An Interventional Approach to Pancreatic Cancer | Steve’s Story | Weill Cornell Medicine

By Paul Henry / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

PET scans every six months blood tests
monthly medications twice a day My cancer diagnosis interrupted the old
rhythm of my life but it’s given me a new one my name is Steve price and I’m a
pancreatic cancer patient by the time I got to dr. oceans office
there was already a lot of evidence that I had pancreatic cancer stepping into
that waiting room and looking around at my fellow patients was a very
intimidating experience and it drove home the gravity of my own situation
when I first met Steve he was very sick he was in a lot of pain his abdomen was
distended the imaging showed two extremely large 16 centimeter tumors in
his liver and another one in his pancreas the first step was confirming
the type of cancer and then getting him started on chemotherapy right away in
order to do that he needed a biopsy so I referred him to an interventional
radiology. Interventional radiology is an innovative field of medicine in which
doctors use imaging guidance to diagnose and treat various forms of diseases I
put a port in Steven price and I’ll also did a biopsy on the same day the port is
a disc with the silicone bumper that’s connected to a vein that allows the
nurse to give chemotherapy at all times I also did a liver biopsy of using
ultrasound imaging guidance we got seven biopsy samples and we were able to give
Steve the therapy he needed immediately here at the David H Koch Center health
care delivery is increasingly moving towards less invasive treatments
interventional radiology is perfectly suited to be at the center of this
movement it allowed Mr. Price to receive
chemotherapy right away even on the same day once I got a definitive diagnosis
there was no way to avoid the reality it’s one thing to know that you have
pancreatic cancer it’s another thing to know that you have advanced metastatic
pancreatic cancer that’s a grim experience the good news was the chemo
worked my tumors had shrunk dramatically one of the particular challenges of
pancreatic cancer though is that you can never really stop treating it it has a
nasty inclination to come back during the course of my chemotherapy as the
cancer kept retreating and as the chemo side-effects kept accumulating we had
our eye out for other options I discussed with see various clinical
trials for pancreatic cancer he wanted to participate in a study the problem
was his variant of pancreatic cancer was so unique he was excluded from almost
all of them except for one our precision medicine clinical trial so precision
medicine is really changing how we treat cancer patients especially advanced
cancer patients when the England Institute for precision medicine
receives a biopsy from interventional radiology we sequence the DNA of a
tissue that gives us a information about the mutations that are driving the
cancer in individual patients and it gives us opportunities to understand
what the patient could respond to when it comes to drugs or combinations I
still remember when I first saw the printout for my precision medicine
report suddenly that nameless shapeless enemy of mine snapped into focus
it took a little of the terror out of being a cancer patient we had a major
breakthrough in Steve’s case the trial results came back and he tested positive
for the Braca 1g mutation as Allison and I discussed the significance of my
bracha one mutation I got very excited after seven or eight months of chemo my
body had pretty much had as much as it could take I was able to switch over to
a pill based regimen that specifically targets that bracha one mutation it’s
truly amazing that Steve has achieved the response to
therapy that he has and now he two years later is living well and all of this was
because of precision medicine I don’t know yet whether I’ve gotten a pardon
from cancer or just a reprieve but whatever it is it’s more than anyone
could reasonably have expected when this journey began there’s a lot about the
future I can’t predict one thing I can predict is I’m never gonna have a day
without gratitude If I could say anything to my care team at New York
Presbyterian and Weill Cornell medicine I appreciate what you did for me and the
best way to express that appreciation is to share this story with others so
that other people in a situation like mine with a need like mine now there’s
some place to go where they may find help

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