Sad to hear that Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer, but glad to hear he’s being treated at Stanford. Apparently he had a “serious GI procedure” back in February at Stanford — that would have been his Whipple procedure where they take out part of the pancreas along with a bunch of other surrounding structures, a surgery lasting a good 8 hours — and now he’s receiving chemo.
His oncologist Dr. George Fisher says he’s responding well to the chemo.
Pancreatic cancer is one of our worst enemies in the cancer world: the fifth leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. There is a 4% 5-year survival rate. The problems are two-fold: first, due to the location of the pancreas, patients often don’t have any symptoms until the cancer has grown and spread to other organs that would cause symptoms (classically this is “painless jaundice” and weight loss). The second problem is that we don’t have great chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, either.