Those who are battling cancer – now

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

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We’ve always heard stories of people who battled cancer and won or those who battled cancer and lost. There are people out there, however, who are still in the midst of the battle. I would like to take this opportunity to feature three people who are battling cancer, each one in a different way.

Patrick Swayze, actor

The actor best known for his dancing moves in Dirty Dancing and surfing tricks in Break Point was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in January 2008. While many celebrities chose to keep their cancer a secret, Patrick patrick_swayze_2006Swayze decided to battle the disease privately. He was quoted as saying

I will go so far as to say probably smoking had something to do with my pancreatic cancer.”

There are conflicting reports about how Swayze is responding to the treatments. He is suffering from a type of pancreatic tumor called Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm (IPMN). He underwent Cyberknife radiotherapy cancer treatment last year. There were positive reports about his response to the treatment but there are also reports about his cancer having metastasized to his liver. Early this year, he was hospitalized for pneumonia, possibly a complication of chemotherapy. His TV series The Beast was cancelled early this year.

Current rumors suggest that Swayze has stopped his cancer treatment due to serious side effects. However, he reportedly is still chain smoking. Has Swayze given up on his battle against cancer?

Edward “Ted” Kennedy, US Senator

Last May 17, 2008, just after I started writing for Battling Heart and Stroke, there were ted_kennedy2c_official_photo_portraitreports that Senator Ted Kennedy was hospitalized due to a seizure. Stroke was initially suspected but he was later diagnosed with brain tumor, a malignant glioma.

Initial assessment indicated the tumor to be inoperable but alternative opinions were sought. Kennedy underwent brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center in June 2008 to remove whatever could be possibly removed of the tumor. This was followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Kennedy’s prognosis is hard to predict. It could be months or it could be years. The senator managed to attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama but suffered a seizure during the inaugural luncheon. Despite his health problems, Senator Kennedy continued his legislative duties even from remote. Since his illness, he had been very active in the health care reform issues, referring to it as “the cause of my life.”

He played an instrumental role in the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act last month, a sweeping law that empowers the US FDA to regulate and control manufacturing, marketing, and sales of tobacco products.

According to the Boston Globe:

And except for carving out more time with his family, Kennedy decided to spend all his remaining workdays trying to give all Americans access to quality healthcare. It’s a goal he’s pursued for nearly five decades, always running up against critics who insisted that his plans were too costly, too complicated, too focused on government solutions. His approach has changed somewhat – he now vows to work with private insurers – but the country has changed more, in its willingness to accept a greater government role in the private sector.

No doubt about it. Senator Kennedy is a fighter and is determined to leave his mark in history.

Steve Jobs, technology icon and business man

He is one of the co-founders to the technology company Apple and has been instrumental in turning around the failing company with nifty gadgets such as iPod and iPhone. In 2stevejobsmacbookair004, Jobs announced that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a rare and less aggressive form known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. He underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy in July 2004 which successfully removed the tumor.

However, in January of this year, Jobs took a leave of absence for health reasons but no details were given except that

During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.”

He didn’t appear at the trade show Macworld 2009 despite the fact that this will be the last time that Apple is participating. It was later reported that he underwent a liver transplant at the Methodist University Hospital in Tennessee due to an undisclosed medical condition. The doctors declared Jobs’ prognosis “good” and Apple has announced that its chief will be back to work soon. There are speculations about his cancer coming back but this hasn’t been confirmed. Unlike in the showbiz or politics, health issues can greatly affect business outcomes, hence the reason for limited disclosure.

Photo credits:

Steve Jobs, Patrick Swaye: Creative Commons/Wikimedia

Ted Kennedy: US Senate

Pink ribbon: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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