I was diagnosed with a well defined Stage IB adenocarcinoma, which was confined to the head of my pancreas on 14 May 2015. This was a culmination of about 7 1/2 weeks of various diagnostics.
My main symptom was mostly painless jaundice, which was accompanied by dark urine, pale stools, weight loss and fevers. MY PCP, who is trained as an internist, was suspicious of the actual cause. He got me into he UMD med center in Baltimore, which has a very good cancer clinic.
I qualified for surgery without needing chemo or radiation beforehand.
In the 19 days between being given the diagnosis and the surgery, pathology restaged to IIB. The tumor was half again as big as the confirming CT and biopsy showed.
I did have relatively mild chemo from July to December as 4 of the 29 nodes resected were suspect. All other surgical margins were negative for disease.
I have been showing no signs of active disease since the surgery.
Causes may have been the 25 years I smoked 3 packs a day, the 20 years I drank 500 - 1000 ml of 80 proof spirits a day, my tendency to moderate obesity (have been borderline diabetic for years) and to being fairly sedentary. Also, before the surgery, my pancreas produced twice the usual level of the digestive enzymes: lipase, amylase and protease.
I was the 3rd of 4 known cases in my family, others were maternal side: grandmother, uncle and a male 1st cousin.
I did have comprehensive genetic testing. 87 of 88 markers showed no significance for cancer development. The outlier showed uncertain significance for endocrine tumors. Mine was an exocrine tumor arising from the enzyme producing cells.
I believe that what saved me was paying attention to what my body was telling me. I called the doc to get my annual physical 5 months early.
I hope this is of use, and will check MedHelp every few days if anyone has a question or concern I can address.