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Thread: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

  1. #1
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    Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    Two years ago I had a kidney stone that was diagnosed after the pain/vomiting sent me to the ER. I had a CT scan of my abdomen which confirmed this. I remember clearly the doctor coming in after my CT and telling me it was a stone, and not telling me anything else (this is important). I passed the stone and the follow-up ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder were normal.

    Last week I had a mammogram, and this morning I had an e-mail telling me the results were in. I logged into the patient portal to see them and it was all clear. Awesome news. But then I noticed that the reports from my previous scans relating to the kidney stone were there, and I got curious because I wanted to see what parts of my body that abdominal CT scan covered. I thought if I looked at it, if any fears came up down the road I could just refer to that for comfort. Stupid, I know.

    So the kidney stone was there, but there were also two other findings that were completely new information to me. First there was some sort of "elongation" of the liver. Then, there was a "cystic pancreatic uncinate lesion", with a comment to further evaluate with an MRI. I was never told about this, nor was I told to get an MRI of any kind. The MRI thing was sort of scary, but I saw "cyst" and thought "okay, cysts are common and from what I know benign."

    But my curiosity got the better of me and I googled, and I found that although these "cysts" are commonly incidental findings, they're also seen as a risk for concurrent or future pancreatic cancer, and CT scans aren't really capable of determining if they're benign of malignant. There are a couple of different kinds and my scan didn't indicate, probably because it couldn't tell. So now I'm in an absolute panic that I could have had a malignant pancreatic tumor growing for two years.

    I'm sort of young for pancreatic cancer (43; I was 41 at the time of the scan) and have no symptoms, at least none that I've noticed, which I guess is good? I don't know when symptoms typically "kick in" and I sure won't be googling that. I'll be calling my doctor as soon as her office opens, but I feel so sick to my stomach right now.

  2. #2

    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    It's always horrible to read medical reports when you had no idea there had been findings that hadn't been shared with you. Hopefully you have been able to get in touch with your doctor now to ask about the mention of the MRI.
    This is probably no help at all but when my dad had pancreatitis caused by gallstones it was also mentioned in various scan reports before he had his gallbladder removed that he had some 'cysts' but no one at the time thought it was necessary to do anything about them.
    I'm sure that if you'd had something sinister for two years you would know about it by now. Definitely don't google in the meantime, and hopefully your doctor will be able to explain and reassure you

  3. #3
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    Thank you! Unfortunately my doctor couldn't see me until May 16, but in the meantime I sent a message to her through the patient portal with a copy of the report (though she can easily access it herself through my record) asking if she thinks it's in need of urgent attention.

    I'm trying to focus on the fact that it's been 2 years and at the time it was detected it was sort of big (about 2 cm, which in my limited knowledge seems to be big when it comes to tumors or other growths) but since then I haven't experienced any symptoms, or at least nothing I thought twice about. It just sucks because the pancreatic cancer hole is one I hadn't fallen down yet, and I can't write it off as anxiety because there are no obvious symptoms but there is an abnormal test result

  4. #4
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    So, an update - though I didn't expect to hear from her until tomorrow at the earliest, apparently my primary care doctor checks messages even when she's not in the office and has gotten back to me to say she recommends imaging and bloodwork before my appointment with her on May 16. I was a bit calmer today, but now my guts are all churned up again.

    I know this is the smartest thing and it beats having to agonize for the next month (or more) but of course I was kind of hoping she would say "No, it's no big deal!" Obviously she can't say that given the little bit of information in the radiology report but there was that little piece of me that hoped! (Also, I'm already dreading the e-mail I'll get when the results come in and having to restrain myself from opening it...)

  5. #5
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    She’s just covering her bases, but you know that it sounds like.

    I think it would be extremely unlikely you’d have cancer, especially that cancer, for two years and just not know. You would definitely know.

    It’s awful the original doctor dropped the ball, but it’s good to get it looked at now. I’m sure all is fine, but I understand the fear.
    __________________
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  6. #6
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    My friend had a cyst on this pancreas which took them a while to discover, but trust me: he knew! he was really unwell and had a lot of symptoms. I agree that if it was anything, you would have noticed by now. The pancreas is an organ that makes sure it's noticed, and you would feel it if something's wrong with it

  7. #7
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkling_Fairy View Post
    My friend had a cyst on this pancreas which took them a while to discover, but trust me: he knew! he was really unwell and had a lot of symptoms. I agree that if it was anything, you would have noticed by now. The pancreas is an organ that makes sure it's noticed, and you would feel it if something's wrong with it
    This made me feel better. Thank you so much. I hope your friend is doing well!

  8. #8
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    Quote Originally Posted by .Poppy. View Post
    She’s just covering her bases, but you know that it sounds like.

    I think it would be extremely unlikely you’d have cancer, especially that cancer, for two years and just not know. You would definitely know.

    It’s awful the original doctor dropped the ball, but it’s good to get it looked at now. I’m sure all is fine, but I understand the fear.
    You're right! As much a there is to complain about with the US healthcare system, I'm fortunate that I have her. I do trust her and I'm glad she got on it as quickly as she did. She also knows about my HA and has been incredibly understanding so she may just realize what this is doing and wants to help me get it behind me.

  9. #9
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    So the good news is that my blood work came back normal! Especially my liver/pancreatic numbers, which were the important ones - theyíre smack in the middle of the range, even leaning slightly toward the low end rather than the high end. Blood sugar is borderline but down 13 points (or whatever unit of measurement they use) from my last labs in 2022 and Iím sure that has to do with diet, which wasnít the greatest. The last few months Iíve made a lot of dietary changes for the better, so I expect that to continue going down.

    The eh news is that my doctor still wants me to have another CT scan. I know this is smart and that blood doesnít necessarily tell the whole story but I wish it did!
    Last edited by ckelley116; 22-04-24 at 01:05. Reason: Typo

  10. #10
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    Re: Panicking - pancreatic cancer fear

    That’s great news. I’m sure they won’t find anything concerning, and it will be good to put your mind at ease, but I understand the stress leading up to it. Do you have to wait long?
    __________________
    On the road of experience, join in the living day. If there's an answer it's just that it's just that way.
    When you're looking for space and to find out who you are...When you're looking to try and reach the stars.
    It's a sweet, sweet, sweet dream; sometimes I'm almost there
    Sometimes I fly like an eagle, sometimes I'm deep in despair.

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