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Anyone have any experience of secondary bone cancer?

(10 Posts)
notquitesureagain Wed 25-Nov-15 11:28:52

Just had a call from someone close to me who has just found out they have secondaries (the primary cancer was thyroid), including one patch in the femur. I've read a bit on the NHS website and as far as I can tell the prognosis is pretty bad - treatment seems to be mostly palliative - am I correct or can someone who knows a bit more/has more experience tell me more?

He is very, very down understandably, talking about not caring whether he wakes up tomorrow etc. I just want to be there for him in whatever way is possible - he hasn't got much family around. I'm going to see him tonight but just want to make sure I say the right thing rather than just being pointlessly upbeat and saying 'oh it'll be fine, you're in good hands etc'

Any thoughts/advice much appreciated.

Thank you

darlingbudsofjuly Wed 25-Nov-15 11:31:01

was he treated for primary thyroid cancer? my understanding is that, with some exceptions (and I don't know what they are - not a dr) that thyroid cancer is one of the few where secondaries can be effectively treated, as the radioactive iodine treatment used 'mops up' secondaries in a targeted way.
So sorry to hear about this...

notquitesureagain Wed 25-Nov-15 11:37:39

thanks for taking the time to post - that's really good to hear re thyroid cancer. So yes, he was treated with radioactive iodine first time round. He's having an operation to put some kind of bolt through his femur to strengthen it (because at the moment there's a high risk it will just break). I'll hear more tonight about what other treatment is being recommended to him.

GorillaWar Wed 25-Nov-15 11:44:55

There are many different types of thyroid cancer all with different prognoses and treatments. And again it will depend on what stage it is caught at and a whole host of other factors. So whilst Darling's comment might be true in some cases, it doesn't always follow.

Secondary deposits in bone can be very painful, I'm sorry for your friend. Being there for him as much as you can is the best thing, talk about it if he wants to or provide distraction of that's wanted. Make him dinner and show love. Can you offer lifts to/from appointments and operations? Might be a weighty off his mind if he's worrying about going alone?

All the best

notquitesureagain Wed 25-Nov-15 11:50:49

Thanks Gorilla. I'm pretty stretched time-wise with work/young DC etc so will struggle to be able to offer lifts. But I think I will just try to find out what would be most valuable to him and offer that. My DM is also not well at the moment, having just been diagnosed with Parkinson's and struggling with some kind of ongoing chest problem. She's also on her own so there's quite a lot to juggle.

Appreciate you posting - and it's useful to know about the pain too.

PurpleDaisies Wed 25-Nov-15 12:01:58

I'd be guided by your friend-he might want to pretend it isn't happening and be totally normal. He might want to talk about it.

There's a lot of "you've got to fight" and "keep your chin up-you'll beat this" that isn't always very helpful. My friend has secondary melanoma in bones and brain. The treatment is purely managing pain now and she's said she finds it really hard when people keep saying she'll win her battle with it when she won't. She feels she's letting people down if she doesn't plaster on a fake smile and talking about how she's going to fight cancer to the death (literally). If he wants to be down and moan about the unfairness if it all, let him.

There is no right thing to say-acknowledged you don't know what to say but you really care and want to support your friend is probably the best you can do.

PurpleDaisies Wed 25-Nov-15 12:04:03

Sorry that sounds so negative! Your friend's prognosis might be better, it depends on the type of thyroid cancer. flowers

iwillbemrsminty Wed 25-Nov-15 15:37:48

My DF was diagnosed with secondary bone cancer in late 1997 and sadly passed away in September 1999, they never did actually diagnose where his primary tumour was located but suspected lungs (from years of smoking cigars). He had several bone breaks during his long drawn out sessions of radiotherapy and did have pins placed in one arm and both legs in an attempt to strengthen them. I'm sorry to say but it is cruel, he suffered massively and the majority of the battle was pain management. As Purple said, just be there. Some days he may want to talk about how he's feeling, others he may not and may just want to be 'normal'. There's no right and wrong but just showing you care and being there will be mean the most. Maybe have a look on Macmillan website and/or, you will find advice and information which might answer some of your questions. flowers for you and your dear friend.

RatherBeRiding Wed 25-Nov-15 15:44:26

My late DM was diagnosed with secondary bone cancer, following breast cancer. However, she was in her 80s and it was (correctly) predicted that she would die with the cancer rather than from it, given her age and how slowly it progresses at that age.

She did have a fair bit of pain but it wasn't constant, and I seem to remember she might have had a pin in one arm, but - possibly because of how slowly it progressed - it was never that bad and became something she just lived with.

notquitesureagain Wed 25-Nov-15 17:55:35

Thanks, everyone - it's really helpful to hear of other people's experiences. Much appreciated. I think he's very much thinking in terms of making life now as comfortable as possible rather than 'beating' it as such. Since my OP I've found out that there is a patch in his spine, which sounds as though it might be especially problematic. I'll know more when I've seen him in person.

Anyway, thank you again for the advice and support

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