Surgery to remove a tumor offers the best chance for long-term control of all types of pancreatic cancer
Arlington Heights, IL (PRWEB) April 20, 2010
Geraldine Perrotte never lost hope despite the devastating news she heard from doctors at a nationally recognized medical center about a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. The position of the tumor near a major blood vessel made her circumstance grave, and Geraldine was informed in November that she had only months to live.
“I was told at the Mayo Clinic that there was nothing they could do,” said the 63-year-old Chicago woman. “The tumor was wrapped around the portal vein. They told me I had about 10 months to live.”
Geraldine returned home to the Chicago area, but refused to give up in her fight against pancreatic cancer. Her persistence led her to the Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, where the expertise of Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria made the difference in her life.
In January, Dr. Bilimoria removed her cancerous tumor during an intricate eight-hour operation that involved the Whipple procedure, considered the most complex surgery outside of an organ transplant. Geraldine has remained cancer-free to date, and her prognosis is good, Dr. Bilimoria said. “Geraldine’s life is now measured in years rather than months, and more importantly, she now has a real chance of cure from this disease,” he said.
Pancreatic cancer is widely considered one of the deadliest cancers. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 42,500 new cases of pancreatic cancer, and 35,000 deaths from the disease.
“Surgery to remove a tumor offers the best chance for long-term control of all types of pancreatic cancer,” Dr. Bilimoria said. “In Geraldine’s case, I also had to remove a large portion of her portal vein. I then did a venous reconstruction, taking a piece of vein out of her neck that I used to rebuild the portal vein.”
Dr. Bilimoria has averaged 50 to 75 major pancreas surgeries per year over the past decade, compared to many medical centers that may perform only one or two of these cases a year. Since opening the Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases one year ago, Dr. Bilimoria has performed more than 200 major pancreas and liver surgeries at Northwest Community Hospital.
“I feel really good. I’m up and around, and I’m getting back into shape,” Geraldine said. “Never give up and never stop fighting no matter how dim your outlook might be. There’s always hope.”
For more information about pancreatic cancer treatment options and the Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Northwest Community Hospital, visit nch.org/pancreas.