Stage IV pancreatic cancer with non-existant CA19-9
My dad was recently diagnosed with Stage IV, pancreatic cancer. He has a 3 x 6 cm mass in his pancreas near the uncinate process and there are 13 small lesions on his liver. He started chemotherapy last Monday, Gemzar and Tarceva. However, when they ran his blood work for the first time and got his baseline CA19-9, it was only 3!!! Has anyone else heard of this? The medical oncologist said that this does not hurt or help his situation, but that the only downfall is that we will not be able to monitor how the treatment is working by monitoring his CA19-9 levels. We will have to wait until the 3rd month when he has his CT scan. Anyone else know of a case with a barely there CA19-9??
I'd like to tell you a little bit about my dad.
He has been hurting for over six months. His PCP did a CT scan when he first started hurting in his mid right back and abdomen. Nothing showed up. Daddy continued to hurt and a little later, they did another CT
(in August) scan and an ultrasound - still nothing. He had another CT scan at the beginning of this month and his PCP called us all in to talk about the results. His news devastated us all. Right at Christmas time, he was telling us that it was highly likely that my dad has pancreatic cancer with a moderate-sized lesion in his pancreas and 13 metastatic lesions on his liver.
Our next step was to see a surgeon. He wanted to biopsy the liver lesions to see exactly what they were before we just assumed daddy had metastatic pancreatic cancer. The liver biopsy was done and the results came back that it was indeed metastatic.
He went to an oncologist the following week and just recently started his chemo last week. He has two weeks on, one week off of Gemzar and he takes Tarceva daily.
Right now, our goal is to get the liver lesions to go away and stay gone so that he can have a Whipple. However, the pancreatic lesion will have to shrink as well. My dad is relatively young, 59, and in great physical condition. Or at least he was. This diagnosis has been very trying on him emotionally, mentally and physically. He has started to lose weight rapidly and is hardly even eating. We have to push him to eat. He states that right now, he just doesn't have an appetite. If he continues, they are going to give him an appetite stimulant to hopefully help. Thankfully though, he is having better pain control than he initially was. He was taking OxyContin CR 15 mg every 12 hours and using Percocet for breakthrough pain. He was still having to use the Percocet a lot, so the oncologist upped the OxyContin to 30 mg every 12 hours and he has not used Percocet for breakthrough pain in almost one week!
Thank-you all for just being here. I'll to direct my mom, dad and brother to this site.