How Long You Can Live With Stage 4 Stomach Cancer

I'm trying to find out how long you can live with stage 4 stomach cancer? 

My father was 52 years old when he died from this tumor. I was a child at the time, but am now of similar age to him and have also been diagnosed with stage four disease.

I was told the diagnosis in the spring after investigations by my doctor. At the time I was offered chemotherapy. 

After careful consideration I declined this as I didn't think it was right for me. 

What I don’t know is how long I am going to live and none of the doctors have given me any idea of this either. 

I would really like at least a ball park figure and hope that you might be able to give me some help with this? Thank you. Kay, USA

Understanding How Long You Can Live With Stage 4 Stomach Cancer

What can I say? I am so sorry to hear of your terminal illness. You are very brave in deciding not to have treatment and to allow the disease to take its natural course.

At the age of 52 years, you are quite young to have this condition and it does raise the possibility that you may have an inherited form, particularly as you father was of similar age.

That been said, if you have any children, I would strongly advise that you are checked for the CDH1 or cadherin gene mutation.

If you have this, they will know that they are at potential risk and could be tested for the gene too.

It would then allow them to be put into a surveillance program or to even consider ‘prophylactic gastrectomy’ to prevent the tumor occurring.

As for your specific question, most doctors don't give you an answer to this because there are so many different variables that can determine life span, even when you don't have chemotherapy.

First, some people do survive the disease – there is a 5 year survival of approximately 4%, although I suspect most of these are in individuals who have had treatment.

A 1 year survival is approximately 25% or a 1 in 4 chance of reaching the 12 months.

Because you are young and presumably otherwise fit it may be even longer than this figure. 

If you have any other illnesses these may also have a bearing on life span as well as how nourished you are and how much spread there has been to date.

For example, you can be stage 4 and only have one metastasis or secondary tumor in another organ and equally you have multiple secondary tumors which are likely to hasten things.

What you should always consider is this, no one really knows how long they have to live and in my experience, this is something that shouldn't be of primary concern as it is the manner in which you live your life that matters whether you have the condition or not.

I am often asked by relatives the ‘how long question’ so they can try to have quality months with their loved one, but in reality, shouldn't this be happening anyway regardless of the illness?

Hopefully I have given you some insight in to your question about how long you can live with stage 4 stomach cancer and wish you well in the difficult times ahead.

Fatima's Comment:

I’m so sorry you are going through this illness. I write to you with tears in my eyes because my mom went through the same thing. She was also diagnosed with late gastric malignancy.

Doctors don’t say how long you are going to live because they don’t know but what they do know is that it’s a terminal illness and the prognosis is poor. My mother may rest her soul had it.

However she chose to do the chemo and total gastrectomy and still suffered. Both prolonged her life for 2 months however she suffered and I suffered.

I'm very sad and I cry every day my mom is no longer with me. All I can say to you is please be strong. I feel for you and I will pray for you and all that have the same illness. I love you all and wish you strength just like I did for my mom when she was still with me. Fatima

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