How long can Mom last with a feeding tube and esophageal draining tube due to gastric adenocarcinoma?

Gatita asked...

My mom (72) was diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma on November 4th. On November 16th she had total gastrectomy and also removal/sealing of the esophagus because the cancer had spread and unfortunatly they were not able to remove it all she is stage iv. She now has a feeding tube and an esophageal draining tube as she can not swallow. She has been in recovery since surgery battling low potassium and the long term effects of steroid use for RA. Despite it all she looks good, she is a fighter, but I still wonder how long can she possibly last like this?

Expert Answer

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Life expectancy after gastrectomy for gastric cancer is very hard to predict as it depends on how much cancer is left and where and also how fast what is left grows. With the feeding tube she has a source of nutrition and so could last quite some time. Because of her cancer, though, she is at risk for things like blood clots and pneumonia more than other people and so it is hard to know how long she has to live. The important part is to help her have the best quality of life that she can whatever the cancer does. While it is important to have an idea of life expectancy, doctors are frequently wrong when they try to predict it.