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Thread: Cancer sucks

  1. #1
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Cancer sucks

    Pancreatic cancer,……less than 5 percent of those diagnosed are still alive five years after diagnosis

    This thread isn’t about me. I am fine. It is a short story about my younger sister,…who is fine.

    I wanted to start a thread about cancer which might help someone who has some form of it, maybe diagnosed with it, knows someone who has it or as in this case was misdiagnosed (or better yet,…readings on a test that pointed towards pancreatic cancer because the patient was on certain meds).

    A week before the summer started, I get an e-mail from my sister who informs me she has been getting test results showing a sign that she might have pancreatic cancer and to keep it to myself.

    Questions start, is she in any pain, how far along is it, how can it be stopped, what are success rates after chemo. I look it up and read this,………………….

    “less than 5 percent of those diagnosed are still alive five years after diagnosis”

    I think,……. Will she be one of the lucky ones whose cancer goes into complete remission? Will she even do Chemo? What can I do?

    I write her back and tell her what I have found out and she informs me she knows and that’s why she’s telling me. The both of us co-manage a few things and this news will require me to go back to the states and she was giving me a heads-up.

    Many e-mails pass between us for the next few days and I find out that she has been tested a few times with the same results and is considering new tests after the summer (school break). She summers in Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and doesn’t want to start new tests with a new primary care physician away from home (Central Florida).

    I am thinking why aren’t you taking this more seriously? But I don’t want to push her.

    Summer passes and most of my questions are answered. I don’t think she would have done the chemo with this type of cancer.

    I plead with her to tell our mother and she does reluctantly. My mother gets to work on solving the problem after she gets more facts.
    She finds out her daughter has been doing a corticosteroid because of a shoulder injury (she hurt her shoulder while pregnancy testing some young cattle so the doctor prescribed a steroid to help with her healing) and taking corticosteroids can cause amylase to rise in blood tests.


    High amylase results in your blood can point to a problem with your pancreas, cancer being one problem.

    Couple conversations with her primary care physician and visits (maybe some more tests after she stops the steroids for a while) and tada,..no test results pointing to cancer (high amylase levels). Needless to say she’s looking for a new primary care physician.

    I did not know taking a steroid would have this type of effect on blood tests,…….resulting in a false (not really false) reading indicating you might have cancer.

    Hope this type of information and more like it (new drugs, new technology information, good ending stories as above from other TD members) will help someone else down the road, reading this thread.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  2. #2
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    Friends wife died of breast cancer not so long ago.

    friend died of brain tumour around same time.

    A member on here is a surviving cancer patient.

    Seems it is pot luck if you live or die with it......hope to find info also as you never know.

  3. #3
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    This year I will turn the same age (52) that my mother was when she died of pancreatic cancer. Doctors always say you should have frequent medical exams if you are at risk by heredity, but I cannot see the point. If I get it i would be happy not to know until right before the end. The extra few months of low quality life that the torment of chemo and radiation therapy seems to buy you do not seem worth it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawty
    A member on here is a surviving cancer patient.
    Make that 2 members !

    Had skin cancer caused by years working in the sun . Spread to 15 % 0f my back !

    Liquid nitrogen ( ouch !) and 6 months of chemo and it cleared - that was 20 years ago .

    Never see me outside without a t- shirt on now - just as well it is not a pretty sight !

  5. #5
    Pedantic bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Doctors always say you should have frequent medical exams if you are at risk by heredity, but I cannot see the point. If I get it i would be happy not to know until right before the end. The extra few months of low quality life that the torment of chemo and radiation therapy seems to buy you do not seem worth it.
    Just to point you in the right direction here.


    With the majority of cancers (different types) ones chance of survival is DIRECTLY related to how early it is detected. Catch it early enough and patients have a relatively good (or at least very improved) chance. But most people detect it only at an advanced stage, when its honestly too late to do anything about it.

    Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is one of the very aggressive ones. However, survival rates are, as said, directly related to how early it is detected. The critical factor is whether or not the cancer has spread. If it has, well, frankly you are out of luck. If it has NOT spread, the 5 year survival rates go up to 16% or so. Not great, but near enough a 1 in 5 chance. damn sight better than 1 in 20.

