Rectal cancer and refusing food to control symptoms

Hi all . 

I wonder if anyone out there has any advice . 

My father has rectal cancer, which due to his age and frailty cannot be operated on, radiotherapy wasn't really successful and chemotherapy not available as an option either. 

My father is 91 and is spending day and night in the bathroom passing motions. If the motions become hard they cause him pain and problems so to control this he refuses any painkiller which causes constipation and he refuses any food intake that's substantial as what goes In has to come out . 

He takes laxatives , which make stools runny . He survives on  cracker and a fortisip in a whole day, in a bid to control his symptoms . 

Is there anyone who can advise how to increase and encourage food intake , without causes more distress symptom wise . 

He is the kindest man I know and I just wish I could ease his  suffering.  


  • Summer204. Hi Summer I. Sorry to read about your dad,and the problems he is facing. 

    It must be hard on both of you,and I understand you reaching out for any advice that may help your dad.

    I don't know if you've thought about asking if your dad could be sent some drinks that contain a lot of calories  thry are like a meal replacement drink. Bit like the complain drinks that you can buy.  

    I know when I has my bowel resection in 2015  the hospital wanted me to take these flavoured drinks to build my strength up  a few mths ,before I had my operation, the hospital supplied them for me if I remember right they has around 800 calories in one drink. You could put some in the fridge,they tasted nice  but better from straight out the fridge. 

    The flavours,we're Strawberry Vanilla ,chocolate  and bannana.   They might help your dad. 

    I do feel for you as I know how heartbreaking it is watching them suffer. I lost my dad I'm 1995 he had a few strokes   one massive one,and he was having trouble with his prostrate before his strokes. Was due to see a specialist, as hus blood markers indicated he had cancer of the prostrate,he was  too ill to go through any investigations. He was in hospital for over a year,couldn't talk. When it was his time  I sat with him held his hands untill he passed ,he was  73yrs old. My mum passed recently aged 89,also had a rough time strokes,broke her back in 2 places,and her hip. from a fall ,was bedridden ,had carers come in ,also me and my sister helped . Last 3 weeks me and my sister stayed with our mum. But mum got bad chest infection ,wasn't eating enough to feed a fly ,got so she could only drink tea with a build up.powder to thicken her tea so she wouldn't choke. Mum also.,was bleeding from her bottom they did a stool.test. which indicated my mum had also got bowel cancer, but mum was to ill to comprehend  as mum also has dementia.  I was witu my mum when she passed too,my sister couldn't stay, she went home, but my son stayed with me to support me. So I do know hiw tough it all is. .Here if it all gets too much and you need to chat  .