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Old 03-18-2019, 08:33 PM
 
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People can sometimes live for years with other cancers at stage 4, but there is something about pancreatic cancer that makes it extraordinarily aggressive. It's not just that it's hard to catch early, even if it IS caught "early," it almost always comes back quickly and aggressively.

My father-in-law was at stage 2 at diagnosis and had surgery which supposedly removed all the cancer. He was dead in 19 months. If he had had, say, stage 2 prostate cancer instead, he would almost certainly be alive today (three years after diagnosis) and would have a very good chance of being completely cancer-free. Pancreatic cancer is a different beast.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:24 AM
 
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Sometimes there are successes

https://www.nagourneycancerinstitute...steve-lockwood

I think the future of cancer therapy are what they call biomarkers. I think you can even analyze cancer cells and their genetic makeup to see which drugs would be most effective against them.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:23 AM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
4,280 posts, read 4,262,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban_Guy View Post
Sometimes there are successes

https://www.nagourneycancerinstitute...steve-lockwood

I think the future of cancer therapy are what they call biomarkers. I think you can even analyze cancer cells and their genetic makeup to see which drugs would be most effective against them.
Wow, very uplifting to read this survivor's story! Thanks for sharing.

Of course, with <50K pancreatic cancer diagnoses each year, and a 3% survival rate even at stage 4, that's 1500 lucky individuals who beat the odds. It's grim, but it's not unbeatable, and I can only hope Mr Trebek is one of those lucky 3% (not that he is any more deserving of a lucky break or cure than any other patient, but he is who we're talking about in this thread. Obviously I'd love to see a cure that worked for everyone. I had a friend who succumbed to PC last fall).
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kayanne View Post
Wow, very uplifting to read this survivor's story! Thanks for sharing.

Of course, with <50K pancreatic cancer diagnoses each year, and a 3% survival rate even at stage 4, that's 1500 lucky individuals who beat the odds. It's grim, but it's not unbeatable, and I can only hope Mr Trebek is one of those lucky 3% (not that he is any more deserving of a lucky break or cure than any other patient, but he is who we're talking about in this thread. Obviously I'd love to see a cure that worked for everyone. I had a friend who succumbed to PC last fall).
My guess is that a lot of doctors themselves have a fatalistic outlook on these things. In reading another pancreatic cancer survivor's story, I was saddened to see how disrespectfully the patient was treated by several doctors. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, many doctors seem to recommend putting one's affairs in order and getting prepared to die. And I wonder if that doesn't influence the patients either. They read of how deadly this disease is, and once it is at stage four, it's 'useless' to do anything about it so best to just prepare to die or get bombarded with generic toxic drugs.

The future of pancreatic cancer treatment, as well as other cancer treatments, is tailoring the treatment to each individual. You have to find out first what your cancer will respond to, then using that information to come up with the drugs that will specifically target that cancer.

Another promising treatment is something called immunotherapy, where they take your own white blood cells I believe, and modify them to target the cancer cells. I've read of very dramatic cases where people were on death's door after multiple rounds of chemo, radiation, and surgery, and after getting immunotherapy treatment, the tumors miraculously started to shrink.
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:48 PM
 
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We had a dear friend die from pancreatic cancer recently. She had top doctors who specialized in this cancer at a research university hospital and they tried every possible route for remission. Her doctors were encouraging and supportive. She lasted 18 months, most of which was miserable. Her tumor initially shrunk but then spread.

It is a terrible disease. I hope at some point they have a major breakthrough as with some other cancers. I wish Alex Trebek the best and I appreciate his openness and drawing attention to this disease.
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Old Today, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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Update on my brother, who like Alex Trebek is fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer:

He's had it now since around October, so that's about 5 months. It's a recurrence from Stage 3 cancer which was initially "beat" but which returned a few months later and had spread.

He was initially slated for six months or more of chemo, starting in December. However, he has responded so well that they are hoping to end it after two more treatments, which would be the middle or end of April, so that was good news. They are going to do a PET scan then to determine if the tumors on the pancreas are gone and if so, they are going to insert radiation "pellets" directly onto the two spots on his liver and hope that works instead of having to continue with chemo.

His spirits are excellent and he is going in Monday to talk with his boss about working half days for a few months to give his body some rest but his mind some stimulation - plus they are short handed at his company so that might work for everyone.

He has zero "gut pain" and is gaining his weight back. The chemo has made him feel very tired but hasn't caused nausea or anything like that.

I am hoping hoping hoping for the best.

This is another face of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Hopefully Alex Trebek will be able to hang in there as well.

Of course, I realize that the odds are stacked against my brother and that he could suddenly nose dive, but so far so good.
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Old Today, 08:50 AM
Status: "Justice-two way street, and not just in favor of barbarians" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
14,642 posts, read 5,791,902 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
He was initially slated for six months or more of chemo, starting in December. However, he has responded so well that they are hoping to end it after two more treatments, which would be the middle or end of April, so that was good news. ************
His spirits are excellent and he is going in Monday to talk with his boss about working half days for a few months to give his body some rest but his mind some stimulation - plus they are short handed at his company so that might work for everyone.

He has zero "gut pain" and is gaining his weight back. The chemo has made him feel very tired but hasn't caused nausea or anything like that.
*********
Of course, I realize that the odds are stacked against my brother and that he could suddenly nose dive, but so far so good.
Really great to hear.
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