Saturday, February 17, 2024

End-stage Liver Cancer Symptoms Before Death

Weeks Before Death Symptoms

10 Signs of a Dying Liver (End Stage Liver Disease)

Several weeks before death, your loved one may start exhibit a range of behavioral changes relating to their sleeping patterns, eating habits and sociability. They may begin to sleep more often and for longer periods. They will start to refuse foods that are difficult to eat or digest, but eventually they will refuse all solid foods. Do not try to force them to eat, as it will only bring discomfort to them. Your loved one may enjoy ice during this time, since it will keep them cool while also hydrating them.

Unfortunately, your loved one may become withdrawn, less active and less communicative. They may spend more time alone introspecting and may turn down company. Some also appear to become comatose and unresponsive, but this is a symptom of withdrawal. Your loved one can still hear you, so speak in a calm, reassuring voice while holding their hand. Children may become more talkative, even if they withdraw from other activities. Its important to let your loved one set their own pace during this time. Your loved one may also start to use metaphorical language, which could be a way of coping with death. It may also be used to allude to a task they feel they need to accomplish, such as seeking forgiveness.

Common symptoms in this period also include physical changes, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Swelling of the abdomen, such as edema or ascites

Confusion Restlessness And Agitation

As death approaches, some people become confused and agitated. When people are confused, what they say may have no real meaning. They may see things that are not there. This can be very difficult for families to see and for you to experience. Your family should remember that this isnt who you are. This is from the disease and whats happening to your body.

Sometimes confusion leads to feeling threatened. A confused person may accuse family members of stealing or doing other bad things. Again, this symptom is part of the illness and should be treated.

Some people may feel restless. Different things can cause restlessness, including pain. It may also happen on its own. These symptoms can vary in intensity.


Healthcare providers treat confusion and agitation by addressing the underlying cause when possible. There may be many causes for these symptoms at the end of life. Whatever the cause, the symptoms must be treated. Usually this involves medications that help to calm you. The medications may also help you think more clearly.

Things your family can do

Acute Liver Failure Treatment

Acute liver failure is often treated in a hospitals intensive care unit . Youll receive supportive care to help stabilize your condition and help you manage any complications during treatment and recovery.

If a healthcare professional suspects a medication overdose or reaction, they may give you drugs to reverse the effects. A doctor may also recommend a liver transplant for some people with acute liver failure.

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Physical Changes And Symptoms

The physical changes and symptoms that happen can vary. On this page we describe physical changes that generally happen in the last few weeks of life.

As you become less well, your doctor or nurse will review your medicines. They may stop some if you do not need them any more. If you have new symptoms, your doctor or nurse may prescribe new medicines to manage them. Medicines can be changed as often as you need. Some people also find complementary therapies help .

Less Desire For Food Or Drink

End Stage Liver Disease Symtpoms Before Death

Hospice patients may want to eat, but experience difficulty swallowing or with nausea. Medications and disease can also change the taste of food.

Food is often associated with nurturing and keeping up our strength. For many people approaching death, food can cause stomach and digestive problems. Avoid forced or pressured eating by allowing loved ones to eat softened versions of food, when they want it. As the body transitions to active dying, it often signals it has less need for food.

The issue of nutrition is probably one of the most guilt-inducing and emotionally charged issues for patients and families, said Synthia Cathcart, R.N., BSN. There will come a time when a patient no longer feels any desire to eat. No matter how upsetting to the family, the patient should not be pressured or forced into eating.


Offer small meals to those who still have a desire to eat. Serve meals during a time when patients experience less pain or agitation. Travel mugs with a straw enable patients to drink on their own schedule. If someone is refusing food or drink, flavored or plain ice chips can keep the mouth moist.

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Care That Supports A Patient’s Spiritual Health May Improve Quality Of Life

A spiritual assessment is a method or tool used by doctors to understand the role that religious and spiritual beliefs have in the patient’s life. This may help the doctor understand how these beliefs affect the way the patient copes with cancer and makes decisions about cancer treatment.

Serious illnesses like cancer may cause patients or family caregivers to have doubts about their beliefs or religious values and cause spiritual distress. Some studies show that patients with cancer may feel anger at God or may have a loss of faith after being diagnosed. Other patients may have feelings of spiritual distress when coping with cancer. Spiritual distress may affect end-of-life decisions and increase depression.

Doctors and nurses, together with social workers and psychologists, may be able to offer care that supports a patient’s spiritual health. They may encourage patients to meet with their spiritual or religious leaders or join a spiritual support group. This may improve patients’ quality of life and ability to cope. When patients with advanced cancer receive spiritual support from the medical team, they are more likely to choose hospice care and less aggressive treatment at the end of life.

For more information, see Spirituality in Cancer Care.

