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Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Brendita on Jan 10, 2018 6:14 pm

My 70 year old brother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his pancreas, abdomen and lymph nodes. He has decided to try the suggested treatment of Gemcitabine/Abraxane chemo (once a week for three weeks, then one week off). He will begin next week. Does anyone have experience with this type of cancer and/or this treatment? I will be with him as a support person and would like to know what to expect during the procedure and after effects. I have read a lot but would like to hear personal stories. Thanks so much for any information!

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Elsie13 on Jan 11, 2018 4:42 pm

Brendita‍ , so sorry to hear about your brother's diagnosis. Lacey_adminCCS‍ , I don't know if Joyceladouceur‍  still visits the site?  Maybe she could tell her story?
       Brendita, there are some discussions here about caring for someone with cancer that might be of interest:
https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/35
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Brendita on Jan 12, 2018 8:40 am

Thanks so much Elsie!

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by June Bug on Jan 23, 2019 6:12 pm

Hi Brendita‍  I was diagnosed with PC in September 2017. My November CT confirmed stage IV with a spot on the liver. I have been responding well to gemcitibine/abraxane and my tumor has shrunk by 75%. After more than a year in treatment I have to say there have been some side effects, mainly diahrea and neuropathy. I started taking breaks early on to help minimize the buildup of toxicity and side effects. My treatment is also 3 weeks on, one week off. In addition I have been taking one complete cycle off after every three cycles. Knowing a break is coming helps me to deal with the challenges. Take care.

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Winterkill on Mar 26, 2019 11:47 am

Thank you for sharing. My husband stage four pancreatic cancer will start thIs exact treament next week 

junebug‍ 

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by AdaB on Jul 21, 2020 2:37 pm

Hi, I'm so happy to hear the Abraxane has helped you.  My husband's pancreatic cancer has progressed.  The Oncologist is recommending Gemcitabine/abraxane combination chemo but Abraxane is not covered.  They say it's $3000/treatment.  How can we get this covered?  If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!
 

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Lianne_Moderato on Jul 22, 2020 1:09 pm

Hello AdaB‍  and welcome to the community..
Have you asked your husband's oncologist about ways to have the drug covered? When I was in treatment, there was a shot recommended for me that was $2600 per shot. My oncologist looked into access to the drug by the manufacturer a reduced or free rate. In the end the plan at my employer at the time did cover it.. If you haven't had that conversation with the oncologist I would start there.
You may also want to call our Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-3333 to see if they can point you in the direction of info on drug access.
Is the $3000 a one time cost or per treatment?

Keep us posted

Lianne
 

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by AdaB on Jul 22, 2020 2:53 pm

Hi Lianne
The Oncologist is having her assistant look into whether or not his company benefits will cover it. The $3000 is per treatment and is already an compassionate rate. I spoke to someone at the Cancer Society yesterday who was very helpful. She directed me to the manufacturer. I spoke with them and they said to wait for a response from his  company benefits. If it’s not covered, to ask the oncologist to fill out the enrolment forms. I just wasn’t clear on how much would be covered from the manufacturer once he’s enrolled and what all the requirements are.  What scared me is the oncologist said that people usually can’t afford the treatment so they opt out. Is she trying to tell us there are no options?  Are there any subsidies out there?  I’m reaching at straws but I need to do something for him. I have no idea why the government wouldn’t pay for a treatment that has proven to benefit the patient. 

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Laika57 on Jul 22, 2020 4:00 pm

Hi AdaB‍ 
has he had prior treatments? What province are you in?
my husband was on gemcitabine & nab-pac-litaxel which I believe is the same compound as abraxane. I downloaded the info sheets, including the one for healthcare providers.
in it, it stated it is covered but not if prior treatment with folfirinox was unsuccessful. This is ontario though.
I understand the reasoning being that folfirinox is much more aggressive, and if it doesn't work the bean counters dont see much point trying the gentler drug after...

there are other avenues to get funding for things, the social worker can get you hooked up with different programs.
hubby got a drug card after being re-admitted for a heart condition because he couldn't afford the blood thinners theywanted him to take.
Have you hugged your dog today?

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by AdaB on Jul 22, 2020 4:43 pm

Hi Laika
Yes, he had 12 treatments of fulfironox. The tumour grew 4mm so the oncologist is recommending Gemcitabine + Abraxane which is I believe you are right, the same compound as 
nab-pac-litaxel. If fulfironox is more aggressive then I’m not sure why she would recommend this options. 
We live in Ontario. 
Are you referring to the social worker at Princess Margaret?  

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by Laika57 on Jul 22, 2020 4:54 pm

AdaB‍ whichever social worker you have at your cancer clinic. Ours is in Oakville.

sorry to hear about the fulfirionox. Not all chemo regimens work the same. So yeah, there's a chance the abraxane might work. Heck, hubby read about someone who had 3 years of chemo and only in the last 6 months it started working, and they ended up cancer free. Meanwhile, he had 3 rounds and while it reduced the cancer enough to get off the blood vessels, it pretty much fried his heart...
unpredictable stuff.... 
Have you hugged your dog today?

Re: Pancreatic cancer

Posted by AdaB on Jul 22, 2020 5:59 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband!  We live in Burlington and decided to go to Princess Margaret. I will definitely reach out to the social worker. Thank you for the advice!