How Do You Say ‘You Have Stage IV Cancer’? | Medpage Today

You have the results, now you have to tell the patient. (End of Medpage prompt. My commentary follows +.)

+For an ER doctor to opine to the patient that she has “Stage IV” cancer is an interesting twist on things. AND that the mass brought the patient to the ER in the first place. Hmmm. Chronic fatigue from anemia brought me into the ER over twenty-seven months ago. And it wasn’t until after I was discharged from the hospital that I got a doctor to admit that he found cancer cells in an internal stomach tumor. I was never told what stage my cancer was by anyone. Yet I spent over a year under hospice care and was kicked out after my Medicare benefits ran out.

Oncology had a program of exploratory surgery, radiation, and chemo waiting for me. But I, metaphorically, flipped them off. That was over two years ago. No one ever asked me, in or out of hospital, what I thought about dying from cancer or about dying in general. Now it is definitely too late for me to avoid dying from cancer or some other medical complication.

Looking back to 2016, I have no regrets about refusing further medical treatment after the final biopsy. Losing three units of blood from a 5cm tumor told me that the cancer was advanced. Am I a doctor? No. But I can read and it’s my body.

— Read on

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