Friend diagnosed with cancer

I live in Thailand and a friend living in the UK has just been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. There has been a period of illness leading up to that diagnosis where the friend has been chatting with me often online. I am happy with this and told him I am always here.

Obviously I am not his primary carer, he has a wife and adult daughter. They are caring for him, and my question to this forum has nothing to do with them and how they are caring. I will continue to offer him space to talk and converse. Do you have any other advice?

  • Hiya billzant.   Just carry on doing what you are already doing for your fried........listen to him when he wants to chat, and just treat him normally.  Also, it is important that you allow him to feel sad or depressed about his illness.  I will never forget the time that one of my family members said to me, "there are people in this world that have got it a lot worse than you".  This was after I had been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  To say that to a person who is battling a potentially life-threatening disease is extremely insensitive and cruel.  Yes, there are ALWAYS people in this world that have got it worse, but that doesn't make you feel better when you know that your life is quite literally hanging by a thread.  Allow your friend to feel his emotions, whatever they may be.  Take care.  

  • Dear Blue-girl,

    Thanks for your reply and sorry about my delay - the junk folder was not being good to me.

    We are getting on well about this. I try to accept what he offers - sadness depression etc

    I find it difficult to understand how a family member could say that to you, I don't see how that can possibly be constructive.

    How pushy would you find acceptable?

    What would you have said to someone who suggested a change in lifestyle?

    By change I mean:-

    Getting out to healthy places - good air etc Seaside

    Improving diet - avoiding toxic food

    Thanks again for your reply and I will continue to try to be supportive.

    How is your own Stage 3 Breast cancer?

    Try to keep well


  • Hiya Billz. no need to apologise, and glad I could be of some help in some way.  There's certainly nothing wrong in giving your friend advice about eating a more sensible diet and getting lots of fresh air.  It is good, constructive, sensible advice.  In the fight against cancer, it is often imperative that you change your lifestyle in an attempt to stay alive, although of course, there are times when no matter what you do, the monster will still defeat you.  My own stage 3 breast cancer is now stage 4 and has spread to my lungs and my lymphatic system.  For personal reasons, I have decided to stop my treatment.   I have perhaps a few months to live.  I believe that SOMETIMES miracles happen, and who knows?  MAYBE I will get a miracle.  If not, I am at peace with myself and I have fully accepted that some of us are simply not meant to reach an old age.  It is what it is. I wish your friend well,  and if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask, xx

  • Dear Blue-girl,

    Thanks again for the reply and the reinforcement.

    Initially I saw my friend wanting to take on a fight and hoped he would make changes esp. towards a more non-toxic diet. Less so after a few days although he seems serious about getaways to the sea. As you say though it is a matter of perhaps helping ,  "the monster will defeat you". 

    Sorry to hear of your own progression, I hope it is not too painful

    I do have a question about your own treatment if it is not too personal and you are willing to answer - why did you stop treatment?

    Do the best you can 


  • Hiya Billz.  That's okay, I don't mind telling you my reasons.  Well, when I was diagnosed 5 years ago, I had the operation to remove the tumour and I was told that I would need radiation therapy afterwards to zap any lingering cancer cells.  I refused the radiation therapy..........a decision that I now see was a HUGE mistake.  The cancer came back about 15 months later.  The reason that I refused the radiation therapy was because I was my husband's carer at the time (my husband is disabled and was  totally reliant on me), and I rather foolishly convinced myself that the cancer would not return.  Anyway, when it did, I was given chemotherapy (which didn't work).  The cancer continued to spread.  I was then told that although the cancer could not be cured, I could be treated with drugs that would slow down the growth of the cancer and give me perhaps a few more years.  I tried this for a while, but I was becoming increasingly weak and it reached the stage where I realised that I didn't want to spend the next 3, 4 or maybe 5 years laying in bed, completely drained and exhausted and unable to do anything worthwhile.  You see, I have always been a bit of a free spirit......I used to travel abroad on my own and I love to go for longs walks in the countryside, and for me personally, the idea of having a longer life simply so that I could lay in bed for a few more years was my idea of hell.  Naturally my husband was heartbroken but he absolutely understood my decision to stop my treatment.  If the treatment had allowed me to live the life that I had before I became ill, I would have absolutely carried on with it.........but as far as I could see, I was simply signing up for a merry-go-round of endless scans, blood tests, examinations.......and laying in bed.  Don't get me wrong Billz, I know that for a lot of people, any life is better than no life at all, and I absolutely respect that, but for me personally, it's all about QUALITY of life, not quantity.  

  • Dear Bluegirl,

    Thanks a lot for being open about your situation. I very much understand quality above quantity, and I hope your decision gives you sufficient quality time to do what you want.

    From your message it seems that you refused the radiation therapy to have the quality life to care for you husband. You spoke of a HUGE mistake, that is not clear to me. When you were offered the radiation therapy, did they say to you that the cancer would  not come back with the therapy? Or less likely to come back?

    Perhaps you were foolish in convincing yourself it would not come back but was it that HUGE? Wasn't the radiation just delaying?? 

    Too much of my own viewpoint in this question but interested in what you have to say.

    Best of luck doing what you can


  • Hiya Billz.  After I had the op to remove the tumour, my Oncologist strongly advised me to have radiation therapy to kill any lingering cancer cells.  He said that without  radiation therapy, the cancer would almost certainly come back.  He was right, it did come back.  I believe that if I had taken his advice and gone down the radiation route, the cancer would probably have never returned.  It's hard to explain my reasons for not wanting radiation treatment at that time.........I had just had a lumpectomy and frankly, I simply wanted to return to my normal life, which for me, was taking care of my husband, gardening, shopping, going for walks by the river.......I think that I just wanted to be free of it all, and I simply hoped that I could avoid the radiation route and MAYBE the cancer would not return.  But you know Billz, I have never seen the point it looking back and thinking "if only".  I see regrets as a bit of a pointless exercise.  I made my decision back then and now I have to live (and die) with it.  Also, even if I had gone down the radiation route, there is a possibility that the cancer would still have returned at some point, so there was never any guarantee that this treatment would keep the cancer at bay forever.   I am at peace with myself, and just taking one day at a time, until the inevitable happens.  Best of luck to you and your friend. 

  • Dear Bluegirl,

    Thanks for this info, it helps me to understand the process. I understand why you wanted to avoid the radiation route "even if I had gone down the radiation route, there is a possibility that the cancer would still have returned at some point, so there was never any guarantee that this treatment would keep the cancer at bay forever."

    I am  glad you are at peace, and I hope your remaining days are as good as they can be.


  • Thank you Billz, I appreciate your good wishes, take care, and I am glad that I was able to help you to understand why people with cancer sometimes make the decisions that they do, xx