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Thread: does a dying person have a distinct body odor?

  1. #1
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    does a dying person have a distinct body odor?

    My husband has stage IV lung cancer with adenocarcinoma. He has a cancerous tumor exposed in his mouth and that smell is pretty bad. Before he has a "sick person" smell. Now when I get a whiff he is letting off a very powerful body odor (even after he has bathed earlier that day). He has had two treatments of radiation, no chemo (doesn't want it). What is this smell? It is familiar but I really don't like the idea of what I smell. I can't describe it though but it is unpleasant and I am sure for him also unless he can't smell it. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi KL,

    I'm so sorry about your husband's cancer. I'll be honest, this is the first time I've heard of a tumor in the mouth of a NSCLC patient. Darn this beast! Always something new. How sad for him to have an area in his mouth that must make it very difficult for him to eat.

    I don't have any experience with the odor you're talking about, other than your suggestion that it may be coming from the mouth tumor. Never had any change in my husband with his NSCLC.

    Hopefully someone else drops by and can help you. Have you asked the doctor about this?

    Good luck and God bless,
    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  3. #3
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    the lung cancer metastisized, he also had a tooth pulled which never healed and developed a tumor. He also has a tumor in his stomach. He is getting palliative radiation for both. The cancer is T2N3M1. I will ask the doctor. The doctor did recommend (again) at his last visit for hospice to come in. Thanks for the answer.

  4. #4
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    You're welcome. If the doc is mentioning hospice and your husband isn't having any more treatment, then it would be a good idea to call hospice. Although we never used them, I've heard wonderful things about them. I hope the radiation helps give him some comfort and time. I hate lung cancer.

    Hugs,
    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Top User sheila's Avatar
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    hello KI-no I havent really noticed that except near the very end a bit odd when things are shutting down-and thats with anyone with any condition. it could be meds and stomach acid, the unhealled tooth extraction site or the tumor. /all the above.
    Im sorry your husband has to deal with such an uncomfortable tumor. posibly some of that radiation has started to shrink the tumor and that could very well be from that too. The thing to do now since hospice was mentioned-to set something up so he doesnt experience alot of pain-they will help keep him more comfortable. keep us posted and let us know how things are going for him as well as yourself.
    MOMS Journey
    April06- Emergencysurgery,exploratory,10units blood,largetumor and 10inches of colon removed,temp.colostomy.diagnosed stage IV colon.
    oxyplatin,5fu
    Oct06-radiation,surgery,several lymphs,cervix,1 ovary,fallopian,40% remaining colon,large tumor to adipose tissue,appendix,gallbladder removed.permant colostomy/iliostomy
    oxyplatin,transfusion.
    April 07-xeloda-overdose
    surgery-1/3liver,partial diaphra, removed clipped and questionable spots oblated.
    port-port rejection-port removed 1week.
    picc line,5fu,oxyplatin,camptosar.
    Oct-08-surgery-remaining ovary engulfed in tumor,partial bone scrape.
    transfusion central line TPN 1 month.
    oct-09-surgery tumor ,colon and jejuneum removed.
    xeloda reduced. severe dehydration,heart attack.
    april10-remission-avistan
    oct-10-erbitux,camptosar
    Jan-11-5fu
    mar-11 return to original site-oxyplatin,5fu
    Aug-11-erbitux,camptosar.
    dec-28-blood transfusion
    dec-30-back to chemo erbitux camtosar
    Jan-16 injections neulasta and aranesp
    feb16-transfusion
    feb 21-Tumor found stomach,liver, and liver "hot spots" inflamed lymph in rt ureter in kidney causing obstruction-surgery schedualed Mar 16.
    march 16/12-no more kidney obstruction not lymph ...dehydration is causing blockage, two litters blood for anemia, stomach liver tumor small-med,abalation, 1 hidden tumor deep in muscle mass on side flank(hid from scans) -gone!
    june/15/12-blood transfusion
    starting a regimine of celebrex
    aug/16/12-blood transfusion
    aug/30-12 discontinued celebrex -failure one kidney. needed to see urologist
    sept/10-12-good urologist report one kidney functioning well for now.
    oct/23/12-chemo pill Stivarga(regorafenib)
    Nov/22/12-blood transfusion
    dec/18/12-blood transfusion chemo pill dosage cut back to 1 pill.
    Feb/21/13 neulasta injection
    Feb/22/13-blood transfusion. still taking stivarga.
    mar/20/13-arenespt injection rehydration and magnesium IV
    mar/21/13-acute renal failure-kidney infection
    april/1/13.-recovery from 4 day coma infection cleared/4 units blood/ off stivarga/starting rehab therapy,
    swollen hand no apparent reason black spots in vision off and on. both cleared up.
    may/22/13-home oxycodone for pain shoulder neck arm
    june/1/13 pain subsided off oxy onto aleve
    june/09/13-pain back off aleve on vicodin
    june 10/13-cancer in back/neck- starting radiation for arm neck and shoulder pain.
    june24/13-last day of radiation-on steroids
    july1/13-swollen legs and feet-lasix off steroids still on vicodin and xanax
    july 23/13 vicodin cut in half blood transfusion.
    sept/6/13-off all pain meds since late aug
    scan results fracture in spine mid back
    sept/12/13-spine healing on its own,weaning off steroids, no visible tumors.
    nov/7/13-edema both legs and one arm on lasix since oct.
    nov/21/13- leg edema subsiding still alot in one arm- she is talking but keeps her eyes closed. achy but no major pain. nurse and aide to visit once a week schedualed. having trouble standing.
    nov/24/13-sadly but peacefully moms cancer journey is at an end, she will start her new spiritual journey together hand in hand with dad.

