On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss the advancements in pancreatic cancer treatment. This topic is especially timely. Not only is it Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month but also Alex Trebek, the longtime host of Jeopardy, recently died from this cancer. Alex Trebek was a great champion of pancreatic cancer treatments. The quality of life that he experienced with this cancer was not unique to him. Pancreatic cancer patients are increasingly experiencing a similar good quality of life during their treatments.
Terry and Bob take a moment during the Thanksgiving week to reflect on the countless families with a missing member at the dinner table due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed roughly a quarter-million Americans. In addition to those who have passed, many senior family members cannot attend family dinners due to self- and government-imposed restrictions on gatherings. With vaccinations on the horizon, let’s all hope that family gatherings can begin again soon.
Dr. Bob interviews Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), who discusses the incredible progress that’s been made fighting the world’s toughest cancer. Whereas just ten years ago, patients only had time to experiment with one treatment, advancements now mean that they can try three or four. What’s especially heartening, explains Julie, is that quality of life during treatment has improved significantly as well. Alex Trebek, who was able to host Jeopardy almost right up to his death, is an excellent example of this progress. Trebek’s top-notch care is increasingly being democratized to all pancreatic cancer patients.
Julie also discusses PanCan’s success in advancing a patient-centric care model that brings patients together with clinical trials. Multiple clinical trials can now occur at the same time, testing several promising therapies at once. This allows possible treatments to fail faster but also succeed faster. It also de-risks the clinical trial process, which is incredibly expensive. For Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, PanCan is sharing a different patient and caregiver story every day to raise awareness and further progress towards successful treatment outcomes.
Patient correspondent Kate Pecora interviews Quin Taylor, a patient advocate, kidney transplant recipient, and gratitude enthusiast. She is the founder of TayloringGratitude, which draws on her work as a social worker and personal experience with kidney failure to teach patients to have gratitude about their chronic diseases. Quin explains how there’s no point in having anger at your chronic illness when it’s already causing side effects and pain. Patients must become at peace with their diseases, explains Quin, so that they can become free. She discusses her book about the journey of gratitude and learning how to survive and thrive with a chronic disease.