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Pancreatic Cancer

Will Chemo Treat Stage 4 Pancreatic CA?



My mother was just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She also has spots in her liver and at least one lung. The other lung is filled with fluid now. Her doctor started her on Gemzar and Tarceva. What are the chances that this chemo will actually help buy her time? What is the average lifespan for persons diagnosed at this stage both with and without chemo? What is the percentage of individuals who benefit from this type of chemo at this stage? Thanks.


Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer have on average life span 2-4 months (depending on extent and overall pt'sa condition); with chemotherapy around 5-7 months. Of patients taking gemzar, 19% will be alive in 1-year; with gemzar and tarceva around 23%, so definitely there are patients who benefit from this treatment.

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Response by:

Malek  Safa, MD Malek Safa, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati