Monday, June 14, 2010

Nurse Practitioner says, "Pancreatic Cancer Sucks!"

Our neighbors were very nice people. The kind that would offer to let you swim in their pool (though I didn't often because I didn't want to be one of THOSE neighbors). They would come over and talk to the hubby while I was busy at the office and discuss politics and health care issues. They were never loud or obnoxious and always made sure that their dogs never left their "deposits" on our lawn.
Since their move South, I hadn't seen them in a while. On a recent visit I asked him about his drastic weight loss and he said that the doc down south had scoped him and said that he didn't know? Any scans done? Nope.. They were fighting over which imaging facility that his doctor wanted him to go to. I told him that I thought something bad was brewing and that he needed to get a foot up someone's ass and get a CT scan done. I was worried that he had some kind of cancer because of his color and his fatigue.
After months of trying to get someone to listen and scan him, they found the pancreatic cancer too late. He passed yesterday. I hope that his wife finds the strength to carry on after dealing with his cancer and loss. Rest in peace!

Note to providers...
Pay attention to your patient's symptoms.
Especially notice weight loss that occurs by other means, except for active dieting.
Don't play turf wars with imaging centers. If a provider prefers a particular imaging center, ask why? Sometimes patients can't afford to travel distance and therefore won't get the studies done.
Confirm that additional studies are being done and don't assume that specialty is doing them. Ask for the reports! Ask your patient if they have been scanned, if you think they need one, do it yourself first! I think that most specialists would actually rather a patient come in with imaging already done so that they know where to look further if needed.

Any other suggestions or comments? Chime in!


  1. So sad! Watchful waiting is BS.

    I tell my patients that if they don't like what they hear, they are entitled to a second opinion.

  2. I agree that sometimes a second opinion is very important. Especially if you thing something is wrong and you aren't being listened to.

  3. Anonymous5:09 AM

    How bout skip the nurse and see a doctor.

  4. Anonymous, Hmmm. Do I detect a NP hater? You may as well get over the fact that we are joining the primary care forces and if you don't want to see us, that's your call. Don't begrudge others who do.