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My Story


Patience
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In November 2013, I was admitted to the [Hospital name removed as per forum Guidelines -moderator], showing symptoms of jaundice. A scan revealed a blockage of the bile duct. Four days later, I underwent surgery to investigate and clear the blockage. The surgery revealed a tumour at the head of the pancreas, which was deemed too dangerous to remove by a Whipple’s procedure. Analysis showed the tumour to be malignant. I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and it was predicted that I would not survive more than a year.


I transferred my care to the [Hospital Names Removed as per Forum Guidelines -Moderator] and, approximately one month after surgery, I began a course of 12 two-week cycles of Folfirinox chemotherapy. My mid-term CT scan in March 2013 showed there had been no spread of the disease and that the tumour had shown some shrinkage. My end-of-term PET scan in May 2013 showed further shrinkage of the tumour to a microscopic level.


A month later, in June 2013, I began a six-week course of radiotherapy, combined with Capacetabine chemotherapy, which ended in early August. A six-week recovery period followed, during which I built up my strength and fitness. A PET scan in mid-September satisfied the surgeon that the tumour was now operable by a Whipple’s procedure. I underwent my second operation two weeks later and the subsequent pathology report confirmed that all the diseased tissue had been removed, with a low risk of recurrence. Within a year of diagnosis, my ‘inoperable’ tumour had been successfully removed.


I am continuing to make good progress recovering from the operation and will return to full-time work next month.


I attribute this fortunate result to a) the early diagnosis of the tumour b) the efficacy of Folfirinox chemotherapy c) the superior medical skill of my doctors and their positive, upbeat attitude, which was always encouraging and never once implied a negative outcome d) my own unwavering optimism.


I would like anyone who has been diagnosed with ‘inoperable’ pancreatic cancer to take heart from my story, to know that ‘inoperable’ can become ‘operable’ and that you should never ever give up hope.

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Oh we do like good news stories! What an amazing journey you have had, you must be feeling brilliant and good on you.


This will give lots of hope to new members joining the board.


You were lucky to be treated at the RM I have heard good things about them.


Long may you continue to be well.


Regards

Julia x

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Thank you for your post and I wish you well. My husband aged 36 was diagnosed with inoperable PC in November and I hope that In a years time I'll be writing a similar post as you have today. A little bit of hope is enough for me to cling onto!

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Excellent news, and hopefully this will mean you are now cured. I watched a podcast yesterday which suggested there should be a new category of disease called borderline resectable. Also it was suggested that pre-operative chemotherapy may be more effective than when used post-operatively.


I think Folfirinox represents a significant advance in pancreatic cancer and should start to improve the stats soon.

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Thanks for posting this story and just as importantly your opinion on why the outcome has been so positive. Attitude from all involved, both the patient and the medical professionals must surely play a big role in such stories. Again, absolutely fantastic to show that this thing can be beaten from a starting point which may seem daunting. As Mark mentions, borderline resectable should mean lets have a go, not we're beaten.


Steve

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