In August 2015 my father, Ray (Hey Man), was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (PC) - it is known as a 'silent killer' because oftentimes, the cancer has progressed to the late stages before being diagnosed and sadly, many of these patients (71%) will die within a year or less of diagnosis. My father was lucky in that his PC was discovered fairly early and he was able to undergo a very complex operation (Whipple) to remove the tumor in September 2015. A few months after my Dad's diagnosis, our Aunt Theresa was also diagnosed with PC. She also underwent a Whipple Procedure and they were both enrolled in the same clinical trial at Jefferson.
The 5 year survival rate for PC patients who have this procedure increases from a mere 8% to 20%. The statistics for PC in general are dismal and more research is needed to help find better therapies to treat PC. In October 2016, my dad's CT/PET scan revealed a new tumor developed in the same spot as his original tumor and he will began a new series of treatments as surgery is no longer an option. On March 25, 2017, my dad's battle with Pancreatic Cancer ended at home with his family at his side. Our Aunt Theresa's journey was similar and in August 2017 her fight came to an end, as well.
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