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mikthe20

Pancreatic cancer (for a friend)

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Went to see a good friend at the weekend who's been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He's pretty stoic and matter of fact about it and knows his time's limited, but not by how much - he's a lovely guy, in his 40s. Having looked online it seems he's pretty much fecked and likely to cop it in the next couple of years and may not even see out the next 6 months. Apparently only 5% make it to 5 years as it seems treatment of pancreatic has not progressed like for other cancers. He's on radiotherapy and starting chemo shortly. He has secondary cancer of the spine (he only went to the GP in October with back pain!).

There are a lot of people on here with wide life experience and alternative views and I thought I'd ask if anyone has got any experience or suggestions on either treatment of it or, most probably, how to deal with the effects of the treatment or illness. I've seen two people die of cancer before at close quarters so I know what to expect in terms of deterioration and effects of chemo. I've noticed he's lost around a stone in weight already since I last saw him so any suggestions on diet would be good. His partner is very supportive so he's lucky he's got her.

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My grandmother died of that. She became an injecting diabetic as her pancreas couldn't produce insulin. 

I understand pancreatic is worse worse because it is pretty symptom-free till it's spread elsewhere. 

Good luck to your friend  -  and you.

 

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1 hour ago, mikthe20 said:

He has secondary cancer of the spine (he only went to the GP in October with back pain!).

I suspect that means he doesn't have very long left at all. 
I am not a doctor though.

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Sorry for you and your friend.

If I were in this situation, I'd combine standard NHS treatment with any dietary changes that I could make, even if they aren't formally recognized. Google is your friend when it comes to this.

Might as well fight it with everything he's got. Best of luck.

EDIT: this could well be scientifically unsound, but is worth a read especially the comments below from other people who have been through similar things:

http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/ann-heals-pancreatic-cancer-with-nutrition/

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1 hour ago, Bossybabe said:

My grandmother died of that. She became an injecting diabetic as her pancreas couldn't produce insulin. 

I understand pancreatic is worse worse because it is pretty symptom-free till it's spread elsewhere. 

Good luck to your friend  -  and you.

 

Ah, good point. I think the doc mentioned this to him. Yes, you're right - no idea until the back pain started.

39 minutes ago, SarahBell said:

I suspect that means he doesn't have very long left at all. 
I am not a doctor though.

That's my fear - it could be just a few weeks or months, but it seems docs can't tell yet - I don't know when/if they'll be able to give him a timeframe.

13 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Sorry for you and your friend.

If I were in this situation, I'd combine standard NHS treatment with any dietary changes that I could make, even if they aren't formally recognized. Google is your friend when it comes to this.

Might as well fight it with everything he's got. Best of luck.

Thanks JD. He is indeed a fighter (he has a severe disability he's had most of his life) - I'll have another search online for dietary advice - trust the views on here more than on Google though (mad, I now!).

My main thoughts to be honest, especially in terms of what I can do to help him, are how much time (in terms of lifespan but also physical ability) does he/we have to do some fun shit. We were going through his old vinyl at the weekend! I'm wondering about taking him on a trip, but will have to wait and see effects of chemo.

Thanks everyone for your replies!

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2 minutes ago, mikthe20 said:

My main thoughts to be honest, especially in terms of what I can do to help him, are how much time (in terms of lifespan but also physical ability) does he/we have to do some fun shit. We were going through his old vinyl at the weekend! I'm wondering about taking him on a trip, but will have to wait and see effects of chemo.

There's a quote from a prominent Doctor (a chap called Dr Essylstyn) regarding terminal cancer patients along the line of their greatest fear is not death but of being deserted/given up on by their doctor's and friends/family.

The best thing you can do for your friend is to be there for him in whatever way he needs, for however long he has.

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12 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

The best thing you can do for your friend is to be there for him in whatever way he needs, for however long he has.


This.
Time is the most important thing we have to share.

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Sorry to hear about your mate, not much else to offer except yeah, time is the important thing - spend as much as you can with him.

Unfortunately pancreatic is a nasty, nasty cancer ... hard to diagnose and usually when it is it's already spread, and the survival is pretty poor :(

 

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30 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

There's a quote from a prominent Doctor (a chap called Dr Essylstyn) regarding terminal cancer patients along the line of their greatest fear is not death but of being deserted/given up on by their doctor's and friends/family.

The best thing you can do for your friend is to be there for him in whatever way he needs, for however long he has.

 

18 minutes ago, jfk said:

Sorry to hear about your mate, not much else to offer except yeah, time is the important thing - spend as much as you can with him.

