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  • List of Terminal illnesses, definition of a terminal illness, etc.



    3 replies

    Edited by admin 8 years ago

    Hi Community,

    So I wonder if some on on here can help me. I've searched on Google for "A list of terminal illnesses" and how would you define a terminal illness. But nothing much is there. Is this because people don't want to be labeled and/or defined as such or is there a medical 'grey' area of how illnesses/conditions defined?

    I know that the DWP ( Department for work and pensions) and Wikipedia define a terminal illness as:-

    "'re terminally ill if you have an illness that is getting worse and you're likely to die within six months." this is for the purposes of claiming PIP (Personal Independence Payment)"

    "Terminal illness is a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and that is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short period of time"


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  • MarkWilkin

    Edited by admin 8 years ago

    Thanks for your question and sorry for the delay – our definition of terminal illness has been arrived at following consultation with our clinical and medical teams.  We define someone as having a terminal illness when they reach a point where their illness is likely to lead to their death.  Depending on their condition and treatment, they may live for days, weeks, months or even years after this point.  At Marie Curie, we want to provide support to ensure people are able to get the most out of the time they have left. 


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  • TheHodCarrier

    Hi Grumpywelshman,

    There are no clear definitions of many terms you might come across in end-of-life: 'end-of-life' itself is usually taken to mean 'is predicted to die within a year' but not all authors use it that way.  Even words like 'palliative' can sometimes be confusing.

    I think the point with 'terminal', is that a patient's 'thinking' would usually change, if a doctor tells the patient 'we can no longer cure you of this condition, and I think it will almost certainly kill you'. In all honesty, I doubt that any doctor would ever tell a patient that 'your condition is now terminal' if the expectation was that it would not kill the patient inside a few years - there is a problem, with clinicians who are so reluctant to be honest, that they don't tell patients early enough for patients to 'properly tidy up their life before they die'.

    An awful lot of 'medical terms' are relatively undefined - I have a particular issue, with 'shared decision-making'.

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  • TheHodCarrier

    By the way, being terminally diagnosed, does not always mean you will die.

    I exchanged some e-mails a couple of years ago with a father who had been told that his own condition was 'terminal', but after treatment is seems he made a full recovery - very sadly, while he was recovering from his own problem, his son was admitted to hospital with a condition which was expected to be treatable, but his son ended up dying in the hospital.

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