Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Worried about my mum - cancer, or could it be something less sinister?

(22 Posts)
digerd Fri 23-Aug-13 07:11:53

That was a lot of weight your mum lost, but being 12 stone before was probably not noticable at first.
I was only 7 stone 9 at 5'2" when I began to lose weight and went down to 5stone 3 - didn't go any lower as my brain was telling my appetite to eat high calorie food and constantly. Which I did.
DR said that saved my life. He also said it must have been developing over a few years as it does not happen over night.
It could have started when your dad had cancer as you said she did not cope with that very well.

Hope she soon recovers.

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 22:42:02

<<so very very happy for you>> xx

AppleYumYum Thu 22-Aug-13 22:02:06

Oh I am so pleased to hear it is not the dreaded C. grin I hope she gives up too, a little health overhaul to celebrate. She'll be feeling much better once they start treating her and will put on some weight.

KurriKurri Thu 22-Aug-13 21:06:46

Ali - I'm so pleased for your mum and you - what a relief smile - I've got graves disease (over active thyroid) and although it can take a little while to get the balance of medication right, once she starts treatment she will feel a whole lot better (one of the symptoms of overactive thyroid is feeling anxious, and depressed, so that will have added to her anxiety about what was actually wrong with her)
The weight loss with hyperthyroidism can be pretty dramatic.

I had carbimazole like Digerd, then radioactive iodine treatment, hope they get your mum's treatment sorted soon and she starts to feel better asap smile

digerd Thu 22-Aug-13 20:54:16

I had an overactive Thyroid in my 20s - it does affect younger women mainly- and I lost lots of weight, but also had loads of other problems. I don't know of any women your DM's age who got it.
It is not known what causes it, but is possible a trauma can set it off.

My treatment was carbimazole to slow the Thyroid down, and then a sub-total Thyroidectomy but it was decades ago . Your DMs age and any other symptoms will be taken into consideration.

Thank goodness it was not lung cancer smile.
I was sent to an endocrinologist for my treatment but also had other tests before treatment started.
All the best for her.

AliBingo Thu 22-Aug-13 20:13:26

Well after all that, she has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism which was a massive relief compared with the alternatives! Chest X ray clear.

She has lost so much weight though (and seems quite frail, she went from 11 stone something to less than 8 stone).

She has sworn to give up smoking, let's hope she manages it.

Thanks so much for the replies on here, you are all so kind! x

triplets Thu 22-Aug-13 15:14:22

Am thinking of you both today Ali x

AliBingo Tue 20-Aug-13 11:13:30

Yes, thanks Kurrikurri, I think you are right.

Triplets thanks for your reply and sorry to hear that your DH has been so ill, it must have been very difficult for you all, sounds like an amazing outcome though, I hope he stays in remission (after so many years in remission can you say you are cured or is it always called remission, I don't know the terminology sorry).

I wonder if it's true that a positive attitude can help? I am worried how my mum would cope with a bad diagnosis.

Anyway I have to try and stop thinking about it (impossible!) and wait until Thursday really.


triplets Tue 20-Aug-13 07:33:09

Wise words from Kurrikuri, cancer is a very scary thing but always always better to seek medical advice as early as possible. My dh had early symptoms in 2007, after 8 weeks of ignoring them he finally went to the doctor. 8 weeks later we were told he had bowel cancer which had already spread to his liver, stage 4. That's almost 6years ago, after many ops, chemo he is currently in remission since a tiny tumour appeared on his lung 18 months ago and was removed. It may not be curable.................but certainly can be treatable..........never give up. I hope Mums news is not as bad as you are fearing . xx

AliBingo Mon 19-Aug-13 20:56:26

Thanks for your replies.

AppleYumYum I am so sorry to hear about your Mum sad I think my Mum might be hiding symptoms as well, she certainly takes quite a lot of Ibuprofen and has mentioned odd pains in the shoulder etc in the past. Mum's cough sounds similar too, doesn't sound really terrible just quite bad if you see what I mean. I am terrified that if it's bad, things could progress quickly. I am also scared about how my parents will come to terms with it. Dad has gone from being worried to saying earlier today that it'll probably be a case of a few extra pills.

