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Options for my mum


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Hello all,

My mum was diagnose with pancreatic tail cancer in June 2018, it was stage T3N1M0, or borderline rescectable at the time. I am British, but my mum isn't, so in order not to wait for her visa, we took her to a private Israeli hospital in Ukraine, where she was put on GemCap. She had 5 cycles of 35% reduction in dosage due to toxicity, and the tumour has shrunk. However, in November she developed pleurisy and they decided to stop chemo. She went back home for two months.

We brought her here last week to continue treatment privately. She had PET CT and MRI scans, and unfortunately they found multiple liver metastasis. We saw a private consultant-oncologist, and he suggested Gemcitabine or Gemcitabine+Abraxaine chemotherapy. But my mum is not convinced, she doesn't want any chemo, as she really struggled last time. She just wants to improve her quality of life. I looked it up, and it looks like life expectancy without chemo is 2-3 months, which is devastating. I suggested we at least try Gemcitabine and see how it goes.

What would you suggest in these circumstances? And do you know a good consultant, who also practices privately (my mum is not eligible for NHS) to get a second opinion? Or elsewhere where we could get a good advice?

Thank you very much, Ozoda

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Hi Ozoda

I can't tell you what to do as this type of decision is so very personal and different to each and every individual and their families. My Daughter was 34 when she was diagnosed as stage IV in March 2018. She had metastases to her liver and lymph nodes. She was put on Gemcitabine and Abraxane very quickly. After 12 months she is still here. She did not have any real side effects apart from losing her hair and having what she described as a "furry mouth". I believe she would tell you herself that her quality of life was good. She felt better than she had done for a long time and went about her normal life, including enjoying holidays and weekend trips away. She ate normally much of the time and even put back on some of the weight that she had lost.

The chemotherapy cleared the cancer from her liver and shrunk the primary pancreatic tumour down to almost nothing. Some of her lymph nodes also returned to normal. The treatment worked for the entire time that she was on it. She then had a 3 month break and the cancer started to grow back in her liver during that time. She is now on Folfirinox which she is finding tougher to deal with, but she is getting on with it and fighting like mad still.

Of course, I can't promise that your Mum would have the same experience. But I can tell you that although Gemcitabine & Abraxine is sadly not a cure, it definitely can prolong life if the person responds to it and it can do so without ruining the quality of life too much.

I really wish you and your Mum all the best Ozoda, no matter what path you may choose to take between you.

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  • 4 weeks later...


My mom detected with cancer at early stage but has to take chemo for curation process. There was not much side effects as it was stage II, but hair loss was there.

I wish you and your mom best luck and hope all get well soon.

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