Weight Gain And High Cholesterol

As the liver is largely responsible for burning fat and regulating metabolism, when it becomes damaged, unwanted weight gain can often occur. Youll tend to notice this weight gain in the abdominal area, which is often referred to as a pot belly, or you may develop a roll of fat at the upper abdomen, which can be a sign of fatty liver.

Additionally, liver damage may also cause you to develop high cholesterol, because the organ will not produce enough good cholesterol, which travels out of the liver to scavenge the unhealthy cholesterol from the blood vessel walls, according to As a result, there is an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

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What Does The Beginning Stages Of Cancer Feel Like

Stage I the cancer is at an early stage and is rather small and confined. Stage II the cancer is larger than Stage I, but still confined to its original site. Stage III Localized invasion. Stage IV Metastatic disease.

What are the symptoms of final stage of cancer?

What are the symptoms of late stage cancer? Other common symptoms of late-stage cancer include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, skin problems , mouth problems and frequent constipation.

What to expect in the last stage of cancer?

Organ-Specific Signs and Symptoms. Organ-specific symptoms frequently occur when cancer progresses to the final stage.

  • Mental and Interpersonal Changes.
  • What Are The Signs That Death Is Approaching And What Can The Caregiver Do To Make The Person Comfortable During This Time

    Compassionate Treatment for End Stage Liver Disease

    Certain signs and symptoms can help a caregiver anticipate when death is near. They are described below, along with suggestions for managing them. However, each persons experience at the end of life is different. What may happen to one person may not happen for another. Also, the presence of one or more of these symptoms doesnt necessarily mean that the patient is close to death. A member of the health care team can give family members and caregivers more information about what to expect.

    Withdrawal from friends and family:

    • People often focus inward during the last weeks of life. This doesnt necessarily mean that patients are angry or depressed or that they dont love their caregivers. It could be caused by decreased oxygen to the brain, decreased blood flow, or mental preparation for dying.
    • They may lose interest in things they used to enjoy, such as favorite TV shows, friends, or pets.
    • Caregivers can let the patient know they are there for support. The person may be aware and able to hear, even if they are unable to respond. Experts advise that giving them permission to let go may be helpful. If they do feel like talking, they may want to reminisce about joys and sorrows, or tie up loose ends.

    Sleep changes:

    Hard-to-control pain:

    Increasing weakness:

    Appetite changes:


    The dying process:

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    How Much Painkiller You Will Need

    You might worry you will need to take increasing doses of strong painkillers as you near the end of your life. It is important to remember not everyone will have pain that gets worse. There is no right dose of morphine. The right dose is the dose that helps your pain.

    Specialist palliative care doctors and nurses have lots of experience in managing pain. They can help make sure you have the right dose of painkillers to control your pain, without too many side effects. Your GP or cancer doctor can refer you to a specialist.

    How To Help Your Loved One With Cancer

    As a family caregiver, you can offer further support at the end of the patients lifeboth emotional and practical.

    There are the practicalities of finances to consider. You should talk to the patient about their financial plan and should also help them make sure that any legal affairs are in order.

    As well as helping the patient deal with these practical manners, you should also speak with them to see how they would prefer to live out their final weeks and days with cancer. You can help arrange for hospice care, help plan their funeral, or perhaps offer to help them live out a lifelong dream to make their final days on earth that bit brighter.

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    Section I: Cancer Diagnoses

  • Disease with distant metastases at presentation OR
  • Progression from an earlier stage of disease to metastatic disease with either:
  • a continued decline in spite of therapy
  • patient declines further disease directed therapy
  • Note: Certain cancers with poor prognoses may be hospice eligible without fulfilling the other criteria in this section.

    Physical And Occupational Therapy

    i was told my son had depression in fact he had liver failure

    A physical or occupational therapist can work with your family members. Your therapist can teach your family how to:

    • Position and turn you in your bed and chairs.
    • Adjust your position to make you comfortable.
    • Help you transfer safely from bed to chair or from bed to commode.
    • Do passive exercises for your arms and legs. These can help you maintain some strength.
    • Move their bodies properly so they dont harm themselves.

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    Clinical Course Of End

    The severity of ESLDand the need for a liver replacement via transplant surgery is commonly assessed using one of MELD-Na scores or Child-Pugh scores.

    MELD stands for model for end-stage liver disease and has a score that ranges from 6 to 40 based on lab tests. The higher the MELD score, the more severe or urgent the case of ESLD is. The components of the MELD score include

    • Serum creatinine level, which is related to kidneys function
    • Serum Bilirubin level, which is related to how well the liver clears bile
    • INR , which reflects how well your liver makes coagulation factors
    • Blood sodium level.

