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Phil - Interview 32

Age at interview: 50
Age at diagnosis: 50
Brief Outline: In March 2010 Phil was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After a liver biopsy doctors found that the cancer had spread to his liver. Phil is having chemotherapy and will soon start vaccine injections as part of the TeloVac trial. He feels well but tired.
Background: Phil is the manager of a betting shop, but is not working at the moment due to ill health. He is married and has a son. Ethnic background/Nationality: White British.

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At the end of 2009 Phil experienced stomach pains. At first he thought this was due to a duodenal ulcer. He also started to lose weight. In January 2010 the pain became more severe, so he went to his GP, who referred him to a specialist. The gastroenterologist ordered an ultrasound and a CT scan, and performed an endoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. In March 2010 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then Phil had two liver biopsies, and the doctors found that the cancer had spread to his liver.
 
Phil was told that he could take part in the TeloVac trial, which he decided to do. He was randomly allocated to the arm of the trial which included chemotherapy and vaccine injections. He has had two cycles of chemotherapy and is about to start the injections, which will be put into his stomach. These injections will continue unless they are found to be ineffective.
 
The first intravenous infusion of chemotherapy gave Phil a high temperature. When the consultant found out that Phil had experienced this fever she was very concerned and angry with the trial nurse because she should have been informed immediately. Phil was given intravenous hydrocortisone and Piriton before the next session of chemotherapy, which stopped this unpleasant side effect. 
 
Phil feels good at the moment, though very tired at times. He is optimistic about the outcome of his treatment. The local Macmillan nurses have been very helpful. They have, for example, helped Phil claim Disability benefit and Carers’ Allowance. Phil has been very well supported by his family and friends.
 
Phil was interviewed for Healthtalk in 2010
 
 

Phil had severe abdominal pains about half an hour after eating. At first he and his GP thought...

Phil had severe abdominal pains about half an hour after eating. At first he and his GP thought...

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I was suffering from some stomach pains, some severe abdominal pains at the beginning of 2010 and I went to see my local GP and to all intents and purposes we were convinced it was a duodenal ulcer from the symptoms.
 
Did you have any other symptoms apart from the pain?
 
I had some stomach pains, when I ate, I used to get a reaction about half an hour after I ate, which again everyone thought was the food going down irritating the ulcer. And that went on for a little while before I got these severe pains which resulted in me going to the doctor. So there probably was time, about a couple of months where kind of, if I’d been more aware I could have gone to the doctor earlier.
 
Did you notice any change in your bowels, your stools?
 
No, nothing at all.
 
Nothing.
 
And I used to like a drink quite a lot, and the only thing I found was that giving up alcohol kind of eased the symptoms. Which is what I did. So I just thought it was alcohol irritating an ulcer.
 
 

Phil was terrified by the thought of having an endoscopy but the sedative made him sleepy and the...

Phil was terrified by the thought of having an endoscopy but the sedative made him sleepy and the...

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Can you say a bit more about the endoscopy? For people that don’t know
what an endoscopy is.
 
Yes, an endoscopy is a camera down the throat into the stomach to view the stomach lining. And the thought of it terrified me to be quite honest. But when I was given the sedative, it was a case of have you done it yet? And they’re already completed it. So…
 
Yes, so they put you to sleep almost.
 
Yes. It was, it was not unpleasant at all. But it was the thought of, its not nice, sort of having a tube down your throat,
 
Yes.
 

but the actual reality was okay. 

 

Phil contacted a Macmillan nurse who visited him at home to discuss his needs and applied for...

Phil contacted a Macmillan nurse who visited him at home to discuss his needs and applied for...

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And where have you looked for support? Apart from your family I guess?
 
Yes I’ve, I’m very lucky sort of with family and friends, sort of very supportive and involved, but the best thing I did was contact the Macmillan nurses, and they’ve been very helpful. Kind of, my company aren’t very considerate and I only get statutory sick pay, which obviously is quite a financial strain.
 
Gosh.
 
R'        But the Macmillan nurses sort of went through all the benefits I could be receiving, and sort of claimed them on my behalf, so they’ve been very good. I recommend people…
 
Can you remember what, can you remember what those benefits are called? Because other people might not know about those.
 
There’s my, I get a disability benefit of £70 a week. And a carers benefit of £50 a week. And that, this was actually back dated from when, and she put in the claim for me. So that makes quite a lot of difference.
 
Mm. And that’s not means tested is it?
 
No, not at all.
 
And how did you find the Macmillan nurses? Did somebody put you in touch with them?
 

I was told kind of to get in contact with them sort of, that they were the best people to kind of go through. And we just picked up the forms and there’s a local one, fairly close to where I live, where they’re based, and we contact them and they came out to the house and interviewed me and my wife and kind of discussed our needs and what they could do for us. And they’ve kept in contact with us, they sort of, even though they’ve got the benefit’s sorted out, they’ve phoned up. They get reports on how my progress is going. 

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