Stage 4 bowel cancer


No treatment options


My mum has recently been diagnosed with primary bowel, secondary liver cancer. The oncologist turned her down for chemo and surgery, saying that he thought she wasn't strong enough. He also refused to engage in a conversation about alternative therapies that are generally considered to have fewer negative side effects e.g. biological/cyberknife. My mum is 81, she has no other significant health issues. We've been told that she can't get a second opinion - and it feels like no-one at the nhs is interested in helping her anymore. We're confused and frustrated. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it simply agism? Would love to hear about other people's experience of this.

Thank you


Hi, I'm so sorry to read this. It's incredible and sounds insensitive. There is another lady on here who is aged 85 who has just had the surgery -check out @knsue1 posts about her 85 year old Mum. It is wrong of them to say that she can't have a second opinion because she can- it is her right. Ask the GP about it is my advice @JoT. Love Gypsyxx


I would recommend contacting the care oncology clinic as well, and consider marking an appointment with a naturopath, if that’s something your mum would be open to. Hope you get some more optimistic answers soon :x::x:


Oh and it’s none of their business if she gets a 2nd opinion! How dare they! Good luck c


Thank you both, it's nice to hear from you and I will push back on the 2nd opinion. We were told that it's not a given anymore. :x:


I got a 2nd opinion after doing my own research - I would say ask about and book a private consultation if needs be. It’s your lives, they shouldn’t be dictated by anyone but yourselves. :x::x:


@JoT age is just a number and if your mum is fit and willing to try then you guys go for it. Go for that second opinion, bypass your negative Onc and go direct to your GP, explain the whole situation and ask them to refer you. Failing that pay for a private second opinion and you book that appointment yourself, most will refer you either back to your Onc for him to follow their plan or will transfer you over to their NHS. My moto is never leave a stone unturned. I`m sorry you have had such a negative appointment, i think we have all been there at some point, sadly lots do not understand that a feeling of hope and some positivity goes an awfully long way. For us my husband was given a very poor prognosis and given 3years, we are over 2.5 years now and he is doing well........let us know how you get on :x::x::x:


I agree that is wrong to say there is no treatment! :x:


Thank you for your responses, it's good to hear about your experiences. It's such a weird situation to be in, where you feel you have little to no control over anything. We are going to see mum's GP tomorrow, so hoping that we can get a second opinion asap. Thanks again :x::x:


Sorry to hear this @JoT when I was on the chemo ward there was a lady of 80 having chemo! She was also still teaching piano!! Like Gypsy said it's wrong to say you can't have a second opinion. I'd put in a formal complaint to the hospital. If there are other under lying conditions then that's fair enough but if there are not then surely it's your mum's choise. :x:


Hi @JoT sorry to hear of your circumstances and glad you found this forum. I agree with the previous comments, do get a second opinion and if this is rejected complain through PALS (Patient Advisory Liaison Service). I’d be asking the oncologist to explain why he thinks your mum isn’t strong enough if she has no other significant medical issues. If you don’t feel up to this ask your GP. Take care and keep in touch :x::x:


My 81 year old aunt is having aggressive chemo for liver and spleen cancer once shrunk will have surgery she lives in cambridgeshire just finished her 3rd round age doesnt come into it :x::x:


Hi @JoT

When I was in hospital having a huge 10 hour op (Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC) there was an elderly lady in the room next to me and I believe she was 84. I think she had a rocky few days at first. She had the same op as I did (possibly had less removed than me) but she came to the ward from ICU after me and went home much sooner than I did!! Each day I was wandering up and down the corridors and stairs recovering in my pjs, she was up, dressed and out in the sunshine reading her book!! She was a lovely lady and as sharp as a pin! Age is just a number so please seek a second opinion ASAP! Any good, self respecting oncologist would encourage it!

Please keep us posted if you can?

Lots of love



Hello @JoT

Sorry to read about your mum and best get second opinion, but where oncology options are exhausted the Low Dose Naltrexone can be helpful with some cancers and maybe discuss with your doctors too as it has a good safety profile and minimal side effects.

I have left a video that looks at some cases and research, it just costs £30 on private rx

hugs :x::x::x:


Hi there, @JoT the oncologist has said that your mum isn’t strong enough. Do you know that he has based this off of?

Also I hope you and your mum are doing okay and the gp appointment went well.


@JoT sorry that was suppose to say “what he has based this off of?” Sorry to confuse.

Forum user

Hi @JoT
I've been reading this thread and I'm shocked... Anyone who needs medical care should get it, no matter how old, how frail, or weak. The NHS provides all kinds of treatments for all kinds of situations.
I remember our prime minister saying a few months ago that "the NHS is the envy of the world". He probably meant to say "the envy of the third world".
I don't blame the NHS staff as they have been permanently underfunded, understaffed and overstreched. They do their best under incredibly difficult circunstances.
But what you have been told is unacceptable.

Your mum has a right to treatment and a right to a second opinion. Full stop!

The Macmillan Trust will be able to advise you further, give them a ring.


Hello JoT,it's not fair,but this is common thing now,if someone is older they don't want to give treatment.Please go somewhere for second opinion. They need to answer at least why,give the reasons .I hate doctors who are not willing to help. Good luck.:x::x: