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    Hi Arlene,

    Welcome to our group.  I am glad you have found us but sorry to learn about your father’s unexpected diagnosis.

    The itching sounds unbearable, I hope the doctors can bring it under control.  I looked through various suggestions found on this board and elsewhere, and the main suggestions include the usual topical anti-itch products and some medications that the doctor would prescribe.  For example, I believe some antidepressants can be helpful to reduce itching.  What is important with our cancer is to stay on top of side effects and distressing physical symptoms with your father’s doctors.  If a drug given for nausea or pain or itching is not working, ask for another option.  It can unfortunately be trial and error to figure out what brings the most relief as each patient reacts differently.

    Here is a link to a National Cancer Institute article on cancer and itching – it has a lot of suggestions of things to try toward the end: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/skin-nail-changes/pruritus-pdq

    Usually if there is a blockage in the bile duct(s) and bilirubin is high, some form of stenting or drainage is used to address it.  Was this done for your father as part of his ERCP’s?

    I really hope your father gets some relief soon, and feels better.  A cancer diagnosis is hard enough but adding in COVID makes helping a family member through diagnosis and treatment all the more complicated and unsettling.  Please stay in touch and send any questions our way.

    Regards, Mary



    Welcome to our group and sorry to hear about your dad. I used Sarna lotion with Camphor last year. It feels like burning at first but it will fade away. You can also try Sarna lotion just plain. Its available in Target.
    I tried showers with Epsum salt. But its a hassle. I used ice cubes in zip lock bag and just rub over my body. I also used coconut oil To keep my skin moist. None of them are perfect but they will help soothe the itchy feeling.
    It will take some time for for the bilirubin to drop if they placed stents correctly.


    Hope this helps. Fighting is fun giving up is not.


    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Ktoram.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Ktoram.


    My name is Arlene, My dad Patrick who is 72 has recently been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma cancer in his pancreas. My dad thought he had picked up a viral infection about four weeks ago but because of Covid 19 his local doctors wouldn’t see him and his urine samples were coming back clear. My dad knew something wasn’t right and said that if his doctor wouldn’t see him on Friday the 24th of April that he was going to the hospital. The doctor saw dad and at this stage, dad had started to look yellow and his itch was getting worse. The doctor sent him straight to the hospital.

    Since then we had CT scans, MRI and two ERCP procedures done and the horrible realisation that it was a cancerous tumour making my dad so sick. My poor dad is a week over the second ERCP but is still suffering from the itch and is not getting any sleep. He’s on antibiotics at the moment due to the wounds on his legs from scratching his skin.  My dad hasn’t had time to take a breath from all this news and is emotionally drained plus he hasn’t slept in weeks. I try and remember what life felt like before we got this life-changing news. My dad and mom get told all the time how well they look for their age, they really look after themselves in terms of their diet and exercise. My dad has had friends and relatives who have died of cancer and was always say its a terrible way to go and I know he was scare of it so he took extra care of himself. I think he just can’t believe the news.


    Dad’s tumour is at the neck of the pancreas and it’s in the cells. The tumour has blocked the bile duct into the liver which started this chain of events. The tumour is 3.4cm long and is too close to the superior mesenteric artery for surgery yet and we’ve been advised that dad needs 3 months of chemo to reduce the size of the tumour. Dad’s cancer has not spread anywhere else so we are praying that we can shrink the tumour and have surgery.

    Dad is really struggling with itch and his Bilirubin is still quite high, would anyone know any recommendations to help ease the itch, he is taking prescribed medication and herbal remedies as well, milk thistle  etc.


    I’m the youngest of 5, I’ve kinda taken on the role of getting all the information about what’s going on and I’ve read some of the discussion on here and found them so informative and this is all new to me and my family.  Being there for my dad and mom is being made all the more difficult due to covid 19, wearing masks and not hugging him is hard but we want to keep him safe.


    thanks for reading

    Arlene x

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