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Newly diagnosed with Stage 3 Locally advanced PC


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Until a month ago I had no inkling that there was anything seriously wrong with me. In fact I thought I might have IBS, as I was getting occasional bouts of the diarrhoea, and had a problem with hiccups if I ate something on an empty stomach; not the sort of thing you'd associate with PC.

But when I suddenly developed pain on the left side of my abdomen which would not go away all week, I visited my GP. He thought I might have diverticulitis so prescribed an antibiotic, but as I was leaving the surgery he said, if the pain escalates over the weekend, go to A&E (it was the May bank holiday weekend). I'm pleased he said this, as I probably would not have gone, but by Sunday evening the pain had shifted to my upper back as well, and was a continuous, excruciating knife like pain!

In A&E iI was asked to provide a urine and blood sample, and they found a trace of blood in my urine, plus my blood sugar level was slightly raised (I'm not a diabetic). The doctor thought I might have a kidney stone, so sent me for a CT scan. An hour later I was told, you don't have a stone, but there's a 'mass' on your pancreas. At that moment the bottom fell out of my world! I've since had two stays in hospital (including my 70th birthday), and a CT scan with contrast confirmed that I have a large tumour, measuring 5cm x 3.8cm and have been told it's inoperable. A pain block procedure was abandoned, as they discovered my anatomy had been moved around and there is a major artery in the way. My notes stated it was deemed "too technically challenging to attempt".

So here I am! I go to see an oncologist on the 11th June to discuss chemotherapy options, and I have to say I now have mixed feelings. I suppose my question is; is there anyone out there in the same situation as me who's had chemo, and did it help?

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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hello ValJean,

Thank you for your post.

I am sure that others will respond to you in terms of personal experience, or experience of looking after a loved one.

However, most pancreatic cancers will be inoperable, unfortunately. So, in that respect, there will be many who are in the same boat who are being offered chemo. If you are asking if anyone had the same size tumour as yourself, then that might be more of a challenge to find someone with exactly the same. However, if you are asking if anyone had chemo where their tumour was inoperable, that will be a different response.

Chemotherapy is usually offered to try to control the spread of the cancer and to stop it growing further. Sometimes, shrinkage is also achieved, and this in turn improves the symptoms from the cancer. So, for example, if a person had a lot of pain prior to chemo, they might find that having had a few cycles, they are able to reduce their pain relief, and their pain levels have improved. Similarly for other symptoms.

As the poster who responded to your other post said, usually you are given 3 months worth of chemo before you have a re-scan. This is because it takes this long to assess how it is working - to give it a chance to affect the cancer. So, for example, there is no benefit in doing a scan after one cycle of chemo, as it has not had long enough to "work" on the cancer.

I hope this helps to clear things a little?

Feel free to email us any time - details in the signature below.

Kind regards,


Jeni Jones

Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Support Team

Pancreatic Cancer UK

email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

support line: 0808 801 0707

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Dear Jenni,

Many thanks for contacting me, and since I originally posted this, I’ve met my oncologist and had some worthwhile responses on the forum to my second post. I’m due to start my chemotherapy on the 25th June, and been told it will be Folfirinox as they think I’m fit enough to cope with it. I have every faith in their skill, and know I must give it my best shot!

Regards Val

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