Thursday, April 22, 2010


'The Silent Killer'...Pancreatic Cancer!

In March 2008, actor Patrick Swayze announced he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and later died on, September 14, 2009. As a result, people have now began asking questions about this disease. While Pancreatic Cancer is not one of the most common forms of cancer, it is considered one of the most deadly because it is aggressive, spreads rapidly and thus often not diagnosed until it is in later stages, and few treatment options exist.

On September 10, 2008 the Silent Killer came knocking on my family's door! My Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. My Dad like many never knew there was anything wrong until he began having flu like symptoms in July 2008, but the Doctor's said that he probably had the stomach flu and sent him home. It wasn't until he began losing weight rapidly, became Jaundice, broke out into a terrible rash that turned into horrible painful sores all over his body, had extreme diarrhea, and abdominal pain, did the doctors finally take notice. They brought him in for a CT Scan where they found a mass, they then immediately admitted him into ICU. Where later tests showed a huge mass that would not allow the Doctor' scope to continue. A medical team attempted 'The Whipple Procedure(this is the common procedure often used to remove the tumor and help with survival rate of the patient this procedure normally takes 8 hours)', of which he bares the extensive scar across the trunk of his body. Four hours into surgery the doctor came out and dropped a bomb on us. He told us that the tumor was attached to the 'portal vein'(main vein in the body), and that if they tried to remove it, he would bleed to death on the table. So, they closed him up and told us that he had 3-6 months to live...And basically 'Have a nice day!' Here we are 10 months later...My Dad gave Chemotherapy a shot! And he seemed to be doing ok, but as the months passed he continued to get sicker! He's now in ICU and has been since Father's Day! My Dad is 6'3 and was 195lbs, he's now 125lbs, he's lost all his hair, is hooked up to oxygen, vomits blood constantly, is in horrific pain, and have now found out that the Cancer has spread to his Liver! He's not strong enough to even have chemotherapy at this point or surgery! But I still hope and pray that one day he can go back into it and that it will shrink the tumors or at least move it away from the portal vein so they can remove it if he's strong enough! So, with all this laying in our Mom, my sister, and I are at the hospital staying by his side and we continue the hunt for the cure and to help raise awareness everywhere! Because you too can have this terrible disease and not know before it's too late!

My Dad passed away on 7/22/09! My Mom, Sister, and I were at his side.

Here are the basics...
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death overall, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 42,470 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas during 2009, and pancreatic cancer will claim the lives of an est 42,000 of those people in the U.S. this year. It is almost always fatal, with a five-year survival rate of just 5 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Opera great Luciano Pavarotti, Comedian Bill Hicks, and actor Michael Landon died of Pancreatic Cancer. Michael Landon died only two months after he was diagnosed. Most recently this year NBA Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly, Patrick Swayze, NFL Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw, The disease has also killed several family members of former President Jimmy Carter, as reported last year in The Times. And the list continues.

But despite striking the famous, the disease gets comparatively less attention than other cancers. Pancreatic cancer research is funded at far lower levels than other forms of cancer. Although nearly as many people die of pancreatic cancer as breast cancer, funding from the National Cancer Institute amounts to just 15 percent of the funding for breast cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is so deadly because it is difficult to detect, early to metastasize. It is among the most aggressive of all cancers. By the time that pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, most people already have the disease that has spread to distant sites in the body. Pancreatic cancer is also relatively resistant to medical treatment, and the only potentially curative treatment is surgery. In 2008, approximately 31,800 people in the United States were diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and approximately 31,200 people died of this disease. These numbers reflect the challenge in treating pancreatic cancer and the relative lack of curative options.
For information log (If it weren't for this site and the wonderful people working there, we'd be lost and alone in this)

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XOXO, Gretchen