Unfortunately pancreatic is a nasty, nasty cancer ... hard to diagnose and usually when it is it's already spread, and the survival is pretty poor :(

 

Yes, that's the intention, although he's a couple of hours drive away so it's weekend visits mainly. I remember when my mum died of cancer (I was in my teens) that about half the friends and a good chunk of family disappeared as soon as they found out she was ill. Never forgotten that. It's when you really know who your friends are.

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Sorry for your news.

 

If it's any consolation, in my experience the good always die young whilst the bastards hang on for ever.  So that means you have nice mates.  If you know what I mean.

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1 hour ago, mikthe20 said:

 

Yes, that's the intention, although he's a couple of hours drive away so it's weekend visits mainly. 

Be a devil. Take a day off to go and spend with him. 

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21 minutes ago, SarahBell said:

Be a devil. Take a day off to go and spend with him. 

Yes. Go and do something silly and fun for a day.

My best friend when I was in my teens, got married 5 years ago. I've not seen him at all since then. Those 5 years have flown by. I've tried repeatedly but the wife seems to keep him on a short leash and busy with things. I'd love to meet up, even once every month or two, even just for a couple of hours, to have a few drinks and a chat and play some old school computer games - party like it's 1997. I think we can all make enough time for a few hours a week of silly fun things like that, but often people convince themselves they're too busy with 'more important' things, and before you know it 5, 15, 20 years have passed.

So take a day off and go and do something silly.

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24 minutes ago, SarahBell said:

Be a devil. Take a day off to go and spend with him. 

 

4 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Yes. Go and do something silly and fun for a day.

My best friend when I was in my teens, got married 5 years ago. I've not seen him at all since then. Those 5 years have flown by. I've tried repeatedly but the wife seems to keep him on a short leash and busy with things. I'd love to meet up, even once every month or two, even just for a couple of hours, to have a few drinks and a chat and play some old school computer games - party like it's 1997. I think we can all make enough time for a few hours a week of silly fun things like that, but often people convince themselves they're too busy with 'more important' things, and before you know it 5, 15, 20 years have passed.

So take a day off and go and do something silly.

Yes, you're both right! He starts chemo next week, will see if you can do something before then.

And Joe, another mate with a domineering wife?! Please don't follow their example!

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Just now, mikthe20 said:

And Joe, another mate with a domineering wife?! Please don't follow their example!

To be fair, I think this mate is happily married, although since I've barely even spoken to him in 5 years I don't know the details of his marriage. Some people are happy once they get married for their wife and kids to be their whole life, which is their choice.

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Just now, JoeDavola said:

To be fair, I think this mate is happily married, although since I've barely even spoken to him in 5 years I don't know the details of his marriage. Some people are happy once they get married for their wife and kids to be their whole life, which is their choice.

Fair enough. 

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Pancreatic is a ******* by all accounts and I'm not sure medical science can offer much hope of a cure beyond a Whipple procedure - radical surgery only suitable in a minority of cases.

In his position I'd be tempted to follow Wilko Johnson's example of refusing chemo and instead explore plausible alternative therapies such as DCA and dietary approaches. What has he got to lose?

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14 minutes ago, Turned Out Nice Again said:

Pancreatic is a ******* by all accounts and I'm not sure medical science can offer much hope of a cure beyond a Whipple procedure - radical surgery only suitable in a minority of cases.

In his position I'd be tempted to follow Wilko Johnson's example of refusing chemo and instead explore plausible alternative therapies such as DCA and dietary approaches. What has he got to lose?

Good point - if you're screwed anyway why go through the horrors of chemo.

Your post reminded me of this article, essential reading for everyone IMHO:

https://www.rte.ie/radio/mooneygoeswild/pdf/How Doctors Die.pdf

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Cancer under the age of 60 is very sad.

Pancreatic is bad.

Be there for your mate, even if that includes giving him a bit of the push at the end.

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I am sorry to hear about your friend. He will be needing someone to talk with now - having someone to listen.

My dad died of this. It is not a good way to go and it can be a matter of weeks sometimes. There are practical matters that he needs to think about - scary stuff about care in the final few weeks and, importantly, the finale few hours. They are the most difficult of things to talk about.

He needs to be put in touch with palliative care specialists - either those linked to the hospital or one of the palliative care cancer charities such as macmillian nurses. He will need a lot of hand holding. He will need to talk about pain control and who administers it in his final hours. Who will be that person? Will that person be there? Can that person be trusted? Will that person be a medic, a family member or a friend. Things that are in the grey areas in the UK because of the laws. Sorry to say these things but no one prepares or educates us in these things and, sadly, often medics talk in their own language or they talk in veiled words which never get through to the patient.

