My father has bladder cancer and he no longer want to eat or drink. Is there anything we can do?

21 answers | Last updated: Nov 28, 2016
Mapla asked...

My father has bladder cancer and he no longer want to eat or drink any thing. .Is there anything we can do?


Expert Answers

Redwing Keyssar coordinates the Palliative Care Program for Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco.

Loss of appetite is a common side effect of both cancer and cancer treatment. It can also be a sign that a patient is nearing the end of his life and is ready to begin letting go.

Call your father's doctor and ask for an open and honest discussion of your father's situation to determine which this is. If your father's cancer or chemotherapy treatment is causing him to have extreme nausea that's leading to his loss of appetite, there are many things you can do to encourage him to eat and drink. If, however, his refusal to eat and drink is a sign that he no longer wishes to fight the cancer, then it may be time to initiate hospice care and begin discussing end of life issues.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I agree with the above answer, my father had bladder cancer and I have worked hospice since his death.  You do need to talk wtih the MD, see exactly what is going on and ask them to be very direct with you, don't sugar coat things! If is it just a side effect of the treatment, there are things they can give to increase appetite, and of course the suggestion would be to encourage him to eat with foods that appeal to him, sweets, salty .. things that may not be the most healthy but will provide calories!  Ensure is a great source as is home made shakes with protein powder added!! 


Skeeter1 answered...

My Father-in-law was diagnosed with bladder cancer three weeks prior to his death.He had a massive tumor in his bladder and had it surgically removed.He was sent home 3 days later.He seemed to be improving, but complained of an upset stomach.He was given gravol.He just abruptly stopped eating while only taking small sips of water for the next 4 days.He said food all tasted the same and he didn't want it.We believe this was his way of telling us, he just wanted to go.He had been very lonely since his wife's passing 10 years earlier.He loved talking about his past with her and his deceased brothers.Our Dad was 78 and had had a stroke after Mom's death.


Octoman answered...

I never have trouble with eating . I often feel I dont want food. I have learnt to ignore this feeling.just take one mouthful like laying a brick. I am constantly amazed when I finish my meal,just like building a house.


Hello answered...

My father died of bladder cancer and stopped eating about 4 days before he died- the hospice nurse said this was very normal for the end.


Hello answered...

My father had bladder cancer- he was diagnose in May and died 3 months later- his appetite was good until about 4 days before he died-per hospice- this was his way of telling us he was ready to die. His cancer spread to the brain, lung and liver and he was 89 years old when he died-


Octoman answered...

I have stomach cancer it has unlarged of late , I have been offered chemo to reduce it. today I had a appointment for the 6 of Jan the oncologist is one I had no confidance in I cancelled the appointment.he was the deciding factor ,at near eighty it matters not a lot ,so a shorter happy life is better than longer miserable one, there seems no logic to doctors views they treat because that is what they do,their job your death is not their concern they are taught to not to get emotionly involved so its your life not theirs, bitter me? yes all pain and suffering no one cares to change the system it is taken for granted cancer=death


Tamberlee answered...

My husband had bladder cancer two years ago. They removed his bladder and he has a urostomy. We thought we were doing really good, he was eating and gaining weight and we were making plans for the future and then in November we learned that now we are in for another fight as he now has pancreatic cancer. The tumor was causing a blockage in his small intestine and he just underwent a bypass surgery for that. He is getting pallitive care at this time but as I have talked with his medical team they have explained to me that cancer patients seem to have a sense about what is going on within their body and that they seem to be able to sense their end of life. My husband has been telling me for the last 2 months to prepare myself as he knows he is dying. One of his doctors has told me to prepare for the worst but keep hoping and praying for the best and that is how I try to live each day, although it is hard and it doens't lessen the blow when they give me hard news it does help me to start praying faster and harder on the next step. My heart and prayers are with you.


Octoman answered...

