It is hard to say how to get through to someone about their cancer. It is their decision and if they get all the right information, they can make a choice on what it is they really want to do about it. Just this past week while I was at the hospital a large family got the bad news that their mother has widespread cancer. The surgeons who operated on their mother (three of them) told the family maybe six months to a year and given their mother's age and condition, she may not do well with chemo which could end her life sooner. These surgeons are all very experienced.
There are a lot of factors to consider in my opinion. How extensive is the cancer? Just in one spot or spread? Does the person with cancer want to fight it and what is their attitude like? A strong family support system, good attitude, faith, care-givers, friends, and good doctors all factor in for prolonging their life. Some chemos are not easy to take. My dad had a few problems but has a good attitude to help him through it.
The whipple will prolong their life if it is a possibility. An experienced surgeon makes the decision whether it is possible to undergo this surgery based on what they see in the CT scans and other tests done. It will take time to heal and feel better as it is a difficult surgery. Then there is the chemo and radiation to be done. It isn't easy, but my dad did it all and is doing fairly well after four and a half years. He did the follow-ups, lab tests, CT Scans, more chemo, another surgery, survived the accidental chemo overdose by his local oncologist, etc. The current result for him and I have heard several times over my dad is an exception to this cancer is that he may not have cancer for the moment. However, his last tumor marker was still quite high, but surgeons said it could be due to the liver abscess he has which is getting better.
I wish the best for your friends and they are lucky to have a good friend in
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