Also, go to www.pancan.org. Call them toll free at 1-877-272-6226 from 9 am to 5 pm PST. Ask to speak with a PALS Associate. They can sent you free information on diet and palliative treatment. They may also recommend a doctor in your area who specializes in treating pancreatic cancer. Chances for longer survival increase with a doctor who deals with more pancreatic cancer patients than a mixture of all cancers.
Remember, bile duct and PC are treated almost the same way. Unless your Dad's doctor specializes in treating bile duct cancer, do use a doctor if possible who specializes in pancreatic cancer treatment. They should know more about palliative treatment and other procedures to make your Dad more comfortable.
Please also ask your Dad's doctor about putting in a stent and/or drain. The jaundice and itching come from a build up of bile. It may mean there is a blockage somewhere in the biliary system where the bile travels. A stent can be placed in the blocked duct through the mouth in a specialized endoscopy procedure. Within a few days or slightly more, the itching and jaundice should start to clear up and go away. The procedure is not too invasive and should bring your Dad relief.
Did you read his diagnostic reports on all tests done on your Dad? For every test, x-ray, CT Scan, blood test, there are written reports. Your Dad may have to give you or someone else Medical Power of Attorney or sign the HIPPA release giving you his permission to get copies of his medical records.
Do you know exactly where the cancer is located? The size, shape and if the cancer has spread or not? What stage is it and if the cancer was described as poorly differentiated or clearly defined? What are his liver and kidney function levels? Did he have a CA 19-9 or CEA blood test? What are the numbers? This information may enable others here to help answer your questions better.
Also, please define stomach pain. Gas pains? Lack of eating, no appetite? Acid reflux, burning, hurting pains after eating? Is your Dad a diabetic? Does he need digestive enzymes? On enzymes, if his stools float and look greasy, then he does need enzymes. Please come back and ask more questions.
Welcome to this site and I am sorry you have a reason to be here. My father was a five year survivor and I have learned quite a bit in that time and since. That is why I am asking specific questions. Each person's body may react differently to certain foods, but it is important to try and maintain their weight.
No patient should be in pain. You need a doctor who will help him be comfortable if he wants no treatment. Low doses of certain chemo drugs are used for palliative treatment and may help with some pains. Hospice will not allow any treatment, even if you feel treatment may help to relieve some problems. Before putting your Dad on Hospice, please check out what they allow. We used Home Health since our Dad could still take certain drugs to help alleviate minor problems, but those drugs were not allowed by Hospice. Chemo for this cancer is not nearly as harsh as for other cancers.
Please also take care of you. As a daughter who saw what her father went through, I understand a lot of what you are feeling. This cancer affects the entire family. Write down questions for the doctor so no one forgets while at the appointment. Same goes for pains, stomach problems, and all the symptoms you described. If a doctor refuses to answer, you may need to find one who will answer and offer suggestions. Do push on a stent and I am surprised his doctor did not advise on having one inserted sooner unless the minor risk is more than minor for your Dad given his overall health.
Take care and come back with more questions. Hugs........Mary
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