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Pancreatic Cancer diagnosed in a close relative. Always bad news?

(14 Posts)
Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 21:34:15

My Aunt has been diagnosed with a pancreatic tumour that is unoperable. Her treatment will consist of chemo in an attempt to shrink the tumour. I,m a bit scared to google, but from the little I know, pancreatic cancer is one that "shows" late and then there is little to be done. Is this really true?

LovingtheSilverFox Mon 03-Aug-09 21:41:19

I am so sorry sad. Thinking of you and your aunt.

Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 21:43:53

And PS - I want to send her a card/email and I've tried starting it and I can't think what to write.

She's quite a "matter of fact" person and apparently is optimistic and taking it all as it comes. So I just want to let her know I care and am thinking of her without it sound like I worry she might die any moment....any hints?

macwoozy Mon 03-Aug-09 21:45:33

I'm sorry portofinosad

I found out tonight that one of my relatives has also been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was just about to google myself.sad

LovingtheSilverFox Mon 03-Aug-09 21:50:52

If you want to send a card, put those words. Something along the lines that you have said. You don't need to write a long thing, just let her know she is in your thoughts.

Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 21:51:08

macwoozy sad! Well as my auntie said herself apparently - look at Patrick Swayze! He doesn't look THAT well though he's obviously still going. I'll make pact with with you to stay off Google!

Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 22:00:01

I feel a bit sad today as it is my nan's 81st bday. Another Auntie is visting and has told her the news. She lost my mum to cancer aged 21. It must be awful for her to have to worry about a 2nd daughter being ill - and on her birthday too.

I am going to book the Eurostar as soon as I can and surprise her with Belgian chocs and flowers and stuff. She's a bit of a trial, but she brought me up and did such a good job!

QOD Mon 03-Aug-09 22:03:48

My uncle was diagnosed recently too! He is 65 - he lives in Norway and has been selected for some experiemental chemo - but our understanding is incurable, but time could be bought
It's shite innit

macwoozy Mon 03-Aug-09 22:05:59

Sorry to hear about your mumsad

I'm sure your nan will be cheered up with your arrival laden with flowers and chocssmile

I've already googledsad But there is a little hope in some cases.

hester Mon 03-Aug-09 22:13:41

So sorry to hear this. Pancreatic cancer is very often bad news, because it is often detected late and because it's so connected in with your other body systems.

But it is not always incurable. I have a friend who was diagnosed and told he would probably die within months. However, he then underwent radical new treatment in the Netherlands, and four years on is alive and well. He was young and that may have helped him both access this treatment and do so well from it.

PortAndLemon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:20:19

It is almost always very bad news and if it's inoperable it's unusual to survive more than six months post-diagnosis. And it's a pretty crappy way to die, too (have had several close relatives die from pancreatic cancer). But there are always those few who beat the odds and survive for years.

Mr MartianBishop had pancreatic cancer, and IIRC managed to hang on for about eighteen months after having been given three months to live.

Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 22:24:00

Well my auntie is nearly 60 and in the UK. She's been to Kings College apparently and will be starting treatment soon. So hopefully things will go well.

God, I love our life abroad, but it's such a bitch when stuff happens and you're not nearby your loved ones. sad

Portofino Mon 03-Aug-09 22:33:04

Thanks Port! That is pretty much what I thought. Maybe I have to prioritise trips to UK a bit. My nan isn't in the best of health either and she was to be my next visit...Oh God - why does the family have to be so widespread?

radstar Fri 14-Aug-09 18:53:40

I too just wanted to offer you some optimism and support. My dad died of pancreatic cancer seven years ago it was an awful thing to watch him suffer so much and he died four months after first experiencing symptoms. There often isn't much hope for patients as the symptoms only start to show once the cancer has spread, palliative care is usually the best option.

I thought that all people would have the same terrible experience as my dad and us as a family watching him suffer. However since I have worked in the NHS I have seen many remarkable people who under good management of pain and other symptoms live well enough to enjoy what time they have left. One of these lived more than a year or possibly two after diagnosis.

I hope that your aunt receives this same management and as a family you have some quality time together. It would have been nice for us to least have been able to talk to my dad over the last months but his pain was so poorly controlled until the last two weeks when he went to a specialist hospital in London that it wasn't possible, we missed out on a lot. I just wish I knew then what I do now...

Just ask as many questions as you need to of the team looking after your aunt until you are satisfied she is comfortable. My thoughts are with you

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