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Does anyone survive pancreatic cancer?


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Mar 23, 2012, 2:19pm   #16
s
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Here's the truth...average life expectancy is 5-9 months. Those that survive longer are usually because they catch it earlier. Having said that, yes I know of someone who has survived for years. Chemotherapy has for the most part been shown to be completely ineffective for pancreatic cancer, although it is still widely prescribed because, frankly, there is nothing else to offer. There is a relatively new type of chemo regimen that seems to be helpful in shrinking some peoples tumors thus extending life expectancy for some.

The overall death rate for this type of cancer has not changed despite all the research.

Be positive with your friend...he/she is going to need it. The Lustgarten Foundation is the leader in providing funds for research and information. Johns Hopkins has done tremendous work on this type of cancer.

If caught extremely early, they can perform what's called a whipple procedure but the tumor must be small enough.

Sorry I threw a lot of info. out there but this is an area that really touches my heart.
Mar 23, 2012, 4:30pm   #17
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Member
There is a new chemo that has a positive effects on some people with pancreatic cancer, however with my loved one, it didn't work. And I'm really sorry to say but usually the life expectency is pretty short, I didn't want to believe it at first but in the end the time line that the doctor gave us was pretty spot on. The doctor said that the reason for this is because pancreatic cancer hardly shows any signs of it and is relatively hard to detect, and once the signs starts to show (back aches, stomach pain, etc), then the cancer is relatively far along.

I'm really really sorry, but what I learned in the end when I had to go through it with one of the most special person that I will ever have in my life, was to just be with them. Spend as much time as you can with them. Be optimistic for their sake and be strong. One of the most important thing is to buy them food that they want to eat and watch their diet especially when they get nauseous (ginger tea helps), and have drinks with electrolytes on hand (some people like gatorade, but he actually perfered the child pedialyte drink).
Mar 23, 2012, 4:39pm   #18
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Originally Posted by Aimgrrrl
My dad just died of Pancreatic Cancer after surviving it for three years. Yes, the statistics are horrendous, but as Dad said, "SOMEBODY has to be that 1%. May as well be me."

Where are you located? Great medical facilities are great, but to have a prayer of long term survival, your friend will HAVE to see one of the top PC research oncologists. Seattle has Dr. Vincent Picozzi and his team at Virginia Mason. He took my dad from "nonoperable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, locally advanced" to "no evidence of disease" in a year of hardcore treatment. (pancan does NOT have regular staging. Anyone who says it does, that's a great sign that they're not going to be the doc who can get you some extra time)

We had three GREAT years with my dad. That's about two years and ten months more than most people have at the time of diagnosis. We knew we were living on borrowed time, and we cherished every single minute we had together. We did a LOT of living in those years. All the "bucket list" stuff? Forget it. It doesn't matter in the end. What matters is the people you love, and that love you.

My dad had the best case scenario after the worst possible diagnosis. He was healthy and well until he suddenly wasn't. He spent only one day in the ICU, and not even on a respirator or anything. He died with his family all surrounding him, there one minute and simply gone the next. His cancer had finally metastasized, and when it came back it came back FAST. He had a clear CT scan on Friday, and lungs full of clots by Wednesday. A clot broke loose during an attempt to break them up, and stopped his heart. He was not in pain and he didn't waste away. It was exactly what he had hoped for given the circumstances.

Of course I miss him terribly, and would give anything in the world to have him back. But I have no regrets. We said everything we needed to say, and we made the most of the time we had.

Your friend and their loved ones are in for a hell of a tough battle. 49% of it is determination and sheer stubbornness. 50% is the doctor. 1% is pure luck. Cancer is a roller coaster for everyone involved. Pancreatic Cancer, more so. Good news is followed by bad news, is followed by good news, etc. It's not easy and the family will need friends who can jump in and do something tangible to help. Make a casserole, bring homemade soup. My dad went through a period where all he could stand to eat was Ensure and apple juice. So we cooked for my mom, and bought dad some really great organic apple juices from all different sorts of apples so he'd have a little variety.

Please feel free to PM me if I can help in any way. I've learned a LOT about this disease in the last three years. I've met some amazing people. Also look up your local Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. They can connect you with the best docs in your area, support networks, etc. They also have survivor stories on their website. Read them when you need some hope. There IS hope.
I just wanted to say that I love your comment. I truely wish I had seen something like this when my family was going through this.

And I'm sorry if my response was somewhat somber, but it was just base off my experience and that was not a pleasant one to say the least.
Mar 23, 2012, 8:38pm   #19
A
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Originally Posted by FleurDLys

I just wanted to say that I love your comment. I truely wish I had seen something like this when my family was going through this.