  6. #6
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    The extra few months of low quality life that the torment of chemo and radiation therapy seems to buy you do not seem worth it.
    its a difficult call.

    my wife (49) had uterine cancer, luckily caught very early during a regular check-up, had surgery, no chemo or radio needed, survivor of 6 years now.

    her mother (70) had advanced breast cancer, had surgery, chemo and radio, survivor for 3 years now.

    her brother (54) was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, had surgery, radio and chemo, is suffering with the chemo and rapidly going downhill. his cancer is glioblastoma multiforme, known as "the terminator" because of its aggressiveness and resistance to treatment. 85% die within 2 years of diagnosis.
    he has been a very heavy mobile phone user ever since they were first available, and the docs say they are seeing more and more of this type of brain cancer and strong anecdotal evidence points to a link between mobile phone radiation and malignant brain tumours.)

    good friend in the uk, 55, non smoker, died from lung cancer, had a long fight with the nhs who refused him the latest drugs on cost effectiveness grounds.



    but the treatment centres in bangkok are very good, once you can decide on the right team, and if you can afford the costs, and have a relative or friend able to understand the treatment and keep a tight watch on the doctors who are sloppy when it comes to reading patient notes, and nurses who make all kinds of silly mistakes re. prescribing and dosages , probably as good as anywhere in the world.

    i could write a book on my brother in laws treatment and the cavalier attitude of some of the doctors that initially wanted to treat him, before the family eventually took control of the situation and got him seen by responsible oncologists , but as you say, will all the treatment worth it , in my brother in laws case i'm not so sure, given the nature of his cancer. but many cancers these days are not the automatic death sentence they were even a few years back.

    pancreatic and liver cancers are notoriously hard to treat.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Wish I hadn't opened this.....

    I've just spent two weeks at home, the whole time my mother has been ill.

    The last week she has been in hospital and it seems to be pancreatic cancer, she has a biopsy scheduled for later today to confirm.

    Unfortunately I have had to leave to return here to work.

    Shitty time at home....ho hum

  8. #8
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
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    Breast cancer got my step-mum in her early 40s and liver cancer got my father (a very healthy doctor who drank minimally) two years later (she was > 20 years younger than him obviously).

    Age 34 my brother (non-smoker, very light drinker) had an ulcer on his tongue for about 3 weeks so went to a doctor. They did a test and went apeshit. He was operated on a couple of days later, they took a large chunk out of his tongue and replaced it with a blob of muscle from his arm, luckily it had not spread to his lymphatic system.

    He had a bit of speech therapy, some close supervision for about 3 years and was declared fully clear early last year.

    Another case of getting it caught early leading to a good result. Cancer does, indeed, suck.

    Worst thing is for my step sister. She lost her mother at 14 and her father when she was 16. Understandably she is a bit farked up, although she will never need to work if she doesn't want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock
    Shitty time at home....ho hum
    Sorry to hear that BC, positive vibes sent.




    /my brother paid off his house from the insurance pay-out.
    bibo ergo sum
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    This time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth View Post

    Hope this type of information and more like it (new drugs, new technology information, good ending stories as above from other TD members) will help someone else down the road, reading this thread

    .
    Glad things panned out well for your sister and that your mother got on the case and sorted things out.

    Sadly, doctors are only human and just like the rest of us they make mistakes, sometimes more than they would care to admit. Just as there are good mechanics and bad ones , the same is applicable to all professions, doctors included.
    I think it is often the case that doctors are working under pressures that mean they can not devote more than a certain amount of time to each patient and they subsequently are not as thorough as they might be.

    A couple of years back, I was misdiagnosed by my local hospital in Bangyai and it nearly cost me my life. If, like your mother, I had not taken drastic action myself and told the doctors which tests I wanted them to run I would be making this post from the twilight zone.

    The message is clear. If you think you are seriously ill and are not 100 % satisfied with the treatment you are recieving then shop around and do as much research as you can.

    Your life is in your hands.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Humbert's Avatar
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    Colon cancer is one the most treatable cancers if caught early. Please get a colonoscopy every 5 years. I have a very good friend who was diagnosed with colon cancer this past Spring. They caught it with a colonoscopy. He needed to have part of his bowel removed but thanks to supurb treatment at Bumrungrad he is alive and well today with no residual cancer.

  11. #11
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    ^ that took my step-father

  12. #12
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    Mum died of colon cancer and my sis on Oz had it last year but is OK. I have camera up bum every three years and they took a lot of polyps out so it's worth having done, seem heredity has a lot to do with cancer.

  13. #13
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    I returned to the UK gfrom Thailand and thought I have a upset guts and a feeling of the toilet all the time so I went to the doctors and told him, he sent me to hospital for tests the next day and I had a colonoscopy where they found a tumor,That was removed 2 weeks later and followed by 20 cymotheraphy sessions. That was 2 years ago I still have problems such as numbness in legs and feet ,fingers etc from cymo, but still have hair on my head where some loose it all,I am due in to hospital again shortly for some follow up surgery and then hopefully the test will confirm Iam clear of cancer in bowl

  14. #14
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    My father was diagnosed with Prostrate cancer late last year, fortunately they found it very early, and successfully removed it with no sign of it having spread.

    Doubles my chances of getting the same though.

  15. #15
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    The wife of one of my mates has just been taken into a hospice she'll be lucky to last a month, she's only in her early 40's

  16. #16
    Out there...
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    I know that I'm very high risk for colon cancer. Grandfather and father died from it. If I follow the same pattern I will die at approx 70 years old because of it. A comforting thought....