Digerd thanks for the info re X-rays, sorry to hear that your DH went through this. Must be awful to have seemingly good news of a clear X ray that turns out to be bad news after all.

Right I am off to drink wine and try and get some sleep (hardly slept last night, neither did Mum and Dad I don't expect).

digerd Mon 19-Aug-13 17:23:07

A word of advice. If nothing shows up on the x-ray, just incase, she should have a bronchial endoscopy. Anything behind the heart will not show as the heart throws a shadow on the X-ray image.
That happened to my DH.

It could be emphysema or bad bronchitis. A heart problem can also cause weight loss and cough. Doesn't have to be cancer.

Normally x-ray results take 2 weeks in our area.

AppleYumYum Mon 19-Aug-13 16:28:03

Ali sending you postitive thoughts. My Mum died of lung cancer just under 2 years ago. Heavy smoker all her life and had a cough but nothing awful like she was going to bring up a lung or something, lost a lot of weight as you describe. She was in a lot of pain but hid it from us, she knew something was very wrong I think. I wish she had done something about it sooner, I know what you mean, I still feel angry about that looking back, a lot of what ifs....

You have done a great job getting her to the GP and referred for a chest x-ray, that is the first big step. It may be nothing and be due to some other imbalance due to her diabetes, it is good to have a good check up anyway. But if it is the dreaded C then the best thing is to find out the extent and start treatment. flowers

AliBingo Mon 19-Aug-13 15:43:25

Thanks for your reply. The waiting is awful and of course we don't know how much we'll even find out on Thursday. I know Mum did well to go to GP but I feel quite cross she didn't go months ago sad

KurriKurri Mon 19-Aug-13 15:20:39

Ali - sending loads of good thoughts your way, - waiting for results is horrible.
I hope very much that it is not bad news for your mum, but if it is then at least she will have access to treatment now. She was very brave to go to the GP - it is a hard thing to do when you are frightened. xx

AliBingo Mon 19-Aug-13 13:24:11

Just thought I'd do a quick update. After a month, we were finally able to persuade her to go to the GP last Friday, he sent Mum straight to the hospital for a chest X-ray to check for lung cancer and she has had blood tests this morning. She has an appointment with the GP on Thursday so hopefully we will know more then.

I am terrified it will be bad news but I suppose there's no point speculating until she's been to the doctor on Thursday.

Dad admitted to me at the weekend that at her diabetic check-up in March, it was noted that she had lost a lot of weight, so it seems like this has been going on rather a long time sad

Davsmum Wed 07-Aug-13 14:43:00

My mum was exactly in that position -but she was only in her fifties at the time - She was a heavy drinker and smoker.
She DID have emphysema, which we were sort of aware of but it turned out she had crohns disease - thats why she lost so much weight. They were able to control that with initially surgery and then medication.

cafenoir Wed 07-Aug-13 01:03:55

Recently, a neighbour of mine went through a similar thing in that he couldn't get his wife to go to the GP. She had all sorts of dreadful sounding symptoms and was obviously too scared to find out what was going on. This went on for 10 weeks with her getting sicker and sicker until her husband phoned the GP and a doctor came out on a home visit that day and had her admitted to hospital. It wasn't cancer but there was a whole host of weird and wonderful things that had to be sorted as a matter of urgency. She was furious when the GP turned up at the house and was like a tantrumy 2 year old, but he was obviously very good at defusing such situations and calming anxious patients.

It might be an option to try get the GP to the house instead of your Mum to the GP.

AliBingo Tue 06-Aug-13 17:51:07

Thanks for the replies, it helps to talk about it. I am not very close to my mum, she was an alcoholic for many years (hope that statement doesn't out me) so it's hard for me to talk to her about this, especially because she gets so defensive. She has also always been afraid of going to the doctor.

My Dad is the opposite and he had cancer 5 years ago, but he was diagnosed early and we think it has all gone. Mum didn't cope very well at all with him being ill.

