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Have pancreatic cancer. Will chemotherapy prolong life expectancy?

Hi Doctor
My auntie is diagnosed with pancreas cancer, advanced stage. She is 60 years old, the doctor recommended chemo for her but mentioned that there is only a 10-15% chance to shrink and chemo is the solution to prolong her life. I would like to know if she should really go ahead with the chemo? I do not think it will prolong her life and instead I would think she may not be able to take it.
Hope to receive yr advice soon.
Thank you
Asked On : Thu, 18 Apr 2013
Answers:  4 Views:  190
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
As with many other types of cancer, the outcome of pancreatic cancer depends on how advanced your cancer is when it is diagnosed. 
Overall, pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis. Of all those people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, only 20% are alive 1 year later. Sadly, only about 5 % live  for 5 years after diagnosis.

For people diagnosed with locally advanced disease, which cannot be removed by an operation, the average life expectancy is about 7 months. For people whose cancer has already spread to another part of their body, the average life expectancy is only a few months. 
But all these are statistics and a person may live more beyond expectation but one must receive the chemotherapy,no matter what the prognosis says.It definitely prolongs the life.One should not be denied the due treatment.
Answered: Thu, 18 Apr 2013
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Oncologist, Radiation Dr. Subhas Pandit's  Response
Pancreatic cancer is very difficult to treat with currently available therapy especially when it is in advanced state.Chemotherapy improves symptom and modestly prolong survival.Before receiving chemotherapy she will be checked by oncologist who will decide if she is fit enough to tolerate chemotherapy and which drugs to use .
If her physical condition is not good oncologist will not prescribe chemotherapy and will only give symptomatic medicines.

Answered: Thu, 18 Apr 2013
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General Surgeon Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein's  Response
Apr 2013
Hi and welcomt to HCM.
Scientifically and statistically it increase life expectancy for 6-12 months. but every case is different and it is hard to predict its benefit in this particular case. This decision is up to you and her doctors. She can start with chemo and then stop it if she s getting worse. Usually people do all possible kind of treatment just to be sure that they did everything they could. WIsh you good health and good luck.
Answered: Fri, 19 Apr 2013
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Cardiologist Dr. Anantharamakrishnan's  Response
Hi friend,
Welcome to Health Care Magic

Sorry to see your auntie's situation.
Cancer pancreas has very bad outcome / there is no option at advanced stage except trial of chemotherapy
It is no cure / only palliative / has bad side effects too / but still worth the effort, for want of any other option..
In such situations, there is often a feeling of guilt - we may feel we could have done...
If she could tolerate, go ahead.
If not, ensure comfort and pain relief...

Take care
Wishing speedy recovery
God bless
Good luck
Answered: Fri, 19 Apr 2013
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