My father recently had a severe stroke and was subsequently diagnosed with terminal cancer. How long can he go on without eating?


My father had a severe stroke 15 days ago. It left him unable to speak clearly, weak on his right side (although not paralyzed) and unable to walk. 3 days later, while doing follow up tests because of the stroke, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that had metastisized to his bones and brain. 3 days after that we took him home. He is home now and comfortable, off all meds other than morphine and has not eat as of a week today. I am looking for information on what we can expect in terms of life expectancy given these circumstances?

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Thank you both for your responses.

Angel: we are in Canada and don't have hospice per se. There is paliative care in the hospital but he wanted to be home so he is home with my mom looking after him. She has a lot of support from friends and family but he is not on any mediation and no formal medical care at the moment. They are on call but for now he is just being looked after at home and being kept comfortable. He is taking fluids although not a whole lot. He wants exactly what he is getting, we know that for sure as it's something we have all discussed a thousand times and he most definitely does not want any 'life saving' measures or feeding tubes or anything like that.

Pam: thank you for your response. It is terrible to go through and the worst is the uncertainty. I'm so tired and sad and its taking a terrible toll on everyone BUT the only way for that to end is for my dad to die and I don't want that so it's like being caught in a never ending mind game. Really hard so thank you for your thoughts.
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They stop eating because they can't digest and food makes them uncomfortable. If he is drinking, he can last for quite a while. Once he stops intaking fluids, about ten days to two weeks. I am so sorry you are going through this. It is time for family to visit and say their goodbyes.
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No one can tell you that exactly...but there are some other things to consider. What does his doctor say that his prognosis is. Have the recommended hospice? If they haven't I would definitely recommend that you contact them.

Is he taking any fluids? Fluids can prolong even without food for some time. Does he have advanced directives for what he wanted in this situation? Did he want to have life support such as a feeding tube or did he want to simply pass as peacefully as possible? This would definitely affect what you should/can do now.

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