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CT scan showed cancer tumor inside liver. Swollen abdomen, little urination and swollen ankles. Advice

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Hi My husband after CT scan found 5 pcs of cancer tumor inside the liver, so the Dr said is no good for surgery, but he is scary about the side effect of chemotherapy ? What is your advise? He is a hepatitis B positive for live. Now his weight gain from 180 to 202 lbs after he got discharged from hospital for 2 weeks. Cannot go pee pee as normal even after drinking a lot of liquid. tummy is swollen and big. Eye white is yellowish. What is the best way to save his life now? He did the GI endoscopy when he went into ER on 10/5 cos he has blood vomit both from mouth and anus. he stop the medicine Nadolol for tens days cos he felt the ankle of feet got swollen. Pls tell me what shud he do now, schedule 10/31 to see Cancer and blood specialist, but still need to ask for second opinion from specialist.
Posted Tue, 19 Nov 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Honestly, very little can be done to save his life

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about what your husband is going through right now. It must be a very difficult period for you to sit and see your loved one go through all this. I would advice that you stand by him and show him much care and concern.

All the symptoms you have reported point to terminal liver failure: bleeding, swollen abdomen, little urination, swollen ankles, yellowish eyes, etc. Only liver transplant at this time can make any sense and I know it is going to be a very difficult thing to do. His doctors should evaluate and see whether he is fit to be enlisted among others who may benefit from a liver transplant when available.

from all the information you have provided, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to save his life right now If liver transplant is not put on the table as one of the options, then he cannot and will not come out of this condition. I understand how hard the message comes across but I believe I should be able to tell you the exact truth. No amount of chemotherapy would be able to give him more than 6months of from today.

If I were his doctor I would sincerely factor in all the possibilities of getting out of this state and would probably consider talking to him about what the prognosis of his condition is unless something like a transplant is considered if he is eligible. It is a very difficult topic and cannot be discussed with mail exchanges. Raise these concerns with his doctor and let him choose to act on or not depending on his gut feeling.

Sincere, am sorry for being this direct but I think it is the best way to deal with issues like this. There is no point in raising hopes when I really think otherwise. Standby him, add more value to his days bearing in mind that they aren't that many again. Stand by him as he battles his way with this condition.

I hope this helps. I wish him well. Feel free to ash for clarifications.
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: CT scan showed cancer tumor inside liver. Swollen abdomen, little urination and swollen ankles. Advice 23 hours later
Hi Dr Ditah,
Thanks for your answer which I do not want to hear and feel that it is true. RIGHT NOW IS IT A GOOD THING TO REQUEST GI specialist to remove liquid fro the swollen tummy so at least he do not feel that much back pain.

He can still eat a little, still drive and watch t.v. for hours, but get tired after sitting too long and I advised him to walk around the community complex where we live. Now his ankle got less swollen as like a few days ago when he is stop taking the Nadolol medicine. He stops drinking a lot of liquid for the pass 2 days.
But the tummy is still big, like a pregnant lady with 5 to 6 months.

How to go through a transplant liver procedure may I ask ? Can we ask the son or daughter to spare part of the liver to safe the Dad's life? Of course at their consent.

Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
See below

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for following up with me.

1. He an benefit from the fluid being drained from the abdomen if it is in such great volumes that actually cause discomfort. Otherwise, there is no reason to do this because it will re-accumulate as long as the problem is not addressed from the cause which is a liver problem.

2. For hi to get a liver transplant, his doctor would first evaluate and make sure he is eligible t receive a liver transplant. For instance, the cancer must not have spread to other organs just yet. Also, there should not be any other more concerning condition that can jeopardize his health in the short run other than this liver diseases etc. After this, if he is eligible, then he would be enlisted for a possible liver transplant if any a compatible liver becomes available.

asking the son or daughter is a decision that can be reached at your level. However, tests must be done to make sure he can receive a liver from one of them because compatibility has to be taken into consideration before any liver transplant. If they are good donors for him, then and only then can the decision to talk with them have more meaning.

I understand the dilemma. I wish you both well and hope that you get a solution out of this. Thanks!!
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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