  17. #17
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai View Post
    Sadly, doctors are only human and just like the rest of us they make mistakes, sometimes more than they would care to admit. Just as there are good mechanics and bad ones , the same is applicable to all professions, doctors included.
    I think it is often the case that doctors are working under pressures that mean they can not devote more than a certain amount of time to each patient and they subsequently are not as thorough as they might be.

    The message is clear. If you think you are seriously ill and are not 100 % satisfied with the treatment you are recieving then shop around and do as much research as you can.

    Your life is in your hands.

    As I understand from corresponding with her during the summer, she was fond of her doctor (an older gentleman, ready to retire) and trusted him because of the years of quality care she received from him.

    She did schedule more tests before she found out about the effects steroids might have on blood at a different hospital with a different doctor, but then canceled those tests.

    But you are right, in every profession, mistakes can be made.

    Getting a second opinion in this type of situation would have been a good idea.

  18. #18
    Member Rascal's Avatar
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    why white type no one can read that?

  19. #19
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Some good news,.but it might be ten years away.

    Cleveland Clinic Researchers Develop Prototype Vaccine To Prevent Breast Cancer

    5/31/2010

    A first-of-its-kind vaccine to prevent breast cancer has shown overwhelmingly favorable results in animal models, according to a study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.

    The researchers found that a single vaccination with the antigen α-lactalbumin prevents breast cancer tumors from forming in mice, while also inhibiting the growth of already existing tumors. Enrollment in human trials could begin next year. If successful, it would be the first vaccine to prevent breast cancer.

    The research will be published online May 30 at http://www.nature.com/naturemedicine and in the June 10 issue of Nature Medicine.

    “We believe that this vaccine will someday be used to prevent breast cancer in adult women in the same way that vaccines have prevented many childhood diseases,” said Vincent Tuohy, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator and an immunologist in Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.“If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental. We could eliminate breast cancer.”

    Cleveland Clinic: Cleveland Clinic Researchers Develop Prototype Vaccine To Prevent Breast Cancer

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    "I did not know taking a steroid would have this type of effect on blood tests,…….resulting in a false (not really false) reading indicating you might have cancer."

    I didn't know that either, thank you for the info. Must have been quite a frightening experience for your sister.
    “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy Parker

  21. #21
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo View Post
    Must have been quite a frightening experience for your sister.

    She was relieved to find out that she did not have any cancer.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat Attilla the Hen's Avatar
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    Mother died of cancer of the oesophagus.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    I know that I'm very high risk for colon cancer. Grandfather and father died from it. If I follow the same pattern I will die at approx 70 years old because of it. A comforting thought....
    I found this thread only now but still want to reply to you.

    Colon cancer is absolutely preventable. Get a coloscopy at the age of app. 50 years, I did at 53 with negative result. It is very uncomfortable because in preparation you cannot eat for two days and drink only water and clear juices during that time and a lot of that. You also need to take laxatives to clear out the colon. During the procedure any early stages of cancerous growth found can be removed immediately.

    If something is found a repetition after 5 years is necessary and sufficient to give almost 100% security. If nothing is found, a repetition is necessary only after 10 years as this cancer develops very slowly.

    Especially people with a history of colon cancer in the family should use the procedure.

    I would guess it is also available in Thailand. It is not very difficult.

  24. #24
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Attilla the Hen View Post
    Mother died of cancer of the oesophagus.


    Sorry to hear that. That was the first time I had heard of cancer of the oesophagus and had to look it up.

    For others who want to know: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/oesophaguscancer.htm

    Awful! But then again,.all types of cancers suck,…….

    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    I know that I'm very high risk for colon cancer. Grandfather and father died from it. If I follow the same pattern I will die at approx 70 years old because of it. A comforting thought....
    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post


    Colon cancer is absolutely preventable. Get a coloscopy at the age of app. 50 years, I did at 53 with negative result.

    Especially people with a history of colon cancer in the family should use the procedure.

    I would guess it is also available in Thailand. It is not very difficult.
    I (age 52) had my first Colonoscopy done while in the states just a couple of months ago (and have pictures). They found and removed one polyp. I was told to come back in 3 years.

    SD, you might want to consider doing as others and get checked up, because you’re at risk.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    My father was diagnosed with Prostrate cancer late last year, fortunately they found it very early, and successfully removed it with no sign of it having spread.

    Doubles my chances of getting the same though.
    Prostate cancer can be very benign and passive. My Dad was diagnosed with it a few years ago, and since then it has not spread at all and he lives a very active life.

    Its hereditary like you say though, and I get checked for it every six months because my Mum's father died of it. When you turn 40 yo is a good time to get your prostate checked before problems start.

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