Ask Selma!

Q. My brother in-law had a surgery last year. The doctors removed a tumor (cancer) near the pancreas. Now yesterday he has a stroke and the doctor finds another tumor near the intestine and also he has anemia and the reason that he is anemic is because he is bleeding from his internal organs. He is 51 years old and my question is, do you think that this can be a terminal cancer and probably he doesn’t want the family to find out? I would like to be mentally prepared for this. It is hard for the family to find out. I would appreciate your answer to this. Thank you.

A. Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are challenging, and when cancer involves the pancreas it is very serious and not a curable situation. So it is possible that a disease process like you are describing could be terminal, but only his doctor can address this situation. Because of the seriousness of gastrointestinal cancers, it is really important that your brother-in-law is evaluated by doctors who specialize in his type of cancer. If he has not already, then a visit to a cancer center that has a GI oncology program may be wise. Resources that might help include The Wellness Community, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the Lustgarten Foundation. I hope that your brother-in-law will be able to communicate openly with his family. Even if it is difficult, everyone will do much better if honest and loving feelings can be shared.

IMPORTANT NOTE: No information in the “Ask Selma” column is intended to diagnose or treat any condition and should not be construed as medical advice. The opinions expressed here are Selma’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Vital Options International. You should never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health care provider because of something you read on any website.

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