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Anyone know about a pancreatic cancer link with melanoma?

12 Nov 2019 08:33

My dad, who is 78, has been diagnosed with what they think is Cholangiocarcinoma (the biopsy wasn't conclusive), he has a large tumour in his liver and 2 mets in his spine and has now developed a melanoma on his head, which they think is unrelated. I have googled and have seen there is a link between pancreatic cancer and skin melanomas but when I raised this with his consultant it was just dismissed. Does anyone have any experience of this?

His only symptoms are sciatica and a back ache, which he's had for 10 months. He has been told he's got months but we've no idea roughly how many. He is now on palliative chemo, GemCis, with no nasty side effects so far apart from tiredness. He and my mum are living with me because my mother had dementia and he can't cope with his illness and hers. I am really struggling to look after them both (her in particular), with all the appointments etc, the hospital is an hour and a half drive away and we have to go there at least twice a week. I am also finding it so hard not knowing how long he has left, he doesn't want to know and the docs won't tell me.

My whole life is now consumed with their care, I know they are my parents and I want to be there for them but it's so very hard to hold it together...

Anyone know about a pancreatic cancer link with melanoma?

12 Nov 2019 12:17 in response to min.b


I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's diagnosis. 

I believe that there is a link between melanoma and pancreatic cancer, however it's specifically to do with the gene that causes hereditary pancreatic cancer and FAMMM (Familial Atypical Multiple Mole And Melanoma Syndrome). This is where several members in a family have many atypical moles that can turn to melanoma or have turned to melanoma. These people are also at risk of getting pancreatic cancer as the same mutated gene (CDKN2A and CDK4) causes both conditions. FAMMM only accounts for a small percentage of melanoma diagnoses.

If your dad & no members in your family have been diagnosed with this syndrome then sadly your dad's melanoma & pancreatic cancer won't be connected. I'm afraid the biopsy would show if the melanoma was the cause of your dad's secondary tumours (different cell structure) so that is why they are saying it's not connected. I'm sorry I couldn't be any more helpful. Please ask for help with the care of your mum & dad. Your local Adult Services, GP Practice, Macmillan, Marie Cure and the local hospice may be able to share some of your burden. Love & strength to you,

Angie (melanoma patient)

Anyone know about a pancreatic cancer link with melanoma?

12 Nov 2019 14:08 in response to AngieT


Thank you so much for your reply. Your information has made it much clearer and it would appear that they are almost certainly unrelated. He hasn't had the melanoma removed yet but I am sure they will test it when he does (within 6 weeks aparently - an urgent removal!)

It just seems so rotten to me that he would have 2 seperate primary cancers, along with several secondaries too. But I guess if we are looking for positves, he made it to 78 with no health concerns and there are lots of much younger people on this site dealing with so much.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply and I wish you all the best

Michelle x