What will the end be like for someone with anaplastic astrocytoma?

Lucas asked...

What do you expect at the end of anaplastic astrocytoma?  My dad is free bleeding in the groin area and is weak, now has thrush, can't walk, is on oxygen 24/7, has done all required treatments and now has hospice coming 3 times a week.  He just wants to know how much longer he is going to have to suffer before he can walk the stairway to heaven.

Expert Answer

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

This is so difficult to witness, but know that if your father is in hospice care, that means that they estimate six months or less for him to live. So, think when hospice care was recommended, and add six months to that date. Usually, healthcare professionals are on target for this as they are familiar with the disease progression. The end of life for a cancer patient is difficult. Concentrate on comfort care, making sure he has the nutrition and fluid he can tolerate, and pain medicine that he needs.  As the end is near, you will see him eat and drink less and sleep more. You may see additional things like a change in skin color or texture (to a greyish or yellowish tinge), and a change in body fragrance. Because you have a little notice about end of life, make sure your paperwork is in order, and concentrate on sharing memories instead. Are there any last requests? Take care of what you can to give him peace of mind, so his passage is easier. Good luck.