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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Pancreatic Cancer Discussions

Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby gunn » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:24 am

My dad was diagnosed this past friday with stage IV pancratic cancer. It has spread to his liver and other organs. When i asked the doctor if we can do a liver transplant he said no without any hesitation. There are 5 kids (19-31) who would be willing to give my dad thier liver if it can save him. Also the doctor won't remove any of the cancer surgically. He would rather leave it to chemo/radiation therapy which gives an average of 6 months to live. I DO NOT want my father to die anytime soon. He will never know his grandchilderen nor have the chance to see any of his kids marry. My dad is 53, about 6ft and when healthy weighed slightly over 200 lbs. Doesn't smoke and drinks occaionally yet doesn't get drunk. He is a banker therefore he's not really around high level of airborne toxins. Can someone PLEASE HELP ME, help my dad!!!
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby marleigh » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:25 am

I am so sorry for what you're going through. I lost my father at the same age, and it's hard. There's 5 of us, too, and the age ranges are strikingly similar. Again, I know it's hard.

The problem is that cancer is aggressive, and when it's spread to the stage IV category, any organ that they transplant will just get the cancer right back, maybe not immediately, but it will. Stage IV disease means the disease is nearly everywhere, in almost any body tissue available, and it just isn't feasible to make a sick man go through a liver transplant, which is horribly rough on the system, just to get cancer back in the organ. It's just not an option.

Having said that, my father was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. He had no clue that he was sick, and I'm sure your father is the same way. Given that, my father lived for 2-1/2 years, and this was several years ago. Advancements in the medical community continue to grow exponentially. Do yourself and your family a favor - get to the nearest teaching hospital and find aggressive physicians to treat the aggressive disease.

My best to you. I've been listening to cancer doctors speak for years now, and I'm a nurse, so I can say that your dad's doctor is right. I hate it, but he is. It's not right to play merry-go-round with organ donation, especially when he needs to get started on chemo right away to give him a chance for better long-term survival. It's not just in the liver. It's probably in the bone marrow and the pancreas can't be replaced, and that's where the cancer originated.

I'll keep you in my thoughts. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby lleweliyn22 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:34 am

What you should know in cancer is the stages, stage IV is a stage where the cancerous cell has already spread to all the organs and probably including bone marrow. It is nothing much the doctor can do except extending his life by chemo/radiotherapy.... You must accept this and i'm sorry to hear that. Is not easy to donate a liver as one person only got one liver, the doctor wont simply take off a person's life and replace it to another person.....
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby davie » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:43 am

I am so sorry for what you are going through. My sister was diagnosed on 7/20... she had the Whipple Surgery and is now going through Chemo and Radiation. She is stage 3. She feels very good, regretfully that is how this cancer is. No pain until the end. If there was pain, it could have beed diagnosed earlier. I too, would donate anything, but like everyone else said, this cancer is to fast. They gave my sister 20 months with stage 3. You are in my prayers. Please keep us posted if you just need to vent, please let us know how you are. I am taking care of my sister as much as possible. She has no one but me.... (too many family issues ! ) this exhausts me, but we must do what we must do.

Please take care of yourself tooo... your dad wants this.
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby eijaz » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:00 am

Sorry about your dad. Thats really unfortunate.
I think you should make your dad comfortable and keep him happy for whatever time he has left.
Ask the MD the best things you can do for him now. Dont get hung up on treatments that prolong his suffering and make him spend his last months living in a hospital. Pancreatic cancer is very painful and has a very poor cure rate.
I am praying for you, your dad and your family
Take lots of photo's, tell him everything you ever wanted him to know and show him every day how much you love him.
He will have good days and bad days, so be there to support him and probably the thing that is most important for him now is to know he left his children safe and happy and able to move on without him. You are his legacy.
Its all in Gods hands now. Peace and Christs love be with your family.
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby pfesssley2 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:05 am

I will be very frank, while asking your forgiveness as I do not intend to be hurtfull.
I'm 60, dx'd with stage 4 pancan with met to the liver in Feb 07. Currently I'm in the last stages of the disease.
Your Dad is in for the fight of his life, a fight he cannot win. Miracles do happen, God may have another plan, but it is in His hands now.
This is a very aggressive cancer. At stage 4, you can only use chemo or radiation to restrict growth of the cancer, which may extend life a little and aid pain management. Palliative care is what it's called. Controlling pain and making your Dad comfortable is the goal. Remission is improbable if not impossible.
Your Dad's progression will be unique to him. He may go down a long slow hill of ever increasing symptoms, or he may seem fine, almost normal for a time and then quickly descend into a valley. Please don't underestimate my words when I say that this can be a very painful cancer, with numerous other unpleasant symptoms.
Your Dad is going to need all the love and support that it is possible for family and friends to give. In ways you cannot yet imagine.

Never lose faith, keep a sense of humor and never give up hope. I sincerely hope that one day you can look back and swear at me for all my incorrect advice.

My prayers and best wishes to you.
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Why won't a doctor attempt a liver transplant in a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient?

Postby caddaham50 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:10 am

I'm afraid stage 4 is too late for surgery to work and giving him a new liver wont change the fact that his other organs have cancer also
im so sorry i know what your going through,in 4 hours i will board a flight back to Australia to try and see my dad before he passes from stage 4 lung cancer(matter of days) he was given 6 months but its only been 2
so spend what time you have with your dad and treasure it always
god speed
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