In the dark

Hi can I please ask you questions I would like to ask my mum and cant.  She was diagnosed in July this year for locally advanced inoperable pancreatic cancer her stage of her condition was written done as Pt4 N1 Mx.  Aug she had biliary stent put in.  She has just completed three months of chemo, her scan said that the tumour hasnt grown anymore and will be put on radiation, I dont know what type.  I cant ask her, as she doesn't chat to long, we are not close and I have lived overseas for twenty years, gone back once.

Is she having treatments to prolong her life?

Does she have a year or more left?  What percent do people  live over a year?

Can you please recommend a good cream for sore swollen ankles at least I could send my mum this.  As I cant do anything else.

Thanks for any help / advice you can give me.

  • Hi 

    Thank you for getting in touch and welcome to the online community. There’s lots of great support here for you.

    It sounds a difficult time for you hearing your mum has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer The TNM staging describes the extent of the cancer:

    Pt4- T4- indicates the tumour is advanced and grown in to surrounding blood vessels. The P refers to the diagnosis being based on cells they have looked at in the lab.

    N1- shows the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes

    Mx- distant cancer spread (metastases) can’t be measured.

    Blockage of the bile ducts are a common symptom of pancreatic cancer. By inserting a stent they can unblock the ducts and if there was signs of jaundice then this normally improves.

    You are right, the chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy will be with the aim of prolonging your mum’s life. Once pancreatic cancer is advanced and can’t be removed the focus is to manage the cancer rather than cure it.

    Knowing how much time your mum may have left is a difficult question. Even the doctors looking after her may find this difficult to answer as it will depend on the response she has from both treatments. CRUK have some general statistics which may guide you.

    Regarding a cream for your mum, we can’t recommend a certain product as the GP or district nurse would be better placed to assess her skin and prescribe the best cream.

    Jova there are things you can do, we know it’s tough being so far away. You may want to think about writing to your mum. Sometimes getting cards from loved ones abroad can be such a lovely gesture and show how much you care. If you are thinking of trying to arrange to come home to visit your mum, then perhaps have this chat soon as this can take time to organise with the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

    If you want to speak all this through with one of our nurses. Feel free to give us a call from abroad on +44 207 091 2230.


    Best wishes and take care

    Lorraine-Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist