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dad finishes chemo shortly, what happens next?


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Heya my dad is doing ok at the moment. The last chemo session he had knocked him for six but he is starting to feel better now. He only has 3 sessions left but he is looking forward to it finishing. He says he hates getting it now. He hates going up to the hospital, he hates getting needles now as sometimes they struggle to get the needle in and require numerous attempts which can be quite painful. As my dad only has 3 sessions left, can anyone tell me what happens next? Does it stop altogether or does he continue getting chemo but with bigger breaks in between?

I am trying to be really positive and although I am glad the chemo is coming to an end, I am also extremely petrified that once he stops the cancer will start growing again.

His last scan indicated that the chemo has kept it at bay and I just fear once he stops the chemo, the cancer will start spreading again.


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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hi Its,

Your dad will have 3 monthly check ups, and possibly 3 monthly CT scans, although this is a bit frequent, so it may be 6 monthly.

If there are signs of the disease growing again, they may offer him more chemotherapy.

Regarding the needles, if he needs more treatment, he could have a PICC line inserted -which stays in for the duration of the treatment. Everything, including blood tests, is done through this. More info at - http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertreatment/Treatmenttypes/Chemotherapy/Linesports/PICCline.aspx

If he has a specialist nurse, then he should liaise with her if he feels unwell, or the oncologists secretary.This will prevent him going back into the long system to be seen again, if needed, and it will speed things up.


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Hi Its

I know that when my hubby, Ted, finished his first course of chemo it was very difficult and frightening because all of a sudden it was like nothing was being done any more. As Jenni said, there are three monthly checkups, although at our hospital they don't do a scan unless there's some reason, eg tumour markers go up. The main thing is to impress on your Dad not to wait for the checkup if he feels there's something not quite right - ring the hospital and get an appointment.

Like your Dad, Ted's tumour was held at bay by the chemo. After he'd been off chemo for a number of months (about 7-8) the tumour markers went up again and he was given second-line chemo (that might be the same or a different drug for your Dad) which brought the situation back under control. So, even if the cancer does reactivate after stopping chemo there is something which can be done.



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Hi All,

I found this thread very helpful as I was feeling the same, “is that it with chemo?” Is she going to have any more??

Devastatingly, my lovely wife (54) was diagnosed with inoperable PC last September. Getting to that diagnosis is a very similar journey to other folks’ stories that I have read on this site. The GP initially thought she had an acid reflux problem, she was sent for an Endoscopy, which was all clear, she started taken Gaviscon etc. Her appetite was non-existent and weight loss followed in its wake. She was having pains in her lower back and gallbladder area (all very textbook from what I know now). Sometime later an ultrasound scan revealed a mass on the pancreas, then followed the CT and the horror began…

Once she had the diagnosis we felt the medical profession were doing everything they could, things moved very quickly and she started chemo just over a week or so later. She has only one more cycle and then she is going to have RT, we are told.

Following a recent CT scan and appointment with the oncologist, the primary tumour had stabilised (i.e. not grown but not shrunk), but the bitter pill is its stage 4 with a spread to the lung and adrenal gland also swelling of the lymph nodes. Her weight loss appears to have stabilised too she’s gone from a size 12 to 6. So far her pain management is well under control, she only takes “over the counter” co-coda mol before she goes to bed. I’ve read that the chemo Gemcap and Xeloda is very successful in masking the cancer symptoms and it worries me that once the chemo stops she may get poorly. She is remarkable in the way she is coping with this, she is still working, she’s told us (me and our daughters) she wants business as usual, no moping about. She does get very tired and cold in the evenings; she has a lot of digestive problems, she’s at her best in the mornings. The alarm goes off and she’s up and buzzing.

Anyway I’m glad that I’ve found this site and I hope it’s going to help me come to terms with what we are going to have to deal with as time moves on…

Best wishes,

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PCUK Nurse Jeni

Hi Bluesman,

I work for PCUK and have a background in oncology nursing.

Glad to hear that things started to move quickly, and that your wife has coped ok with the chemo.

GemCap (the Cap is Xeloda) aims to bring the cancer under control and to improve any symptoms which it may be causing. It looks like, in your wife's case, it has done the job for the present time. In terms of it "masking" the symptoms, one of the aims of chemo is to improve these symptoms. If it does this, then yes, it is possible that once chemo is finished, the symptoms could return. This would depend on whether the disease had started to grow or become active again. You mentioned that your wife will be having radiotherapy. This may also help to slow the progression time of the disease. She will be monitored quite closely once all this is finished -some places do regular Ct scans, others do them once a problem arises. The scans will show what is going on, and whether more treatment is indicated. The longer the interval off chemo, the better. If it is a long period, there may be the chance to be re-challenged by the same drugs. If not, the consultant would have to decide what drugs are suitable.

I hope this helps? If you should wish to discuss anything further, please email me at support@pancreaticcancer.org.uk


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