DEAR FELLOW SUFFERS HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TOLD SURGERY CAN CAUSE CANCERS TO SPREAD? MY SURGEON ANSWERED MY QUEERY. THEY CHANGED THEIR SURGICAL PROCEDURES,BUT IT DID NOT HELP

, BUT I DO HAVE FRIEND WHO HAD HIS BLADDER AND CANCER REMOVED AND SURVIVED,NO CHEMO THOUGH AND HE HAS BAG WITH A TAP HE HATES

.I WAS TOLD BY MY ONCOLOGIST HE NEVER HAD A PATIENT WHO WANTED TO KNOW THINGS BEFORE, AS I DO.

I WILL NOT LET ANY ONE KILL ME WITHOUT KNOWING THE REASON WHY, THAT IS MY NATURE,NOSEY. MAY BE NEXT YEAR WILL BE BETTER DYING TO GET THERE .LOVE YOU ALL.


Tamberlee answered...

We posed that question to the surgeons and they told us no, that was just a myth.


Octoman answered...

TAMBERLEE WAS THAT MYTH IN RELATION TO SURGERY SPREADING CANCER. MY ONCOLOGIST LIED TO ME I HAVE THE LETTER WERE HE ADMITS IT , REASON GIVEN I THOUGHT YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO KNOW , MY SURGEON LIED TO ME ANOTHER SURGEON IS LOOKING INTO THIS I HAVE MY PROOF OF HIS PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT,LAST WEEK I CANCELLED A APPOINTMENT HOW DO YOU THEY WILL NOT LIE AGAIN? THESE LIES WERE NOT ABOUT SURGERY SPREADING CANCER . BUT A SURGEON DID TELL ME THIS MYTH?THE OTHER LIES WERE ABOUT DIFFRENT THINGS BUT IF THEY CAN LIE TO SAVE UPSETTING PATIENTS OVER ONE THING THEY HAVE CARTE BLANCHE TO DO IT ANYTIME. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE


Tamberlee answered...

Octoman- Yes they said that performing the palliative surgery and exposing the cancer to air would not make it spread like wildfire. We have asked the doctors to tell us the truth, no matter how painful it might be to hear, since they suspected he had pancreatic cancer. Doctors don't really know how to deal with telling patients the really hard things. His doctors though were well aware of my knowledge of his condition and that I am very active in his health care. They had to tell us yesterday that although the palliative surgery has gone well and that it will help allieviate the symptoms they preformed the surgery for will be better our fears of his cancer being metastisized were true. We then asked the most difficult question of all. How long? They said the average of peoples lives after his type of surgery was 150 days. Yes, they could do chemo to maybe extend his time but they aren't hopeful for him to live through the chemo. He has stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has metastisized. My husband has been telling me for several months that I need to prepare myself as he knows he is dying. Although I am still praying for a miracle, I am also helping him prepare for his final journey.


Octoman answered...

