I know it sounds like a bit of a cop-out, but the cause of death, as recorded on the death certificate, was listed as

1a Carcinomatosis
1b Adenocarcinoma of the kidney

'Carcinomatosis' simply means that there was no definite single cause of death; carcinomatosis is carcinoma that has spread widely throughout the body via the lymphatic system, bloodstream or across the peritoneal cavity. The patient didn't succumb to bronchopneumonia (which is a commonly fatal complication of the bronchial tumour the patient had) or die from raised intracranial pressure and 'coning' of the cerebellar tonsils (common with brain metastases). Rather, there was a gradual 'fading away' which could be directly attributed to his tumours, and eventually he just died.

Anatomy & Physiology mini-tutorial Return to start