My pancreatic cancer was found purely by chance! My father died of an aortic aneurism in his 70s. The abdominal aorta is that portion of the aorta generally affected in that disorder. When I reached the age at which my dad died, I asked my internist whether I should be examined for a possible aortic aneurism. She agreed and arranged a CT scan for me.
At the hospital, the capable young radiologist informed me that my aorta was fine, but that my pancreas looked rather strange. I had no symptoms of pancreatic disease. A second CT scan confirmed the anomaly. I then gave the lady radiologist a large bouquet of roses! I was promptly referred for additional tests such as ultrasounds and biopsies.
Less than a week later, I was referred to an outstanding pancreatic surgeon. For 12.5 hours, she performed on me the full Whipple procedure for my Intraductal Papillary-Mucinous Neoplasm. After surgery, I was declared clear of malignant cells, and shortly thereafter, I was designated a survivor! It has been four years now, and I feel fine! Yes, there are complications of the Whipple, but I feel I have been blessed.
Also, I have been designated a survivor of squamous-cell carcinoma (about 24 years), and prostate cancer (about 14 years). I believe that one must have the will to overcome the trials encountered in life. The day before I entered the hospital for Whipple surgery, I mailed two abstracts for talks to be given at professional societies during the spring months. Later, I gave those talks proudly! We must put up the good fight, act promptly when the cancer is detected, and, of course, pursue means of early detection and treatments.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network offers fine supportive services towards such ends. They provided me with sound information. For example, they helped me find a first-class dietitian when I encountered serious digestive problems following the Whipple. More recently, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network provided me once again with educational materials when my pancreatic enzyme production was insufficient. In turn, I have had the privilege of communicating with a number of individuals as a volunteer who speaks with others to provide hope and inspiration through the Survivor and Caregiver Network at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
When young, I wrote the national plan for the new National Eye Institute, the NEI. I served twice on the National Advisory Eye Council. Separately, I helped start modern professional optometry in India (at Chennai, formerly Madras). This successful program and college have since been cloned, and today there are 7 added new colleges in India -- all cooperating with ophthalmology. I served as Dean at Berkeley for 12 years, and upon the California Systemwide Health Sciences Committee. Thus, I have had fine opportunities to build educational and scientific programs and institutions!
In retirement, I have dedicated myself to help others afflicted with pancreatic cancers.
We need orderly and quality growth of our scientific cohorts in order to provide early detection, prevention, and treatment of pancreatic cancers! Most critically, we must enhance our early detection of these diseases. And we must attract additional fine researchers and practitioners to our cause. These causes must be supported by distinguished centers for pancreatic research and teaching. Toward such ends, this year I served Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as lobbyist, as a Survivor-Scientist at the AACR meeting, and I have encouraged young and enthusiastic students and their very fine teacher in a nascent pancreatic research program at Chapman University in Orange, CA. I have also personally donated to pancreatic research. To be more effective, I am continually seeking education about pancreatic cancers. And, above all, we must all work and plan together to achieve success!