Pancreatic Cancer Survivor Brings His Message to Ocean County [AUDIO]
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and one New Jersey resident is bringing his message against the disease to Ocean County. Michael Weinstein's story is one that defies the odds.
He was diagnosed in 2005, underwent a year of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and finally received a two-day long surgery to finally rid him of the cancer. He now fights to raise awareness on behalf of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
He says one of the scariest things about Pancreatic Cancer is that it has one of the highest mortality rates of any cancer. According to Weinstein, 50% of diagnosed patients die within three to six months, while 75% of those diagnosed die within their first year. The rate of surviving five years is only 6%. That rate has remained the same for nearly forty years.
Weinstein says that the reason for such a high rate of death is that unlike other cancers, Pancreatic Cancer has no early detection.
"It's one of these organs that are tucked behind the stomach so if you get pain there doctors automatically think it's something with the stomach." He says that belief often leads to the cancer not being noticed or misdiagnosed as something else.
"Lot of people are going to the hospital with unrelated situations and come out finding out that they have a tumor in the pancreas."
He notes it's important to get information and awareness out there, especially since often our perception of the cancer is usually based on what we see in the media.
"You seem to only hear about it when a Steve Jobs is rumored to have it or a Patrick Swayze, but it's a disease that affects all of us."
He adds that it's important that everyone talk to their doctor about getting tested for Pancreatic Cancer.