  6. #6
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    I am so very sorry to hear about your husband's condition. I know it is difficult to understand and even BELIEVE sometimes, but God does have a special plan for all of us. I hope I haven't offended you by this comment.

    I, myself, have something completely different than your husband. Well, I'm actually in remission. But I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in April of 2010 and had 12 ABVD chemos, 6 ICE chemos, 4 high-dose chemo's, and just had a stem cell transplant. The reason I'm writing this, however, is because I was wondering if your husband was experiencing any stomach/bowel problems. I hate to be gross and give you "too much information," but the stem cell transplant caused me to have major stomach/bowel issues that I'm still experiencing right now - and I honestly feel like I smell. My family says that don't smell a thing, but I honestly smell something. It may be that with the chemo, my senses are heightened and I can smell something no one else can, I'm not sure. All I know is that I smell bad to ME.

    Another thought is that it might be a side effect from the radiation itself or a drug that he's on. Drugs do crazy things, and they're different for everyone. I've experienced side effects that doctors said I wouldn't and that weren't "supposed to happen." Oral issues are known to cause odors, as well, because you can't give your mouth the care it needs. I had an oral problem (to say the least) called mucositis twice from chemo - and because I couldn't brush my teeth and tongue as good as normal, I know I had horrible breath and probably smelled bad.
    ~MARIA

    ***Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, diagnosed April 2010

    ***Please feel free to look me up on Facebook (please PM me for my last name)! =)

  7. #7
    Senior User carolynjl's Avatar
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    my heart goes out to you and your husband. It is so hard on a spouse. I have cancer, not my husband; and I am thankful it's this way - I'd rather it be me than him. I keep my 88 yr. old Mother, and her health is declining - her body & heart are just wearing out. She has an odor too and not b/c she doesn't keep clean. I think her body just doesn't work as efficiently getting rid of the toxins & drugs - drugs especially can cause body odor. Also her body thermostat doesn't work well so she'll sweat * sometimes her clothes will smell a little soured. I have a body splash that is mild w/ just a hint of sandlewook, and one is cucumber - light airy - not heavy scents. They just kinda freshen her and her linens up a little - have a refreshing smell - not perfumy. And a breath spray. Maybe these would help. I pray that these last months or years will be spent remember all that you have been to each other, and all that you are to each other now. Steve and I often laugh over silly, sexy,things we've done, times w/kids, even everyday good times at home on the screen porch, etc. We don't talk about the future - we live each day fuller - treasure each other's company more. If you can - spend more time with friends. Hospice is coming now with my Mother. They are wonderful. I pray you will draw closer to Almighty God, b/c He is the God of all comfort, and the Father of compassion and mercy. I have such peace knowing we are all in His Hands and He loves and cares for us. Take care of your husband, and remember to take care of yourself!

 
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