. I had extra radiotherapy since which seems to have given me a better quality of life. I have known people who were given 3 months on diagnosis but lived 11 years with treatment. This last sentence underlines how cloudy the oncologists crystal ball is. I pray that dad will have some quality of life and ways and means to keep him pain free. Lots of things can happen to hasten or delay the passing, an infection when his immune system is low or something that prolongs his life. SO I don't think anyone can tell you exactly. Sorry not to be able to be more exact

  • Thanks for your insight.

  • The "end stage" can last for weeks, months or years----there is no timetable, no "expiration date." Doctors cannot accurately predict how long an individual will last, but sometimes they can give a rough idea, and then be completely wrong---one way or the other.

    I am already under palliative care, and hospice care isn't too far off, but I hope to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. We can only try to make the best of it when we have a life-limiting disease.


  • Thanks for your words. Good luck to you. My dad has started getting blood transfusions every two weeks and is having a hard time with fluid building up in his lungs. I just keep praying..

  • It sounds like your Dad is in a tough situation with the transfusions and all.  I think it is possible that he is approaching his "end stage," but I agree with the others that there is no yardstick to use to determine how much time he has (or any of us have) left.

    My only advice would be to be with him as much as you can and to enjoy that time (which may be hard, but worth working toward).  Have you thought about recording some of your conversations?  How old is he?  Are there other family members/friends who could benefit by seeing him now or hearing from him by phone?  

    Many of us in this group are dealing with the inevitability of death from prostate cancer.  Fortunately, my partner is comfortable with discussing what will be coming as the disease progresses.  Not everyone is.  But we all can try to get as much joy as we can from our families and friends during the time that is left to us.

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