Terminal cancer refers to cancer that can’t be cured or treated. It’s sometimes also called end-stage cancer. Any type of cancer can become terminal cancer. Terminal cancer is different from advanced cancer. Like terminal cancer, advanced cancer isn’t curable. But it does respond to treatment, which may slow down its progression. Terminal cancer doesn’t respond to treatment. As a result, treating terminal cancer focuses on making someone as comfortable as possible (e.g. hospice or end of life care
Generally, terminal cancer shortens someone’s life expectancy. But someone’s actual life expectancy depends on several factors, including:
the type of cancer they have
their overall health
whether they have any other health conditions
Doctors often rely on a mixture of clinical experience and intuition when determining someone’s life expectancy. But studies suggest that this estimate is usually incorrect and overly optimistic.
To help combat this, researchers and doctors have come up with several sets of guidelines to help oncologists and palliative care doctors give people a more realistic idea of their life expectancy. Examples of these guidelines include:
Karnofsky performance scale. This scale helps doctors evaluate someone’s overall level of functioning, including their ability to do daily activities and care for themselves. The score is given as a percentage. The lower the score, the shorter the life expectancy.
Palliative prognostic score. This uses someone’s score on the Karnofsky performance scale, white blood cell and lymphocyte counts, and other factors to produce a score between 0 and 17.5. The higher the score, the shorter the life expectancy.
While these estimates aren’t always accurate, they do serve an important purpose. They can help people and their doctors make decisions, establish goals, and work toward end-of-life plans.
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email On the day I was diagnosed, I hadn't really thought about questions, the only one I actually remember asking was "how long do I have left to live" (I watch too many movies!). On the day of diagnosis and a period beyond, people tend to feel emotions of shock, denial, anger and sadness, before going on to accept their situation. Yes, I 'googled' but not a great deal really - although some things I found did frighten me. I wish I had found this article way back then. As things progressed in the weeks after 'D-Day', I started to work out the sort of things to ask but even then,…
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OPINION. When I was being officially told I had an advanced and incurable cancer, I did what most people seem to do on films/TV ..... I asked "how long do I have". The Oncologist said " ... perhaps just months". That must have been quite a shock because for a few moments after that, I heard nothing - my brain was clearly still trying to process those words - I wasn't even feeling unwell! The really important bit I missed was him go on to say "...but with the right treatment, you should be able to live for a lot longer". Fortunately, my wife Chris heard it all and I was refocused. "OK Doc - let's go" I said. Always take someone with you to take notes at important meetings with Oncologists! [caption id="attachment_16343" align="aligncenter" width="640"] what…