Pretty much what the subject says: how, actually, does a person die from cancer? I know cancer can start in any number of places, but when it metastasizes and kills a person, is the overall process the same? Or does it vary?
If I remember correctly from the book How We Die, the cancer cells take over an organ (brain, lung, liver, whatever) and replace the healthy cells, till that organ can no longer function.
I’m not sure how blood-borne cancers work . . . Medical types, am I anywhere near correct?
Based on what I learned when my mother was dying, I believe it can take four forms:
- Specific organ failure – the tumors in the lungs, liver, pancreas or whatever grow so large that they interfere with the organ’s normal functioning.
2)Weakened immune system – this may be more caused by chemo or radiation therapy, but I believe even without the therapy, malignancies can weaken the immune system enough that the patient becomes unable to deal with secondary infections.
Overall weakness – the tumors place so much stress on the bodies ability to supply oxygen, nourishment, etc. that the patient simply can’t provide for his/her own metabolic needs anymore.
Pain – depending on the tumor, the pain can become so severe that the patient no longer can eat, leading to malnutrition and dehydration. A general weakened condition follows.
Exactly how does cancer kill. See also the thread cited therein.
Thanks, Karl. I feel sheepish for not searching.