TAMBERLEE I HAVE A FRIEND WHOSE WIFE JUST A BIOPSY JUST A SAMPLE, SET OFF THE CANCER IN TWO MONTHS ,SHE WAS DEAD THE SURGEON EXPLAINED WITH HIS WIFES CANCER WAS THE TYPE THAT SPREAD WHEN CUT .THEY WERE NOT TO KNOW THAT WERE THEY ONLY DOING EXPLORATIVE BIOPSY AS THEY DID WITH ME. YOU HAVE HONEST DOCTORS BY THE SOUND OF IT ,BUT I HAVE COLLECTED CASE HISTORIES OF AS MANY CASES I COULD . THERE ARE MANY CASES, WERE DEATH SENTANCES WERE HANDED OUT I HAVE BEEN UNDER ONE FOR SEVEN YEARS EVERY TIME I VISIT MY DOCTORS I APPOLOGISE FOR NOT DYING CHEMO DOES NOT EXTENED LIFE THAT IS THEIR MYTH THEY CAN NOT HELP IT THEIR HANDS ARE TIED LOSE YOUR LICENCE TO PRACTISE? IS THE ONLY WAY I HAVE FOUND IS TO BOOST YOUR GOD GIVEN IMMUNE SYSTEM AND WOW DOES IT WORK I A REVITALISED MAN EIGHTY THIS YEAR ,LIFE STYLE CHANGE, THERE ARE SIDE EFFECTS BUT THEY ARE GOOD . LETS THINK YOU CAN TAKE THE NO GAIN WITHOUT PAIN ROUTE OR DO YOU WANT QUALITY OF LIFE OR A POSSIBLE QUANTITIY OF LIFE WITH NO QUALITY? I HAVE GOT NEWS FOR YOU GOD IS AVAILABLE TO EVERY ONE BELIEVER OR NONE BELIEVER UNCONDION LOVE AND YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO LOVE GOD . THE SERVICE IS FREE. DO NOT LOOK FOR GOD IN THE BIBLE HE IS THERE, BUT MISREPESENTED BY PEOPLE WANTING YOU TO JOIN THEIR CLUB THER IS IS NO CLUB, I REPECT OTHER PEOPLES BELIEFS BUT MY LIFE IS IN DANGER THEY, NOR THE DOCTORS CAN SAVE ME MY IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN WITH GODS HELP . COME ON, WOULD YOU LIKE TO APOLOGES TO YOUR DOCTOR FOR NOT DYING,YES I AM STIR CRAZY 7 YEARS ON DEATH ROW CAN DO THAT I ALSO LOVE EVERYBODY, A SIDE AFFECT I JUST HAD TO LEARN TO PUT UP WITH.NOT HARD DOCTORS ARE JUST GUESTIMATING PROVE THEM WRONG ,THEY DONT MIND, SORRY RAVE OVER , DO EVERY THING YOU CAN ENJOY THE LIFE YOU, HAVE DEATH IS NOT PAINFUL DYING IS SO TRY TO AVOID THEM BOTH LOVE YOU ALL.


Krange answered...

I am so glad this website is here for people to talk about their hopes and fears. My mom just passed on Feb 4 from bladder cancer that had metastisized into her lungs. We were informed Jan 28, she went on hospice Jan 29 and she was gone a week later on Feb 4. She had her left kidney taken out in June 2008 and 2 tumors taken off her bladder in January of last year. We thought we were free and clear because we had visited the oncologist in December. She was just having her gallbladder taken out Jan 11 and we were suppose to come home and rest up so we could start planning for the summer to travel. Now im sitting here not really being able to believe she has gone so soon. She was only 68. But now that i think back, she was telling me goodbye before she went in for her gallbladder, like she knew something was going to happen. I didn't want to accept it so i blocked it out of my head. I'm so glad that I had that week with her before she passed, she ate soft foods (ie baby food) until the day she passed. That morning, she would not eat or drink anything and she passed that afternoon. We don't want to accept their passing, but they are already prepared. Spend every waking moment with them and tell them how much you love them before they leave. Most important of all---let them know you are going to be alright and it is okay that they're ready to go. Don't make them hold on for you. They're spirit is ready to be free and this earthly body is no longer their home. Now i realize that she was not leaving me---she was leaving this sickness and pain behind. That is the peace i hold onto in her passing.


Tamberlee answered...

Just a quick update. My husband lost his battle to the pancreatic cancer on Feb. 4, 2010.


A fellow caregiver answered...

My father also has bladder cancer and we were going through the same thing with the lack of appetite. We asked his doctors what could be done and they did not have any suggestions. However, my cousin is married to a doctor and I asked him and he suggested that we get my fathers doctor to write him a prescription for "Megase". It is an appetite stimulant. He is hungry all the time now. He was diagnosed in July 2008. They had given him 6 months to a year to live. As you can see, he has surpassed that by more than double. We were told in December 2009 that his bladder cancer is in remission. He went through a number of chemo treatments after his diagnosis. I belive it was 13 weeks, once a week. They took the liquid chemo drugs and put them directly into his bladder through the penis. He had no side affects other than fatigue and loss of appetite which we fixed with the Megase prescription. I truly believe that my father would not still be alive had my cousin's husband not told us about the Megase. It is what allowed him to continue to eat enough to keep his strength up. I am a firm believer in that particular product. I hope this helps.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Thanks; my husband has bladder cancer as well as Alz. Disease and no desire to eat anything; I will ask about the Megase for him.


