Volume 5 Issue 3 - Nurse Patricia Peat

Originally published in Issue 3 2006 icon

Nurse Patricia Peat

Patricia Peat is a registered nurse. Following years of experience in oncology, combined with research into natural approaches to cancer she now runs Cancer Options.

Cancer Options is a specialised team of practitioners who provide individual consultancy and coaching into treatment and making decisions for all approaches to cancer.

Details of their services are available at www.canceroptions.co.uk or by calling 0845 009 2041.


My wife has pancreatic cancer and they said it is inoperable, is it not possible to remove the whole pancreas with the tumour?  I have been told chemotherapy is no use with this, what will they offer instead?


Pancreatic tumours are extremely hard to operate on due the complexity of blood vessels and nerves in the area. The vast majority tend to be inoperable, some can have a whipples procedure when the cancer is in the head of the pancreas, which involves reconstruction of the area, but is not in itself curative. Removal of the whole pancreas is feasible but is rarely done mainly due to the siting of the tumour. There is a clinical trial underway for photodynamic therapy being used to debulk the mass of the tumour when it is inoperable which is hoped will help with longevity and symptom control. This may be a reasonable option for your wife to consider.  Chemotherapy has had little success unfortunately. Gemzar whether on it’s own or with cisplatin does seem to have improved the outcome to some extent. Doctors will be weighing up the balance for your wife as to whether the benefits will outweigh the side effects and this varies from individual to individual dependant on how progressive things are and how well they might cope with treatment. Sometimes with pancreatic cancer it is advisable not to have active treatment, as there are few benefits and a more holistic approach where the focus is on maintaining weight and well being can bring greater quality of life.

My niece has nasopharyngeal cancer, which I gather is rare. Someone said it may be caused by a virus, is this true?

Nasopharyngeal cancer occurs in association with Epstein-Barr virus, which is the most common and is associated with several types of cancer.   Most people are exposed to this virus and develop antibodies. It is theorised that the chronic inflammation that can occur as a result of the virus can be a major contributor to developing this type of cancer.   There is growing thought, particularly in the complementary field that a large viral load may be contributing to many types of cancer, as they can lie dormant and undetected in the body. It may be worth her while having this checked out by a holistic practitioner.


I read recently about a blood test to screen for lung cancer. My Father died from lung cancer, would it be worth my while being screened, is it likely to run in families?


There is an antibody-profiling test, which has just been announced in America, which correctly predicted non-small-cell lung cancer in blood samples taken from patient’s years before they were actually diagnosed with lung cancer. However, they do have to do further testing to be assured of it’s reliability so it is a long way off becoming available in normal practice over here.  It looks as if we shall see increasing development of blood testing to pick up cancers much earlier than when they become visible on scans which is very good news.  There have not been any identified familial links to lung cancer that I am aware of, obviously if both of you smoked that would greatly increase your risk, if not, you are not more likely to develop it than anybody else. When there has been a family member with cancer, ones awareness of it is always greatly heightened, but unless you have noticed any symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue or weight loss, there does not seem to be any need to worry.


Do you know anything about hyperthermia treatments with chemotherapy?y niece has nasopharyngeal cancer, which I gather is rare. Someone said it may be caused by a virus, is this true?

Yes this is a combination used much more in Europe than here. There is much evidence to show the hyperthermia allows either chemotherapy or radiotherapy to be more effective, often resulting in a lower, less toxic dose being used.   The hyperthermia can either be to the whole body or directed to an area and there are varying degrees of it.  We have had several clients who have been treated with this combination in Europe and it seems to be effective in helping weaken the resistance cancer cells develop to chemotherapy. It appears to be effective on other levels as well, as it is helpful with detoxification and in stimulating the immune system. This is rather like the old-fashioned fever therapy where physicians as the body’s natural defences being activated viewed high temperatures positively. Nowadays of course we discouraged temperatures at the onset and some European doctors feel this is not helpful in maintaining an effective immune system.
Though there are some elements of this emerging in clinical trial, there are no facilities here for combining the two, but hyperthermia facilities are available privately and can be used in conjunction with holistic regimes.


Advice from The Cancer Experts - your questions answered
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