In 2013, I was hospitalized three times for pancreatitis. Five months after my symptoms first arose, I learned I had pancreatic cancer.
Years earlier, I had worked as a registered nurse and had taken care of patients with pancreatic cancer. I knew what the statistics were. I recognized I was lucky to be a candidate for surgery, which was followed by radiation and a lot of chemotherapy. I am now a 34-month survivor.
On this journey, I have tried to find out more about pancreatic cancer survivors to better understand what might make them different. But searching for information on survival has been frustrating.
I told myself when I got sick that I would not sit back and do nothing. I have to participate in all the ways that I can, while I can. Participating in the Patient Registry is the little thing I can do right now. The Patient Registry is a global online database created to look for patterns in treatments, side effect management and diagnostics that will lead to improved treatment options and outcomes for patients.
I joined the Patient Registry because I believe more research will lead to improved outcomes and move the survival rate in the right direction. The Patient Registry will make it easier for researchers to gain information efficiently, and I am hopeful the information collected in the registry will help determine characteristics of the survivors.
We’re randomly selected when we get this cancer. It’s not always what we do or how we live. I’m not in a high-risk group. I’m hoping the registry will help us find some answers, including a way to screen for this disease to catch it earlier. I don’t want people to have to go through what I went through.
I have enjoyed using the Patient Registry and hope others will take the time to share their information, too. It is going to make a big difference to someone down the road.
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or have cared for a loved one with pancreatic cancer, please volunteer to move pancreatic cancer research forward and help create better patient outcomes by participating in the Patient Registry.