A fellow caregiver answered...

My dad had bladder cancer, and they said he had 4-6 months to live. he had 2 months, and died when i was only 12 (im now 13). He had stopped eating about 4 days befor he died, and i din't know what was going on. he was loosing his sight and speach abilities. this is the time to talk to him, and find out everything you want to know. i wish i did, and i regret it every day of my life that i didn't say goodbye. goodluck, sharon<3


A fellow caregiver answered...

I recently came across this blog that mentions a water called Metromint.

http://www.mary-elizabethsbump.blogspot.com/2012/02/transplant-road-was-soothed-with.html

It sounds like it worked for the author's daughter. Have you tried this yet? I am looking for some for my father to give a try.


Reneparker answered...

My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer in December 2011 and passed away May 18, 2012. It is the hardest thing I have ever gone through.


Susan4611 answered...

I lost my dad Jan. 28th, 2013 bladder cancer. We found out about the tumor April 19th, 2012. Dad was stubborn and thought he could beat this with mind power. Dad refused to get cut because he said the cancer would spread as soon as it hit air. Dad was clausterphobic so he wasn't able to get cat scans, he refused to take any medication to calm him down or ease his pain. The beginning of July his urologist had him convinced this was going to be a simple procedure, in and out and everything would be fine. I never was upset with the urologist for saying this to dad because dad really never allowed them to get the proper test to see what was really going on. All the urologist was going off of was an ultrasound and a X-ray . Finally when dad started to have severe pain and was urinating so much blood, dad decided to have a biopsy done that was early July, 2012. The results were immediate it was confirmed cancer. Dad tried to just deal with the news and drove miles in his truck Dailey so he wouldn't have to talk to us about the cancer. When the pain was so bad and he couldn't handle it anymore he decided to let them do the first surgery. This was to be a simple procedure, dad would be awake during the whole thing and would only need to stay overnight in the hospital. Dad ended up in ICU for 5 days. After surgery they gave Nima huge dinner and he ate it all later that night his heart rate went crazy and they moved him to ICU. From the anesthesia they administered during the simple procedure had caused his digestive system to shut down and all that food they had gave him was turning to acid burning his stomach and other areas inside his body. Dad checked himself out of ICU after 5 days of NPO. The nurses said he would die I'd he went home. Luckily I had stayed the entire time in the ICU and wrote down every medicine they gave him and what it was for and when he needed to take it. When he checked out on his own the hospital refused to give me any medicine or follow up care instructions. I had to get the medicine from a friend of dads who just went through lung cancer and we were finally able to get his digestive system running again. The urologist told us that the cancer had invaded the bladder wall and the tumor was so massive he didn't know the difference from what was tumor and what was bladder. The urologist said he was able to remove 90% of the tumor and would need to go back in a month and remove the other 10%. The urologist said dad would need to meet with an oncologist to have radiation done on the invasive cells but still this was something he would be able to do and still be all right. Once the pain was bone dad decided not to schedule the second surgery then about a month later in Oct. the pain was back with a vengeance. Dad scheduled the second surgery and the news was horrible. The first procedure took al out 2 hours this time the urologist was done in 45 minutes. They said the tumor had consumed the entire bladder and had penetrated into the wall, we would have to wait for test results to see what was next. The news, they said the lymph nodes were swollen in his pelvic and chest area but they would need to do another cat scan to see if it had went to the bones or any other surrounding areas. Dads refused to find out. Mom and dad moved in with my family in November and promised to live through the holidays. Dad died the day after my husbands 40 th birthday. I love and miss his physical presence but I know he is with me spiritually. Especially when I see the red birds he so often talked about that came to visit him everyday before he started his new journey after death. I miss and love you daddy so much!