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

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 Answer

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.