Symptoms Of Dying Of Cancer  

Cancer is commonplace today and afflicts so many without warning. This often raises the question by loved ones as to the symptoms that precede the end. With prior knowledge it gives them confidence that they will be able to cope as the end approaches.

It is difficult to give precise details as each individual dies in a different manner, but here are typical symptoms from observations of thousands of deaths.

Towards the end the body commences its natural process of shutting down. This phase differs widely and may last hours, or days, or in some cases may prolong to weeks. But usually the patient feels extremely weak and tends to sleep of long periods of time.

When death is very near, the patient displays the following symptoms:

  • Deep, extended sleep and difficulty in keeping awake -- almost a state of semi-consciousness. But there is likelihood the person is able to hear, so relatives should continue talking.
  • Restless movements as if in pain. These days, doctors are able to control pain and keep a patient comfortable toward the end.
  • Heavy breathing or changes in breathing. This could be due to a build up of mucus and saliva which can be relieved by having the patient sit up or draining through the windpipe.
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control because the patient has no control over the muscles that begin to relax.
  • Aversion to food and drink and difficulty in swallowing. Neither should be forced on the patient, rather, thirst may be relieved with ice cubes.
  • Coldness in the extremities like the hands, feet and arms; caused due to lack of circulation. The patient may be kept warm.
  • Total confusion and disorientation; happens due to chemical changes occurring. Strange behavior is involuntary and the patient is unaware of his actions.
  • Loss of consciousness; the actual prelude to the end when the bodily systems are shutting down. The actual time is difficult to predict.

Such symptoms are emotionally very distressing to the relatives but solace can be drawn from the fact these are but natural physical symptoms of the body releasing itself.

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