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The Importance of a Good Treatment Team

photo of the mineral bismuth
cobalt123; Flickr

• Stomach troubles turn out to be pancreatic cancer
• Chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor
• Whipple procedure removes the cancer

I went to my doctor because I had an upset stomach and thought I might have irritable bowel syndrome.

My doctor thought something else might be going on. He sent me to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy. The test showed that I had pancreatic cancer. I was diagnosed in September 2018, when I was 79 years old.

The gastroenterologist referred me to Dr. Erkut Borazanci at HonorHealth Research and Innovation Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I live. I asked Dr. Borazanci if my diagnosis was too late, and he reassured me that it was not too late.

A Team to Care for Me

HonorHealth gathered a multidisciplinary team for my treatment. Together they developed a treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor before surgery to remove it. Although I did not qualify for his clinical trial, Dr. Borazanci started me on the same combination of chemotherapy with gemcitabine, cisplatin, nab-paclitaxel, and paricalcitol (vitamin D). I also received stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with Dr. Steven Sckolnik.

The treatment worked and my tumor was shrinking, so I met with surgeon Dr. Albert Amini. I had Whipple surgery on January 4, 2019 using a minimally-invasive technique. I was sent home eight days later. I had an excellent pathology report after surgery, with no signs of active cancer.

Life After Treatment

Now, I go back to HonorHealth every two months for a checkup. I feel great. I am still working as a manager of a brokerage, and I walk regularly or go to the gym for exercise.

It is very important to find the right care. The people at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at HonorHealth are terrific and really helped me.


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