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Hello, I wondered if anyone had any experiences they could share about countering weight loss.

My dad:

Is having palliative chemo, folfirinox. He's just had cycle 3.

He is insulin dependent diabetic.

He has had extremely bad diarrhoea but has had some changes to the chemo for this cycle which seems so far to have stabilised the diarrhoea.

Worryingly, he has lost over a stone in a couple of months. But he still has a good appetite, even if he's only managing smaller portions.

He's so very tired.

He is on the list to be contacted by a dietician.

He's not been offered any supplements but the chemotherapist seemed to suggest they would be offered.

We have added butter, full fat milk, extra snacks, yogurts, mid morning pastries... it doesn't seem to be having any effect.

We've mentioned Creon to the chemotherapist but she says that's not something they want to bring in just yet, something for a bit further down the road.

So, has anyone been in this position and is there anything we can look into until he gets an appointment with the dietician? Time is short and we don't want to have to wait for an appointment if we can start to help him ourselves. Protein shakes maybe?

Thank you.

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You can buy ‘build up’ shakes in supermarkets or boots like complan or something similar. But continue with fortifying the meals as you have done.

He definitely should be on creon, it’s part of the gold standards framework so it’s essential it will help stabilise the weight loss and ensure your dad is able to digest and fully absorb all the nutrients in his food.

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LisaC thank you. The chemotherapist seemed reluctant with Creon but we'll mention it again at next week's appointment

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You might have to push for it if they say no, the specialist nurses at the hospital said Lewis would not need it as he did not have the symptoms of loose stools but he was on lots of opiates and was constipated, it was a nurse at the hospice who said he should have been on it no matter what as the enzymes will help digest the food to ensure your dad gets the most amount of nutrition he can from the food.

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Often weight loss is due to gastric obstruction. Dear Helen have you been able to ask about this? My father lost 3 stone but he had gastric bypass surgery and now is putting back his weight. If surgery is not relevant a stent might be provided

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PCUK Nurse Dianne

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your post on the forum, I am sorry to hear of Dad's struggles at present with the chemotherapy.

I am pleased to see some of the wonderful 'forum family' have responded to you and give you some suggestions thus far.

As you and others have suggested it sounds that Dad will most definitely need some of the replacement enzymes prescribed in attempt to absorb food better (Creon being the most commonly used enzymes in the UK). I am sorry it must be very difficult to hear that someone does not need pancreatic enzymes 'just yet' when clearly they are struggling with weight loss and diarrhoea issues.

Helen I hope you might feel able to reach out to us here on the support line as we can give you some additional information that will be helpful.

Helen if you wish to contact us on the details below we would be more than happy to give you some additional information.

With kind regards,


Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Pancreatic Cancer UK

Support line: 0808 801 0707

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 9am-4pm

Wednesdays 10am-6pm.

email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

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Thanks LisaC, it's his fortnightly phone appointment with the chemotherapist today and I've asked him to mention creon again.

Vasil, I don't think he can deal with any more information on procedures at the moment. I will bear it in mind though, thank you.

Dianne, thank you, I do keep thinking about the support line but I get a bit emotional when I try to talk and it gets difficult to speak.

Before my dad's first cycle, he said he would try chemo but if it made him feel worse than not having it he would have to weigh up the odds. Right now I think that's where he is mentally, weighing up whether the side effects are making him feel worse. Particularly since he had absolutely no symptoms or illness before chemo commenced.

He thinks that having the chemo is the right thing to do to get rid of the cancer. I haven't had the heart to remind him what palliative means and this upsets me so much. As does knowing that the chemotherapist said he maybe had 12 months WITH chemo and there is very little possibility of him coming out the other side of this.

Cycle 4 starts next week and the first ct scan since December is in 3 weeks time along with a blood test for the cancer marker.

We're supposed to be going round this weekend, first time I've seen them both since January and the day the pc was confirmed. I don't think he's really up to it but I think he will be upset if he isnt feeling OK and we don't go. I'll be upset too.

Thanks for listening x

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  • 5 months later...

I'm sorry that you and your father are going through this. I think he will be like that as long as he goes through chemotherapy. Just try to support him and talk to the doctor about any changes that appear.
My mom also went through chemotherapy, and we always did her shakes with yogurt and fruits, like berries and bananas. These yogurts are light, and she doesn't feel so bad after her chemo treatments. Don't do the ones you find in the videos where people talk about how they lose weight. Their shakes are good, but not in this case.
I wish your father a speedy recovery!

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It's good that your Dad has retained an appetite my bro did too. I'd start my bro's day off with the blender using Appro almond milk and a banana blue berries raspberries and a heaped table spoon of "protein powder " purchased on line. Then offered him a variety every couple of hours of whatever he felt like eating. He loved his Tin's of  Semolina and Rice puddings with blob of strawberry jam. He took couple of Creon tablets each bite of food, and yet often suffered with diarrhea but when we increased his intake to 5 creon tablets the diarrhea stopped. It was trial and error, but it worked, Creon greatly assisted with his wind and burping. 

We emailed the dietician via his drs surgery about "protein shakes" and within 24 hrs received a case of 24 bottles bottles delivered to his door. 

I'd just say little and often whatever he feels like. My bro enjoyed his pan of mixed chopped veg boiled up and seasoned- again partially blended. Scrambled eggs on toast. Even his fish and few chips. It's hard going and I do feel for you at this time. 

He didn't have the strong Firenfox he had the milder one. He gave his experiences of symptoms of the chemo to the chemo nurse who I believe was able to supply further meds to assist him through it. 

I'm thinking of you. 

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  • 3 months later...

Hello. I am very sorry that at the moment, you are facing such a life test, and I wish your dad health and strength to go through all the difficulties. I don't know if this personal experience will be helpful, but I took supplements which, according to my doctor, did not bring me any health problems. I chose them because they are made of natural ingredients, and many moms take them after pregnancy, and so on. They dulled my desire to eat everything and boosted my metabolism. The result more than satisfied me.

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