Pancreatic cancer

After surviving a Whipple’s procedure for stage 1 pancreatic cancer in 2018 at age 80, plus six months of intensive chemo, a routine CT body scan early last year revealed, by sheer chance, a shadow on my lung.

A subsequent biopsy - very difficult and very uncomfortable - confirmed the presence of the same cancer cells that had infected my pancreas. Radiation treatment was carried out last October - known by the acronym SABR. Due to excessive inflammation of the area (post radiation) an early CT scan proved unreliable.

After allowing three months for the lung to heal, a further scan was carried out and I received the results just this week: “the lesion is stable”. However, this has not completely put my mind at rest as it still leaves the door open to the possibility of cell propagation resuming in the future. Has anyone been left hanging in this way regarding a cancer investigation?

I have been promised a further CT scan in August, but I remain somewhat anxious. Should I indeed be concerned?

  • Hi Nearlyman,

    Thank you for contacting us. My name is Isobel and I am one of the Cancer Information nurse specialists on the Macmillan support line.

    I am glad you have been able to reach out to us, it sounds like the last 4 years have been very challenging for you.

    It is very natural to have anxieties about the outcome of any treatment. This is a very common fear, and one that can often be on people’s minds. Uncertainty can be one of the hardest feelings to deal with.

    Talking about our fears can be uncomfortable but this can help people feel less alone with their thoughts and help us feel more supported. Reaching out, as you have done, can be the first step in getting the support that is correct for you.

    Our booklet Worrying about cancer coming back may be helpful at this time. It is split into different topics so you don’t need to read the whole booklet if you don’t want to. You can just dip into the sections that apply to you.

    It is good that you have been offered a further scan in August. It sounds like your team are actively monitoring this lesion and may give you some time to recuperate from the treatment that you have had.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again. You may also find it helpful to speak to one of our Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the support line who would be able to discuss this with you in more detail.

    Best wishes,

    Isobel Y Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email