What is the life expectacy with stage 4 prostate and liver cancer?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer stage 4 and liver in January 2010. He did not do chemo or radiation here in USA, he's been getting treatment in Mexico and he's doing ok. Recently he's been complaining of back and leg pains. We know he also has cancer in his right arm, lower lymph nodes and legs. Here in the USA they have giving him 3 weeks to live, and gladly he's still alive. My question is, usually how long does someone with this type of cancer last? He's very upset and always complains about life and that he wants to die, because of the pain of course. He's taking morphine for pain control.

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 with stage 4 prostate cancer varies greatly because stage 4 means distant metastases and they are often in the bone. These can be very painful but usually do not immediately affect length of life. You wrote that your husband had mets in the liver which is probably more serious. It is hard for me to know about the 3 weeks prognosis but certainly at this point hospice might be a good idea as they would provide support for both your husband and yourself and might provide better pain control. It may be possible to make him more comfortable which could change his ideas. Symptom control is very important and hospice is very good at doing it.