    On the other hand, the Child-Pugh score uses five measures of liver disease with each measure getting a score of one, two, or three. The total Child-Pugh score ranges from 5 to 15. The 5 parameters considered are:

    • Total serum bilirubin
    • Prothrombin time, which relates to how long it takes your blood to clot

    A score less than 7 is grade A and is considered mild. A score of 7-9 is grade B and is considered moderate. A score of 10-15 is grade C and is considered severe and most urgently needs a liver transplant. The one-year survival rates for patients with Child-Pugh grades A, B, and C are approximately 100, 80, and 45 percent, respectively.

    What Can You Do About Fatigue

    The first step in helping to manage fatigue is recognizing and controlling any symptoms that make it worse, like pain, nausea, neuropathy, or constipation. Another step is to try to prevent more fatigue by carefully balancing rest and activity. If you feel tired, stop and rest. Your health care team and your caregivers can help you find ways to manage the things that can make you feel more fatigued. Tell them how you feel, and try different things to see if they help you feel less tired.

    Some medicines can make you feel tired, too. They may be needed, but you may want to talk with your health care team to find out if switching to new ones or taking them at different times may help. You might even be able to stop taking certain medicines that arent helping or arent needed any more.

    Keep safe when youre active. If youre unsteady on your feet, make sure you have help when walking. You may feel safer if you have a walker or wheelchair. Your doctor or hospice team can help you get the equipment you need to be comfortable and safe. If you’re shaky, don’t use sharp utensils or other things that might cause injury. If you’re able to drive, be careful to not drive when you are feeling fatigue.

    Plan activities around the times you feel the best and have the most energy. Sit outside, listen to music, go for a ride in the car, spend time watching a meal being prepared distractions and stimulation of your senses may help ease fatigue.

    You can learn more in Cancer-related Fatigue.

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    How To Manage End

    End-stage cancer is an upsetting and stressful time for the patient and caregivers alike. However, even when they lack medical training, family caregivers can still help manage the final weeks of stage 4 cancer by providing care and comfort.

    When a cancer patient is experiencing disorientation and confusion, it is of course very distressing for caregiversbut it is distressing for the patient as well. A family caregiver can help by offering reassurance, answering questions, or simply by providing a listening ear and being present.

    Healthcare professionals can also provide useful advice on how to help care for patients in the final stages of cancer. They can advise you on palliative care to help manage the cancer symptoms and ease the patients suffering. Palliative care can be offered separately from hospice care, meaning that you can make use of palliative treatments without involving a hospice.

    Lost Appetite Nausea Or Vomiting

    Symptoms Of End Stage Liver Disease – Cirrhosis

    In the very advanced stages of end-stage liver disease, patients may completely stop eating too little amounts.

    Also, constant nausea and repeated vomiting are frequent end-stage liver symptoms before death.

    Consult your doctor if you have a relative with liver cirrhosis that developed a complete loss of appetite and decreased intake.

    These gastrointestinal symptoms often occur together with other signs of liver deterioration, such as worsening jaundice and ascites.

    Anorexia and vomiting are often a reflection of advanced liver complications such as:

    • Acute on top chronic of liver failure.
    • Advancement of liver cancer into a late stage.
    • Deterioration of the liver function due to any other causes.

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    How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Liver Cancer

    Your healthcare provider may suspect you have liver cancer if they find liver cancer signs and symptoms during your physical examination. They may order the following tests to learn more:

    • Blood tests:Healthcare providers may do blood tests for cancer, such as a liver function test, to check on liver enzymes, proteins and other substances that show whether your liver is healthy or damaged. They may test for alfa-fetoprotein . High AFP levels may indicate liver cancer.
    • Ultrasound : This test provides pictures of your soft tissue structures. Healthcare providers use ultrasound to look for liver tumors.
    • Computed tomography scan: This special type of X-ray takes detailed images of your liver, providing information about liver tumor size and location.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging : This test produces very clear images of your body using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer.
    • Angiogram: This test helps healthcare providers examine your livers blood vessels. During this test, your healthcare provider injects dye into an artery so they can track blood vessel activity and look for blockages.
    • Biopsy: Healthcare providers remove liver tissue to look for signs of cancer. Biopsies are the most reliable way to confirm a liver cancer diagnosis.

    Your healthcare provider may do the following tests if they think you may have IHC:

    What are liver cancer stages?

    Hepatocellular carcinoma stages include the following:

    Physical Changes As You Near The End Of Life

    This is written for the person with cancer, but it can be helpful to the people who care for, love, and support someone with advanced cancer, too. This information may help you find answers to your questions and concerns during this very sensitive and difficult time.

    These are some things a person may experience during the last stage of life, usually as death gets closer. It’s important to know that each person’s experience is different. Its not always normal to feel bad, and there are often things that can be done to help you feel better. We also give some tips on how to manage these symptoms.

    Communication with the people who are helping to care for you is key. Be sure to check in and tell your health care team how you are doing. If it’s difficult or tiring for you to communicate, be sure your loved one or caregiver can help you to pass on information your health care team needs to know.

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