According to the Canadian Cancer Society, nearly 5,500 new patients are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually. Almost 4,800 die from the same disease each year.
Those are sobering stats. Why so high? In general, the further that cancers progress, the harder they are to treat. Since most patients present when pancreatic cancer is at an advanced stage, it makes disease management challenging.
That being said, progress is always underway. Here’s a look at the conventional approach, and an interesting case review from a 2018 issue of Anti-Cancer Drugs that covers the use of IV vitamin C.
Current Conventional Treatment
For pancreatic cancer, the best course of action in conventional oncology is FOLFRINOX, which combines multiple chemotherapy drugs in a regimen.
The most recent review looked at a total of 13 studies comprising 689 patients with advanced cancer of the pancreas. The median overall survival time range was 24 months longer than that achieved by the solo chemotherapy medication Gemcitabine (6-13 months)
Complimentary and Alternative Treatment
In this case report, a 68-year-old man presented with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, with a mean expected survival of 4-6 months.
His treatment was IV Vitamin C administered 2-3 times per week.
- Weight loss reversed within 4 month
- Liver lesion gradually diminished and undetectable after 1 year
- Primary tumour shrunk, but still present at 3.5 years after diagnosis
- Patient felt well and was active
Of course, this case report is just one patient. It only gives us an N=1, unlike the studies of FOLFRINOX, with an N in the hundreds. One patient story doesn’t give us statistically significant data to prove IV vitamin C’s value for pancreatic cancer.
But this case, along with others seen in clinical settings, raises the possibility that this treatment option may be valuable in those with this tricky diagnosis, where conventional therapy is improving, but still modest at best. Here’s hoping for more robust clinical trials in the future.
Questions about cancer? Dr. Ehab Mohammed, ND brings more than 20 years of oncology experience to the StoneTree in Collingwood. You can book a complimentary “meet the doctor” visit with Dr. Ehab to have all your questions answered here.