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Palliative care


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My Dad (75 years old) has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with liver metastases and blood clots to both lungs following treatment with gemcitabine. He has decided to take a break from chemotherapy as he has such poor quality of life on it. Does anyone have experience of this, please? His oncologist has said Macmillans will care for him, but we don't know what to expect and if his quality of life will improve. It is horrible to see my Dad suffer so. Thank you.

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Hello Sarah

So sorry to hear about your Dad. It must be devastating for you. I understand how disappointing it can be when treatment does not help. It is not the magic wand solution for everyone and can do more harm than good in some instances. If your Dad is feeling it is taking away any quality of life he has, it is understandable he wants to take a break. Perhaps he will gather some strength without it - fingers crossed. Have you already been put in touch with macmillan? It is important to keep the momentum of care up. I can remember when my husband stopped chemo (for the same reason), I was straight on the phone to the local hospice and got the palliative care nurse out - I didn't want him to feel he had been abandoned. The nurse was fantastic and was quick to assess the situation and suggest what would help now. She was also frank (I wanted this - that is your choice) about what to expect and I felt reassured that she would help us. It is important that you get this support - do chase this up won't you? Hoping things improve for your Dad, Sarah. Keep us posted and know we are here for you, if you need us.

much love



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PCUK Nurse Dianne

Goodmorning Sarah,

I am sorry to hear of your father's current condition. I will email you with some further information.

Kind regards,


Support Team

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Hallo Sarah, I hope you have seen the MacMillan team now. Just in case you haven't please feel you can ring your dad's GP, or specialist nurse (there should be one attached to the oncology unit) and ask them to give you a contact number and then ring yourself. Mostly things go fine but occasionally people slip through the net and this happens more frequently over holiday time in my experience.

I don't think anyone can foresee what will happen - reading the stories on this site reminds us of that as they are so very different. But stopping the chemo will relieve the symptoms caused by the chemo itself and the other symptoms can be managed so that you dad feels better in himself - sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error - the MacMillan team really are expert in managing symptoms so that is why everyone is suggesting and the sooner they are involved the better.

This is an awful time for your family and I hope that you can help your dad to be comfortable, pain and nausea free, and then work out some ways to enjoy you time together.

Lots of love, take care



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