Relatives and friends


My Dad just diagnosed but heart probably too weak for surgery

Due to existing health problems my dad is having the pre operative tests but they said it's very unlikely he would survive an operation. Everything seems to be moving so slowly and now they've gone from saying its a small 3cm tumour which hasn't spread to saying to it looks as though it's larger than they thought and might block the bowel so he will need surgery. He is 79 and in very poor health anyway (calcified heart valves, CRVO in eyes so almost blind, anaemia, breathless so can't walk - all in all poor quality of life) but he's refusing to talk about it at all and just says "I'll do whatever I'm told". Has anyone else had other treatment without the surgery? I'm presuming that radiotherapy alone won't cure him but would it keep it at bay to give him more time? My mum and I have tried to read all the info from the hospital but feeling bewildered....


Hello and welcome @newuser . Lots to think about here so I will leave my considered reply until later, but just sending lots of sympathy and understanding.


That's really awful @newuser. I don't know anything about patients having other conditions which mean surgery might be risky but have heard of people older than your dad surviving surgery for bowel cancer. I hope others can advise you - seem to remember others talking about treatment other than surgery.


Hi there. Firstly I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. We are in a slightly different situation but my dad’s tumour is inoperable due to location so surgery not an option for him. He was diagnosed December 2016 for the second time. He had 12 rounds of chemo last year and has been off for about 6 months. He has mets in his spine and lung but they are not overly concerned about those. Last scan results showed a growth in the original tumour so he now needs 5 sessions of radiotherapy and another 12 weeks of chemo. He has coped amazingly well. We know he won’t be cured but he’s doing ok and his quality of life is relatively good. He turned 70 last year and is still going strong. The treatment for your dad will be the most appropriate for his type of disease - it’s a good idea to write down all the questions you have before any meetings with doctors - it’s easy to get overwhelmed with information. This forum is great for support and help.


Hi @newuser so sorry to read about your lovely dad and that's a terrible place to be told inoperable and I've experienced that too as a stage four patient, you've my full sympathy as this must be terribly difficult for you.

From what I surmise he has stenosis of the heart valves which means that they are not as flexible or rubbery to allow normal flow of blood through the coronary veins and arteries, which can be very common in the elderly, anaemia and shortness of breath at rest means that these multiple factors or co-morbidities put him at risk of not surviving a general anaesthetic, so no operation. He would be at risk of cardio-pulmonary failure.

I'm so sorry but it maybe worth getting a second opinion.

Hugs and prayers for you and your dad :x::x::x:


Thank you so much for your kind words. We will hope to find out if there are other treatment options next week after the anaesthetist assessment but surgery seems like a terrible risk.


dear @newuser - my piece of advice is whoever is going with your dad next week, to take a recording of the consultation, as so many questions and answers are not heard or absorbed. Most mobile phones can be used for this - I downloaded the App AudioMemos for 99p and it works extremely well, can even be sent by email so that the rest of the family can hear what has been said. Wishing you and your family all the best.


Hi @newuser

I hope the others' replies have helped to clarify your thoughts and that you feel a bit more prepared for this week's assessment.

My father was in his 80's when he was diagnised with biwel cancer. Luckily he coped reasonably well with the bowel operation but not with the subsequent issues of the ileostomy and poor general health.

It was a miserable time for all of us. But with hindsight i wish I had found out a lot more about the whole situation (which is what you are doing) . And I wish I had concentrated on ensuring that he was comfortable and happy (rather than always expecting more medical intervention)

Best wishes to all of you for the next appointment. :x:


Hi. We were in the same situation but my husband is 64. He has aortic stenosis and the surgeon did not want to operate until he had a full round of tests which took 3 months to complete. He had heart tests and lung tests. In the end the operation took place but it was at a greater risk to him. He was ok but it was a very worrying time. He is now on the waiting list for a new heart valve. I am sorry about your dad and I hope they can go ahead with some form of treatment for him. Take care. :x::x: