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Pancreatic Cancer

Dr Not Telling us Much

11/02/2010

Question:

husband diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer 6 mths ago. Encases the blood vessels so it is unrectable. Dr. said locally advanced. Dr. said 6 mths to 2 1/2 yrs prior to ct scan showing vessels involved. later said maybe 12 mths. His alk/phos levels are over 600 but they say they will just keep an eye on it, didn`t explain what this could mean. I think they won`t tell him specifics since he is not handling this well. He is diabetic and problem with keeping sugar level. sometimes over 600 sometimes bottoms out. what can I expect as far as time left and what to look for. as I say, drs. aren;t saying much. HE`s had radiation and chemo and started on second round of chemo gemzar but hasn`t been able to complete it due to various complications with sugar, bronchitis, etc. very frustrated with drs not telling us anything. He doesn`t want to know but I feel like I need to know to prepare myself, my children.

Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry. It is difficult to answer specific questions about the course of an individual's disease. I would urge you to meet with your husband's doctors to speak about goals for his ongoing care and symptom management. Specifically, let them know you are particularly concerned regarding end of life planning. It may be helpful for you to suggest a referral to a Palliative Care specialist (or seek one out yourself), who may be able to anticipate and help you plan for the course of your husband's disease and more specifically manage his symptoms. I hope this is helpful to you. I wish you and your husband well.

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