When people die of cancer what actually kills them? Do chemotherapy agents accelerate death in some instances?
That’s a first cut at an answer. Lots of ways.
Previous thread on this topic, with some good info: How does cancer kill you?
From that thread:
I’ve heard that one common mechanism is that tumors outgrow their blood supply, so that down in the center of the tumor (where the shortfall is worst) cells die. The mass of dead tissue there decomposes, which poisons the blood supply.
Other posters have covered the first part pretty thoroughly. To answer your second question, yes sometimes the side-effects of chemotherapy can result in death. Many types of chemotherapy weaken the immune system, and the gastrointestinal side effects can worsen malnutrition, making the patient more prone to infections which can kill. However, even in terminal patients chemotherapy can do good by extending life and giving the patient more time to live. It can also improve quality of life by reducing tumour burden, and hence reducing pain and other problems caused by the tumour(s) themselves.
The benefits vs the risks need to be weighed up individually for each patient and are often continuously re-asssessed, depending on things like side-effects and evidence of how well it’s working. It’s not uncommon for treatment to be temporarily suspended, for example if blood tests show that white cell count is too low, or stopped completely, for example if scans show the tumour(s) are not shrinking or have grown.
Not everyone is ready to read about what happens when someone is dying. . .
Those people aren’t likely to do a search that returns a five year old thread discussing the issue.
Welcome to the board AbbyF. You have revived what is called a Zombie thread, one that hasn’t been discussed for several years. Generally we don’t bring these back up unless we have something to add to the original question.
Sounds like you may be searching for answers to questions that you didn’t really want to know details about but needed to know.
That was a nicer way to put it.
This also the 4th or 5th cancer related zombie thread that **AbbyF **has revived since joining a few weeks ago.
AbbyF, as has been pointed out, you have been reviving old cancer threads for no good reason. While we permit the revival of old threads in order to add new information, we prefer that you not do so pointlessly. If you do this again, you may be subject to an official warning. This thread is closed.
General Questions Moderator