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Life expectancy for Stage IV


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Hi to all. I come from Bulgaria and I really need some support. My father aged 73 was diagnosed with inoperable metastatic PDAC three months ago with mets to peritoneum and spleen (i guess splenic mets are not very common). He's made 7 cycles of Folfirinox and still going on with this regimen. Aside from common side effects like nausea and fatigue he is progressively losing weight. I really do not know what to expect. For how much longer can an elderly man be on chemo? The oncologist has refrained from a definitive prognosis. "everyone is different", he says. Can a patient be on chemo treatment for years on end? Perhaps I should not be asking myself this question and simply just go ahead but many posts here say terrible disease... Can anyone please share some experience? I really need to talk to someone about this. Thank you so much.

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PCUK Nurse Dianne

Dear Vasil,

Welcome to this wonderfully supportive 'forum family' at such a difficult time. I am sorry to hear of Dad's diagnosis and the difficult time you may be having in supporting him Vasil. However reaching out as you have, I am sure you will find support coming your way over the coming days on this forum.

Vasil as you will recognise there are very different experiences that you will have read through on the forum and you will see some very positive stories and some sad experiences from this family group. I will allow others to share their thoughts with you, as that is what this forum is about, however I do offer support from myself and the other nurses on the Support Line. If you wish to be in touch by email we can have a longer discussion with you and give you some individual and tailored support. You will find the support line details below, please do not hesitate to be in touch.

Thinking of you in these difficult days.

With kindest regards,


Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Support line - Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm

Phone: 008 801 0707

Email: Support@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

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Good morning Vasil

I am very sorry to hear of your Dad's diagnosis, there is no doubt pancreatic cancer is a horrible, nasty disease. I am going to be brutally honest in my response because I really think you need to prepare yourself. It's very unlikely that your Dad would be able to tolerate endless chemo especially with continuing weight loss. His oncologist will very carefully weigh up the risks -v- rewards.

Anyone who is diagnosed with metastatic PC will be given palliative care; the aim not to cure but to extend life making the patient as comfortable as possible. Yes, some people have done really well and others not so good.I'm sure you've probably googled the stats and they make really sad reading. Has your Dad had a scan since chemo started? Are the tumours shrinking or stable?

No-one knows what the future has in store for any of us and as hard as it is, try not to think too far ahead. Instead, make the best of every single day. If your Dad is well enough, do things together and make memories. The most priceless advice I can give you is, take as many photos, videos and voice recordings as you can.

I lost my husband almost 4 and a half years ago now and not a day goes by (sometimes hours or even minutes) when I don't think about him. When I miss him terribly, I take myself off, shut my eyes and listen to voice recordings. I take great comfort in that.

I hope this message helps you; I have not written it to worry or depress you but simply to make sure you can prepare yourself as much as possible for whenever it is your Dad's time. I hope and pray that day doesn't come too soon.

Stay strong xx

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Dear Proud Wife, thank you for sharing what you have gone through. I know at this stage cancer cannot be cured. I have also read that this particular type of cancer spreads very fast or recurs very fast. For the time being tumor did shrink from 7 to 5 cm as seen on CT scan. Not quite a comfort though. The problem is that my Dad and Mom think cancer can be cured and a remission achieved for ten years. I know it is impossible and I will never tell them the truth. They are retired and don't use the Internet but I have browsed the statistics.

Yet I must somehow get rid of the thought of this knowledge. Or simply accept it.

Thanks for your reply.

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