And I'm sorry if my response was somewhat somber, but it was just base off my experience and that was not a pleasant one to say the least.
Thank you. You are right - it's sheer hell watching someone you love battle cancer. It also changes your life and your outlook.

I've totally changed my priorities; I make time for those I love and the rest can take a number. I am still a corporate climber, but I take my non-work time very seriously and I do NOT work during that time. My partner comes first, as does the rest of my family. The other stuff doesn't matter in the end.

I'm so sorry you had to lose someone to this ugly, awful disease. I wish I could somehow make it less painful and horrible, but I can't. It sucks, plain and simple. I get it. Believe me, I do.
Mar 24, 2012, 8:57am   #20
v
Thread Starter
Member
Update: We found out some good news and bad. The good news is that it appears that they have caught the cancer relatively early on. It is operable and they will go in for the Whipple procedure very soon. The bad news is that during the scans, they also found a "spot" on another organ (not related to the pancreatic cancer) and they plan to biopsy it. We are feeling a little more hopeful (assuming that the other spot turns out okay).
Mar 24, 2012, 10:22pm   #21
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Originally Posted by vhdos
Update: We found out some good news and bad. The good news is that it appears that they have caught the cancer relatively early on. It is operable and they will go in for the Whipple procedure very soon. The bad news is that during the scans, they also found a "spot" on another organ (not related to the pancreatic cancer) and they plan to biopsy it. We are feeling a little more hopeful (assuming that the other spot turns out okay).
That's about as good as news can get with PanCan. Hang in there. My offer stands if you ever need to talk to someone who gets it. Your friend has a tough road ahead, but being operable is one major hurdle down. :)
May 16, 2012, 9:38pm   #22
LV Luvr's Avatar
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Vhdos how is your friend doing? How are you doing?
May 17, 2012, 7:42am   #23
v
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Thanks for asking, LV I know that this may sound odd, but my friend actually turned out to be one of the "lucky" ones (it sounds odd to say that anyone with pancreatic cancer would be considered lucky...). My friend had surgery and we learned that they caught the cancer very early. The cancer was still fairly contained and the doctors felt confident that they were able to successfully remove all of it. The prognosis is about the best you can have with pancreatic cancer. We are still apprehensive, but we remain hopeful.
May 17, 2012, 7:58am   #24
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^^I'm so glad to hear that! A friend of mine knew someone who was diagnosed just a few months ago with pancreatic cancer. He died last week.
May 17, 2012, 1:53pm   #25
LV Luvr's Avatar
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I'm so happy to hear that Vhdos! Enjoy all thew time you spend with him/her!
May 17, 2012, 2:16pm   #26
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vhdos--thank you for sharing your situation.

My dad was diagnosed with throat cancer a couple of months ago after living 8 years after an esophageal cancer diagnosis. The second time has been so much more scary than the first--I'm not sure why. My dad just finished his treatments, and is working on gaining his strength back. I give thanks to God, the Universe and every person taht said a small prayer for him during those times.

That said, my heart goes out to your friend and you. I'll be praying for your friend's health. Any kind of cancer is scary, and I am so thankful to the other posters who had so much experience, insight, strength and hope to share.
May 17, 2012, 4:20pm   #27
v
Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HermesNewbie
^^I'm so glad to hear that! A friend of mine knew someone who was diagnosed just a few months ago with pancreatic cancer. He died last week.
I'm sorry to hear that, HermesNewbie
May 17, 2012, 4:21pm   #28
v
Thread Starter
Member
Originally Posted by legaldiva
vhdos--thank you for sharing your situation.

My dad was diagnosed with throat cancer a couple of months ago after living 8 years after an esophageal cancer diagnosis. The second time has been so much more scary than the first--I'm not sure why. My dad just finished his treatments, and is working on gaining his strength back. I give thanks to God, the Universe and every person taht said a small prayer for him during those times.

That said, my heart goes out to your friend and you. I'll be praying for your friend's health. Any kind of cancer is scary, and I am so thankful to the other posters who had so much experience, insight, strength and hope to share.
I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I'll say a little prayer for his recovery...
May 17, 2012, 5:02pm   #29
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Hopelessly Addicted!
Two of my dear friend's husband died from this. One was diagnosed in June and passed in February. It is a aggressive cancer.
Jun 1, 2012, 9:33am   #30
m
Member
I am so happy to hear it was caught early.

My grandfather passed 18 months ago with this awful cancer and it was my first experience watching someone fall ill and die. I think of him everyday. I am so happy to know that there might be someone that doesn't have to live that crappy existence for a time in their life. It appears so painful, I'm glad someone caught it early and that pain might be avoided.
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