Cafenoir, thanks, I may mention thyroid as a possibility, because if I say that it could be something serious I know she will get really defensive and close down, she will think I am writing her off or something.

Trouble is I really feel something's seriously not right because she is so so thin now and she hasn't ever been thin like this, even over the really bad drinking years when she'd skip most meals. She is so inactive too so it's not like she is burning off the calories.

Kurrikurri thanks for sharing your story and I hope that you are in good health now, what a scary thing it must be to go through. What you say is absolutely right, Mum really mustn't ignore it, she needs to get checked out. I think you are right too that once you have a diagnosis you can move forward so in a way that is less worrying.

I will try again to persuade my Dad to get her to go to the doctor, my brother has said he will mention it when he visits next week too so fingers crossed she listens. I will try and talk to her about it too but will see how they get on first as she's more likely to listen to them.

It's hard because I am quite different to her so I would tend to go to the GP early just to find out, it would eat me up with worry otherwise (I did this with a breast lump which thankfully was benign but I was very stressed and worried about it at the time, yet still felt compelled to see the doctor) so I find it hard to understand her position and therefore hard to reason with her.

I will update this thread if she does ever go to the GP...

purplewithred Tue 06-Aug-13 17:41:43

Yes she needs to go to the doctor. It could be all sorts of things, a chest infection that could be fixed with antibiotics, a thyroid issue, copd, all treatable/can be relieved with treatment.

KurriKurri Tue 06-Aug-13 17:33:07

Gosh how worrying for you, I imagine she is very scared, poor lady and thinking the very worst, and too frightened to go to the doctor.

I know its awfully hard to hear, but there is no point in anyone saying 'it is nothing, all will be well' because unexplained weight loss and a persistant cough are causes for concern. It may not be anything sinister, but it may be. Only a doctor and tests can tell her and you what is going on.

The thing is that cancer is treatable, - sometimes, though not always curable, but often treatment can give people a good quality of life. I have a good friend who has been living with inoperable lung cancer for the last two years, it is being controlled and he has a good quality of life.
Cancer is a scary word, but if you leave it and ignore it, it will get worse, diagnosed and treated, you have a chance.

I've had cancer, and I know how scared your mum is, I put off going to the doctor and it was a foolish thing to do. I'm sorry to be blunt and I don't want to cause you any pain, but you are right to be worried, give your mum as much support as you can, see if you can get her to go to the GP with you going along to support her.
GP will probably send her for scans and x rays and then you have to take it a step at a time from there.

Having had cancer, I can tell you that the not knowing and worrying is in many ways harder than actually dealing with a diagnosis, because while you don't know what is going on, you worry but don't move forward.


cafenoir Tue 06-Aug-13 16:11:08

What a worry. Yes she totally does need to go to the GP. It sounds as if she's scared to go. Can you talk to her and say you'll go with and that you knew someone who had similar symptoms and it was thyroid etc etc? If a bit of a fib is needed then so bit it under the circumstances. And it COULD be thyroid so technically not a fib at all.

The main thing is to get her through the doors (or if that really isn't happening, to phone her GP, explain the situation and ask them to visit her at home.)

Hope you manage to get her seen and for the best possible outcome.

AliBingo Tue 06-Aug-13 14:04:59

Mum is 70 and has lost a lot of weight over the last two or three months. She used to weight 12 stone and be a size 16 or 18 and now she is in size 10 trousers, she looks really scrawny with skinny baggy arms, no bottom, even her bust looks much smaller. She has no energy either.

She has had a cough for ages but I think it has got worse. She is a heavy smoker.

She is also diabetic.

She won't go to the doctors and I am scared for her.

Am worrying she has lung cancer or something.

Wondered if there is anything she could have which would cause these symptoms but not be serious iyswim? Maybe I could persuade her to go to the doctor if I told her it could be something easily fixable.

Not sure why I am posting really, it helps to get it written down I guess, but really she needs to go to the GP doesn't she.

Thanks for reading.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now