One very important thing - still talk to him as your mate and a human being. If he is being a w*nker telling him so, pull his leg, rib him and take the p*ss. Treat him as your mate and a human being right until the very end. That is perhaps the best thing you can do for him.

Reach out to someone with cancer

The below book might be worth reading.

The Needs of the Dying By David Kessler

 

 

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4 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

I am sorry to hear about your friend. He will be needing someone to talk with now - having someone to listen.

My dad died of this. It is not a good way to go and it can be a matter of weeks sometimes. There are practical matters that he needs to think about - scary stuff about care in the final few weeks and, importantly, the finale few hours. They are the most difficult of things to talk about.

He needs to be put in touch with palliative care specialists - either those linked to the hospital or one of the palliative care cancer charities such as macmillian nurses. He will need a lot of hand holding. He will need to talk about pain control and who administers it in his final hours. Who will be that person? Will that person be there? Can that person be trusted? Will that person be a medic, a family member or a friend. Things that are in the grey areas in the UK because of the laws. Sorry to say these things but no one prepares or educates us in these things and, sadly, often medics talk in their own language or they talk in veiled words which never get through to the patient.

One very important thing - still talk to him as your mate and a human being. If he is being a w*nker telling him so, pull his leg, rib him and take the p*ss. Treat him as your mate and a human being right until the very end. That is perhaps the best thing you can do for him.

Reach out to someone with cancer

The below book might be worth reading.

The Needs of the Dying By David Kessler

 

 

If he has kids you could offer to keep an eye on them.

That would worry me the most in that situation.

You know, who's going to sort them out for the awkward few years - picking them drunk up from the pub, bailing them from the police and that sort of cr.p.

 

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TMT's post reminds me of what I saw in my grandmother's final days of terminal cancer. An advert for assisted dying if ever there was one.

Why after all these years of medical experience we can't just be honest and go 'after a certain point you have no quality of life, we know from experience when that point is, so lets not just prolong your suffering' and give people the choice to go peacefully.

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50 minutes ago, Turned Out Nice Again said:

Pancreatic is a ******* by all accounts and I'm not sure medical science can offer much hope of a cure beyond a Whipple procedure - radical surgery only suitable in a minority of cases.

In his position I'd be tempted to follow Wilko Johnson's example of refusing chemo and instead explore plausible alternative therapies such as DCA and dietary approaches. What has he got to lose?

Cheers - too late for Whipple apparently. I'll look into DCA, thanks for the tip!

9 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

I am sorry to hear about your friend. He will be needing someone to talk with now - having someone to listen.

My dad died of this. It is not a good way to go and it can be a matter of weeks sometimes. There are practical matters that he needs to think about - scary stuff about care in the final few weeks and, importantly, the finale few hours. They are the most difficult of things to talk about.

He needs to be put in touch with palliative care specialists - either those linked to the hospital or one of the palliative care cancer charities such as macmillian nurses. He will need a lot of hand holding. He will need to talk about pain control and who administers it in his final hours. Who will be that person? Will that person be there? Can that person be trusted? Will that person be a medic, a family member or a friend. Things that are in the grey areas in the UK because of the laws. Sorry to say these things but no one prepares or educates us in these things and, sadly, often medics talk in their own language or they talk in veiled words which never get through to the patient.

One very important thing - still talk to him as your mate and a human being. If he is being a w*nker telling him so, pull his leg, rib him and take the p*ss. Treat him as your mate and a human being right until the very end. That is perhaps the best thing you can do for him.

Reach out to someone with cancer

The below book might be worth reading.

The Needs of the Dying By David Kessler

 

 

Cheers TMT, and so sorry to hear about your dad. He and his partner have been very sensible and already have a hospice lined up - un/fortunately an elderly friend of their's needed on last year and it was very good and local. His partner is very good, although she's not exactly in the best health herself so she'll need to take breaks, which is part of going up at the weekends in our thinking. Oh, and I certainly took the piss out of him and will continue to do so!

3 minutes ago, spyguy said:

If he has kids you could offer to keep an eye on them.

No kids fortunately.

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2 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

TMT's post reminds me of what I saw in my grandmother's final days of terminal cancer. An advert for assisted dying if ever there was one.

Why after all these years of medical experience we can't just be honest and go 'after a certain point you have no quality of life, we know from experience when that point is, so lets not just prolong your suffering' and give people the choice to go peacefully.

Indeed. Mate of mine's dad was apparently climbing the walls and screaming in agony during his last few hours despite being on massive morphine doses and sedatives. I'd have been tempted to ask the nurse to leave the room and smother him with a pillow to put him out of his misery.

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