Pancreatic Cancer Case Study
Chris was told he had six months to live, but he didn’t give up…
There is a reason many people use words like ‘battle’ and ‘fight’ when talking about cancer. It’s not an easy journey, but a fighting spirit and ‘never give up’ attitude lead this couple to dispel initial diagnosis and prove their doctor’s predictions wrong.
Pancreatic Cancer Case Study- Background
Chris is a 62-year-old man from London. Without any previous medical issues or problems, he was suddenly taken ill and diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in 2014.
Before coming to Alivia, he was under the care of a private health insurance company through his work and he assumed he was getting the best advice. Pancreatic is known to be one of the most aggressive cancers that a person can get.
Unfortunately for Chris and his wife Alice, his prognosis was poor and his doctors told him to get his affairs in order. He had been given around six months to live.
Chris and Alice sought out a second opinion with Alivia because they wanted access to cutting edge treatment and were willing to try to find options that Chris’ current doctors hadn’t explored. Alivia promised to take a multi-disciplinary view of his case and begin the search for a top specialist immediately.
What Alivia Did
Once Chris and Alice had been allocated an Alivia Personal Health Manager and Chris’s medical files had been collected in full, Alivia’s internal research team – The Medical Intelligence Unit (MIU), began picking apart his case to date to try and see if there had been any small areas of misjudgement or any areas which might need further clarification.
The MIU identified a professor at a leading medical centre of excellence in London.
He advised that although the tumour was currently inoperable, if he could select a successful first line treatment there might be a small chance the tumour could reduce enough that an operation by a highly skilled surgeon could not be ruled out.
Cutting Edge Diagnostics
At the same time, Chris agreed to participate in a little known diagnostic process called Tumour Grafting. Alivia partners with a US based company that specialises in advanced forms of personalized oncology solutions.
The company takes a tissue sample of the patient’s tumour biopsy and through a proprietary process called Tumorgrafting tries to grow it – first in one and then several mice – in a controlled scientific test.
The idea being to replicate the environment in which the tumour grows in the patient’s body and enabling testing of multiple treatment combinations, without causing any harmful side effects to the patient.
In turn, Chris’s exact tumour would grow in the mice and scientists could test different drug options to see which drug ‘cocktail’ is most likely to have an effect on Chris’s specific tumour.
Fortunately, the first line of treatment was deemed successful enough by the Professor selected by Alivia to consider an operative procedure.
Chris agreed to fund an additional second opinion so Alivia could identify a further specialist, this time a surgeon. After a successful search by Alivia’s MIU, Chris went on to have the operation.
He is now cancer free. He has outlived his original diagnosis several times over.
This was a man who didn’t expect to be able to see Christmas of 2014. Alivia is delighted to have helped Chris with his battle and Chris and Alice hope their story can inspire others to continue fighting, even when all might seem lost.