No chemo: I was diagnosed with inoperable... - Penny Brohn UK

Penny Brohn UK
1,478 members278 posts

No chemo

I was diagnosed with inoperable metastatic pancreatic cancer on 5/2/19. I had one session of Folfirinox and it nearly killed me. I was starving to death. I prefer fewer good months than more months of that. Can you survive with nutrition only.........?

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I can only speak for my wife who has Stage IV Colon Cancer [currently inoperable] and while its 4 days of real unpleasantness, she's immeasurably better for the rest of the cycle, actually far healthier than she was post diagnosis for quite some time! Treating the side-effects seems to be key however - with strong anti-nausia and steroidal medicines; without that it would be way harder…

Certainly the research on the cancer type I know of (above) is that with treatment you have a far longer life expectancy than without it. I believe its about 3-5 months without treatment for Stage 4, and about 2-2.5 years with modern chemo therapy, and a chance at far longer if perhaps it become operable…

While there may come a point that treatment isn’t worth the downsides, i can say that for our case that would seem to be a long, long way off…

(Plus with a young child it would need to be truly unbearably bad I’d say for my wife to make that decision..)

I would suggest going back to your oncologist - some drugs people just react very badly too, and at least try a change of treatments and medications for side-effects first…those made a massive difference…


None of which isnt to say that healthy living still isnt a good idea..

Indeed there is now growing research that exercise during chemotherapy extends helps it work, and that healthy eating (particularly the Mediterranean diet) helps also…

I’ve seen my [at the time undiagnosed] wife slowly dying from Liver metastasis, and I’d rather give it a very good shot first…

Life is life…

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I agree with the last contributor that it’s worth going back to see if they can change your regime and that your diet and exercise can make a difference to how you feel during chemotherapy.

I had 8 rounds of FEC-D last year for aggressive Triple Negative Breast cancer; I can honestly say I wasn’t ill at all during treatment and other than the odd day I had great energy levels. I ate a mainly plant based Mediterranean diet (with a small amount of organic meat and wild fish), walked every day (especially on chemo days to help get it out of my system) and practiced yoga which helped manage the stress you feel.

Whilst I appreciate not everyone feels well enough to exercise but it does contribute to well being and increases your blood oxygen levels even if you can only manage a short walk.

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Here are some links to the exercise research (its actually exercise making the chemo work better by pushing the chemotherapy drugs into the tumour it seems...

mdanderson.org/publications...

Here is a quote from another researcher..

They found that the rate of tumor growth was significantly slower in mice treated with exercise plus cyclophosphamide [a chemotherapy drug] compared with all other groups....

“We were truly amazed by these findings,” said co-senior author Mark W. Dewhirst, DVM, PhD, the Gustavo S. Montana Professor of Radiation Oncology, and vice director for Basic Science at DCI, in a DCI press release. “I have spent the better part of the last 30 years trying to figure out how to eliminate hypoxia in tumors, and have looked at a lot of different approaches—drugs, hyperthermia, and metabolic manipulations. None has worked very well, and in some cases, made things worse. So these findings with exercise are quite encouraging.”

"significantly reduced tumor growth and a 1.4-fold increase in apoptosis [cancer cell death] - (putting that into percentages I think thats a 140% improvement in the effectiveness of chemotherapy...!?)

Of course you still need to supply your own mouse-wheel..! (that last part was a joke!)

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