What kind of cancer can kill you in two days?

I was just reading the thread about the death of Lemmy, and the articles about it mention that he died of an “aggressive form” of cancer and he was only diagnosed two days prior to his death.

What kind of cancer can kill you that fast? :eek:

Now, obviously, I know he must have had it before it was diagnosed, but for whatever reason he didn’t actually find out he had it until two days before he died. I was just curious about what flavors of the disease are that aggressive, to go from “not enough symptoms to make you get checked out” to “dead” in two days?

Lemmy didn’t exactly live a healthy lifestyle. It’s possible that his “everyday aches and pains” were at such a severe level, symptoms that would be a screaming red flag in average people, didn’t stand out enough until the complete failure stage.

It’s also possible that he decided his life was over except for the pain and suffering and brought his life to an end himself.

There are several rare types of leukemia that can kill a person that fast, from onset of symptoms to death.

One of my old colleagues had a relative who was taken to the ER with symptoms of a stroke, and (long story made short) we all thought that hospital was sitting on a multi-million dollars lawsuit, until the lab and autopsy results came back several days later. He had a type of leukemia that is diagnosed about 10 times a year in the United States and has never had a chemo protocol devised, because nobody has ever lived long enough for doctors to come up with one.

My mother died of a brain tumor very fast. Not two days, but under two weeks from perfect healthy, “I have a peristent headache” to dead. They operated to remove it almost immediately, and I recall they said it doubled in size between the first scan and the operation, which must have been less than 2 days. I’m not sure of the absolute size of the tumor, but it seems astonishing that any significant mass of tissue could grow that fast.

Not all cancer causes agonizing pain or clear symptoms. It’s possible for a tumor to grow for years before causing overt symptoms. Ovarian cancer (which obviously Lemmy didn’t have) is notorious for that, as well as some leukemias.

So, probably, what happened was that the cancer was growing for years but not affecting anything that would alert pain nerves. It wasn’t until it caused some sort of symptom that he went to a doctor, and as noted it may have required significant pain or dysfunction to rise above the baseline every day aches and pains.

If it shuts down your liver or eats away at the wall of major blood vessel until it ruptures you have die extremely quickly.

I don’t know what kind of cancer Lemmy was diagnosed with, or how long it was acting on him before being diagnosed, but his health has been failing for at least the last year or 2. He’d lost a bunch of weight, and was not in a good state to fight anymore.

Someone who claimed to have drunk a bottle of Jack Daniels every day for a long time might not have had a huge liver reserve to bank on.

Lemmy sounds like he achieved the fantasy - live fast, die at 70, leave a ravaged corpse.

He’ll be missed.

That sounds like suicide. But another option is that he simply gave up. Health care workers see that all the time with terminally ill people. They aren’t necessarily in any worse shape than they were two weeks earlier, but they simply decide not to fight anymore.

I had a tumor on one ovary that went from pea sized to golf ball sized in 30 days [diagnosis to the second imaging session, then it was 8 days until surgery, mrAru almost didn’t make it home from the deployment in time, that is how insistent they were at scheduling me for the next available slot. With long term PCOS, I got ultrasounded once a year. Left me with one ovary unil a few years ago when the other one went all frisky and needed to be removed and then I had the hysterectomy. I sort of wished I had the hysterectomy 30 years ago and avoided the whole mess.]

On the other hand, it took whichever form of leukemia my sister had 3 years to finally kill her. [one of the only pictures of her I have has her incredibly moonfaced, she was one of the test subjects for cortisone and prednisone I seem to remember my Mom telling me.]

I know a guy who went into the hospital for shoulder surgery and got wheeled out dead - his widow was starting up a lawsuit when the autopsy came back lung cancer.

According to this article, he went in for a checkup because he wasn’t feeling well, and they decided to do a brain scan because his speech was a little odd and they thought he might have had a minor stroke. Instead, they found cancer in his brain and neck, and gave him two to six months.

Whoa. The radio this morning made it sound like he just didn’t announce the cancer until he was near death. I didn’t realize he literally went from “going to the doctor” to “dead” in just a couple of days :eek:

I knew a woman who had symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke and was believed to have a ruptured brain aneurysm. When they got in there to clip it, they discovered an inoperable malignant brain tumor, and she died about a week later without ever regaining consciousness. She was about 60 years old.

I also have a Facebook friend, a childhood playmate, who was widowed a few years ago. Her husband went to the doctor because he was having headaches, and on a Monday, he was diagnosed with cancer (I don’t know what kind of cancer he had). He had his first radiation treatment on Friday, and that evening, he fell asleep on the couch and never woke up. He was in his mid 50s.


It’s not necessarily suicide; they don’t want to do any more life-prolonging treatments, because they know a cure isn’t going to happen. Whenever people say this, their wishes must be respected, and in many cases, that patient is right. That’s even true for young children.

Two other examples.

My BFF’s mother had signet-ring cell carcinoma, which accounts for less than 1% of colon cancers and usually has no symptoms until it’s too late to do anything. When she was evaluated for metastasis, they discovered that she also had a benign brain tumor, and died before everyone agreed on which was the higher priority.

Also, my dad had a friend who was urinating blood for several months and managed to keep it from his wife until he started losing weight, at which time he finally saw a doctor and he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He had the tumor removed, along with most of his bladder, and died a few days later from post-surgical complications. I still think he spared himself and his family a lot of misery by doing things this way.

Knowing males (including me) he probably didn’t go to the doctor much, and he was probably afraid of what they would find.

He had been canceling shows and ending shows early because he didn’t feel up to it. Reading his “I can’t do it” quote from the early end of one show really got to me.

To be clearer than some others, it’s my unlearned opinion is that no type of cancer can kill you from onset to death in 2 days. There might be a few viral or bacterial diseases that can kill you that fast, but I don’t know of any.

From learning you have the condition to a death two days later is surely possible.

This article, albeit from the NY Daily News (although quoting what seems to be a credible and verifiable source), says it’s extremely rare. The article states that it’s also odd that he would be released to go home in such a dire straight rather than to hospice care, although the patient’s wishes would be respected if going home was what he wanted to do.

Another thing that has me leaning toward suicide is the one day delay attempted by the band’s official sources before his death was publicly announced, as though some time was desired to cobble together a reason other than suicide for public release.

It wasn’t necessarily suicide. My feeling is that after learning the dire news, Lemmy decided to re-indulge in “his other little favorites” (quoting the Blabbermouth article) and miscalculated what his new tolerance level was at. Heck, if you learned you had untreatable fatal cancer, wouldn’t you want one last big hurrah?

Very good points and a definite possibility. Lemmy’s just struck me as a pretty pragmatic and matter-of-fact kind of guy who might well decide to end it all once nothing lies ahead but pain, suffering and wasting away. That impression is why I’ve tended toward suicide, but I think your take is more both more likely and a better way to go.