Cancer, if diagnosed at an early stage can be cured; however, most of the cases are diagnosed when the cancer is in the final stage. This article highlights some of the symptoms that the patient experiences during the end stages.
Cancer is the second largest cause of death in the United States of America, the first being heart disease. It is possible to prevent more than 30% of the cancer cases by leading a healthy lifestyle, not smoking, being physically active, and consuming a nutritious diet.
There are more than 100 types of cancer, each with different signs and symptoms. When diagnosed at the final stages, cancer cannot be cured; however, medical assistance and care can help the patient deal with the pain, and other symptoms that come along with it, in a better way. The symptoms that occur in the final stages of some types of cancers are mentioned as under.
Final Stages of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer causes the maximum number of deaths in both men and women than any other type of cancer. Approximately 15% of the cases of lung cancer are diagnosed during the stage when treatment is possible through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. However, during the final stages, the treatment becomes difficult as the cancerous tumor in the lungs spreads in the other body parts, as well. Mentioned below are some symptoms that occur in this stage.
- Fluid is deposited around the lungs of the patient.
- Shortness of breath is likely to occur due to the fluid buildup.
- With the spread of lung cancer, specially into the airways, the patient might encounter airway obstructions or even bleeding.
- It is common for lung cancer to spread to the chest and spine bone. A constant pain in these bones is noticed.
- Constant weight loss is also one of the common symptoms in the last stage of lung cancer.
- If the lung cancer has spread to the brain, then symptoms like headaches, speech problems, weakness, and seizures are common.
Final Stages of Pancreatic Cancer
The last stage of pancreatic cancer is also known as Metastatic Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and is considered to be extremely fatal. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect in the initial stages and is mostly detected in the end stage when the cancer has spread to other areas like the lungs, liver, and other parts of the abdomen. When a person is in the end stage of pancreatic cancer, he/she may suffer from the following symptoms.
- Severe and stabbing pain in all parts of the abdomen due to the presence of tumors.
- Severe itchiness in the skin due to accumulation of bile duct.
Final Stages of Liver Cancer
Stage IV liver cancer is said to be the last stage of liver cancer. The last resort for this condition would be a liver transplant, if possible. Mentioned below are the consequences that stage 4 liver cancer may bring along.
- Many patients may develop cirrhosis which is one of the final stages of liver cancer, making the liver completely unable to perform its functions.
- Loss of appetite is another symptom which appears in the final stages of liver cancer.
- Another symptom of the last stage liver cancer is high fever.
- Jaundice too, is one of the symptoms.
- It is during the last stages that the liver stops working and that the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. This may lead to breathing problems, and also cause pain in the bones as well in the right side of the body. The severity of pain varies from person to person.
- During the last stage of liver cancer, the patient usually experiences loss of appetite and a change in sleeping patterns. The patient is fatigued and sleepy most of the time.
Final Stages of Brain Cancer
When the brain cancer has spread to the nearby areas to such an extent that it cannot be controlled and cured any longer, it is known as the final stage of brain cancer or stage 4 brain cancer. The pressure on the tumors in the brain may make the patient behave in unexpected ways during the final stage. Mentioned below are the symptoms.
- Confusion and hallucination.
- Irritable and violent behavior.
- Significant weight loss.
- Impairment in memory.
- Limited range of motion.
- Sleeping for longer hours and experiencing fatigue.
- Pain and weakness in the body.
- Difficulty in communicating with others.
Physical Changes in the Last stages of Cancer
During the end stage of cancer, the abnormal cell growth increases and spreads to an extent that complete removal of these cells become impossible. The body goes through a lot of physical changes. Some of them are mentioned as under.
- Restlessness in movements
- Changes in breathing patterns
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Noisy breathing
- Cold legs, arms, feet, and hands
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty in waking up from sleep
- Spending most of the time in sleeping
- Loss of consciousness
Emotional Changes in the Last Stages of Cancer
A person coping with a fatal illness and living it each minute, will also go through some emotional changes in the final stage of cancer. These changes are listed as follows.
- Some people may just stop fighting with their condition and let go. They may accept the condition as their fate and make peace with the situation, waiting for their life to come to an end. These people cease to communicate with others, and spend their time in praying.
- On the other hand, there are people who tend to get angry, fearful, and even violent during the final days of cancer.
- Most of the patients claim to see people that have already passed away, and claim that they see a white light.
- The patients become very quiet, most of them stop communicating completely; however, they can hear everything. Therefore, it is advisable to always keep them happy and create a light environment around them.
- Due to chemical changes in the body and brain, the patient may shout, scream, or become violent.
Seeing a person go through this stage and feeling totally helpless, thinking that there is nothing you can do to make the person feel better can be devastating! But you can help them by constantly being there for them. By telling them that you love them and that there is nothing in this world which is more important than them. The feeling that your loved ones are there with you, and fighting the fatal illness along with you, can be very helpful and supportive in itself. After all, love and support is all that a person wants from the first day till the last day of his/her life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.