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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17354
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My father is 86 and recently diagnosed with leukemia. It was

Customer Question

My father is 86 and recently diagnosed with leukemia. It was found when he went to the ER with chest pains, headache and dizziness, about 1 month ago. He was convinced he was having a heart attack. They transfused 4 units of blood and did a bone marrow biopsy. His doctor said the bone marrow test showed very aggressive leukemia and won't give more transfusions. They said the transfusions will eventually cause kidney failure. They gave no other treatment option. Dad feels like they are asking him to commit suicide. He is not impaired, and still lives at home with Mom. Is it because he is 86?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 5 months ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

I am sorry that your father has leukemia.

Advanced age certainly enters into the decision making of how to handle any cancer. Aggressive leukemia has a poor prognosis at any age. However, at an advanced age, he would be more susceptible to complications of transfusion as well as to the complications of chemotherapy. He also would be less able to tolerate aggressive treatment options, such as bone marrow transplants.

If he feels that he is a young 86 year old and would like a more extensive discussion of options, including risks involved, then it would be reasonable to seek a second opinion. And it would be reasonable for that second opinion to be obtained at a teaching/research hospital associated with a medical school. In these hospitals, there may be some newer treatment regimens being developed that may be better tolerated by someone with advanced age.

If you do not know the nearest teaching/research hospital, then if you can provide your current location, I can find the one that is nearest to you (I realize that you entered a location to register for the site, but personal information cannot be accessed by the experts to assure privacy).

If I can provide any additional information, please let me know.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 5 months ago.

Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance.

If you would like my assistance with any future question, the question can be directed to me through my profile at