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Very Itchy


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Hi, this is my first post as I desperately need some advice for my husband who was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer two weeks ago. (Sunday 24th October 2021)  He spoke to our GP about the itchiness, jaundice and weight loss. She made a face to face appointment later that day as she wanted to see him.  She then sent him to our emergency hospital.  That was Thursday 21st October 2021.  At the hospital he had bloods taken and given Piriton for the itch.  An appointment was made for the Saturday where he had an ultrasound scan.  Another appointment for the Sunday when he had a CT scan.  That was when they diagnosed the PC. They kept him in overnight as they had to start him on insulan for his type II diabetes. They did a CT scan of his chest on the Monday and found nodules.

Thursday 4th November he had an ERCP but it doesn't seem to have worked.  He's still so itchy and only has the Piriton to take. Every day he's lost more weight and his wee is still very dark and his poo is still very light in colour.   Does anyone know of anything else that could be prescribed to help with this.  I'm going to ring our GP tomorrow and see what she says.  We're still waiting to see what's going to happen as everything so far has been at the emergency hospital.  The main hospital now has all the details of the scans etc. Anwas  supposed to take place but as yet we haven't heard anything.  I'm hopeful that we will this week.  I'm at my wits end and so upset by all of this.  We've been together over thirty three years and mean the world to each other.  Thanks for reading and any advice will be much appreciated.

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It can take a while for the jaundice to resolve after the ercp, I would continue with the Piriton and moisturising regularly as that can help with itching. 

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PCUK Nurse Rachel R

Hi there GrannyAnne,

It's Rachel here, I'm one of the nurses that works at PCUK.  I just wanted to reach out to you after I read your post.  I'm really sorry to hear of your Husbands' diagnosis and of the difficulties you're having.  I know this must be such an anxious time for you.

Usually if an ERCP has been done and a stent inserted to open up the bile duct, we would expect to see a fairly quick improvement in jaundice (and therefore itching) although for some people this can take a little while longer.  I would imagine your Husband will have had follow-up blood tests to check that his bilirubin level is falling.  It's not too long since last Thursday so hopefully things will improve very soon.  Hang on in there.  

There are some other medications that can be tried to help with itching and your Husbands' GP should be able to advise on these, or if you did wish to give us a call on our support line then we can talk more about this.  There's no pressure at all to call or email but the offer is there 🙂  Our contact details are in the signature below.

Kind thoughts.



Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Pancreatic Cancer UK Support Line: Freephone 0808 801 0707 (Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri from 09:00 - 16:00hrs and Wed from 10:00 - 18:00hrs)
or email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

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Hi GrannyAnne,

I'm so sorry to hear of your husband's diagnosis and just wanted to let you know of my mum's positive experience after an ERCP stent.  


My dear mum who is 77 was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with mets to lungs in May after a month of intense itching and then jaundice. Mum's bilirubin level was so high it was off the scale. She had an ERCP on 6 May.  When she was discharged 10 days later she was still incredibly itchy and jaundiced and very poorly.  Her prognosis was extremely poor.  However, it took at least 3 weeks for mum's itching and jaundice to subside.  The stent has been remarkable, it has kept her stable and her symptoms under control, but it did take a few weeks. She was given some sachets to take for the itching in hospital but unfortunately mum couldn't tolerate these as she suffered from extreme sickness.  We just liberally applied the cream that the district nurses organised for us.  We are now 6 months post discharge and mum has done absolutely amazing, considering she was given 2-3 months to live.  To see her, you would not think she had anything wrong with her.  We are able to go out and enjoy spending family time together.  Please don't give up hope. I'm taking each day as it comes.

Lots of love xx


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Hi Rachel and Lottie35,

Thank you for your replies.  My husband has now been prescribed a different antihistamine and some cream.  That was only yesterday as we now have a terrible problem trying to get appointments with any of our GP's! The GP went out of her way to apologise to my husband on the phone and explained a lot of the problems to him about his condition. He had a slightly better night and of course so did I.

We still haven't had any word from the hospital that all the information has been sent to. The only hospital we've been to and where he had his ERCP was our emergency hopital. At this point in time we only know that it's inoperable and at an advanced stage. 

Sadly my husband has been backwards and forwards to see different doctors and had all sorts of tests and scans over the last ten years.  An aortic aneurysm was found and he had surgery to remove that July 2020. He didn't respond well to that and didn't come round from the operation for a week.  He was on life support in intensive care for a week. He spent two weeks in there and on a ward for a further two weeks.  He's never really recovered from any of it.  Now in hindsight we know why.  I feel cheated for him as the tumor must have been there when they found the aneurysm.  I know that this happens all the time but you would think that someone would think to do further checks for pancreatic cancer.  My husband has never had many symptoms until lately. It was upper abdomen pain and discomfort and loose stools. He's now type 1 diabetic because of it too.

I'm so pleased to have found this forum as I now don't feel so alone.

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