Is Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise?

24 10 2009

                                MAE VIDEO – Marc Compares Swayze & Landon\’s Pancreatic Disease Deaths      Marc MAE Fitness & Pain Management Consultant               

 I  was motivated to know more about Pancreatic Cancer after the death of Patrick Swazye.  But I was most impacted in 1991 by Michael Landon’s death.  However at that point, I was in a different time and place with my life.  Instead of realizing the seriousness of this insidious death sentence, I thought “how unfair and what a loss to all that admired his work “and the person.”  I figured this was an isolated and unfortunate rare occurrence. Then the news of Patrick Swazye’s pancreatic cancer story came and went some 18 years later.  He too was someone I admired like many of you out there.  This left me to ponder… Is pancreatic cancer or cancer in general on the rise?  Is it a geographical thing?  After all, both of these actors lived in Southern California.  Is there any way to prevent, or remove this cancer from the body once it takes hold?  I had so many unanswered questions in my head at this point in time.  These two people I greatly admired for their work.  This drew upon my curiosity as a health conscious individual to know more about their lifestyles and could they have done anything differently to change their outcome?  I decided to write this piece as a two part article.  First, let’s look at these two individual’s to see if we can determine some commonalities.  In the second piece (part2), we’ll review the statistical cancer information to draw on some presumptive conclusions in answering these questions.

 Like most of you I was an avid follower of Michael Landon.  My favorite shows as a kid were Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven series.  Michael Landon was diagnosed with Aden Carcinoma at the age of 54 on 5 April 1991 and immediately underwent chemo therapy.  His cancer had spread to his liver at first causing stomach cramps receiving his diagnosis 7 weeks later.  The cancer became inoperable due to the cancer spreading to the liver and lymph node system.  Only 1% of patients with this combination survive the full five year period.  He died in Malibu, CA on 1 July 1991.  Potential cause of cancer for this patient, heavy alcohol consumption and a four pack per day smoking habit.   I also followed many Hollywood movies that Patrick Swazye appeared in.  Three of his movies I can think of immediately, “Dirty Dancing, Next of Kin and Roadhouse.”   Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March 2008 and underwent chemo therapy with new experimental drugs (vatalanib/gemcitabine) to shrink the tumor by preventing the development of new blood vessels that would otherwise nourish it.   After more than a year of cancer, Swazye completed 13 episodes of the beast without pain medication.  Swayze Died, 14 Sept 2009 at the age of 57.  Since the cancer spread to his liver surgery would help him.  His life expectancy after diagnosis was 5 months.  He lived 20 months after diagnosis.  He’s a strong guy, and he’s got a great attitude,” says Ron Wise, a Cedars-Sinai spokesman, “in my experience, that has a lot to do with how things go.”  Patrick Swayze’s biggest regret was his smoking which he continued to do until his death.  Doctor’s agreed, even if he quit at the time of diagnosis would have no bearing on his outcome after diagnosis.  See part two of this article continuation, “Pancreatic Cancer Statistics and Recommendations.”

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 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2009 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @:,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

COPD Is Serious and Will Kill You!

23 02 2009

CODP (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a disease by which breathing becomes very difficult without assistance from an oxygen tank once the disease has progressed and will eventually kill you!  It is well know that smoking is a major culprit behind COPD.  The smoke causes and creates permanent damage to the lungs air-sacs.  There are other inhaled elements that can put you at risk.  1) Chemical Fumes.  2)  Dust 3) Air Pollution 4) Second hand smoke.  After years of one or more element exposures, it can take years for this disease to present itself.   COPD is most commonly found in people 60 and over, those that have had lung infections as a child, those that got emphysema in their 30-40’s, or families where this disease manifested itself.  Symptoms – Chronic cough and/or mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, especially during exercise, weight loss and weakness.  As the disease progresses exacerbation flare ups can be mild to life threatening by suffocation, or drowning in your own mucus fluids.

Smoking is a leading cause of preventable CODP.  What chemicals in cigarettes are responsible for causing CODP?  This is a good question, The National Cancer Institute states there are over 4,000 chemicals released from tobacco smoke.  The tar residues by-product that enters your body includes such poisons as arsenic and cyanide!  The American Lung Association shows each year 400,000 Americans die from lung disease.  There are 35 million more Americans in any given year that are now living with chronic lung disease!  Even with these unbelievable statistics American smoking consumption is as strong as ever, “Nicotine has the addictive power of heroin and cocaine.” (Dr. C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General).

It is also known that second hand smoke gravely impacts others around them.  Many smokers do not believe their habits impact anyone else but themselves.  The American Heart Association secondhand mortality statistics:  Secondhand smoke is directly responsible for 37,000-40,000 cardiovascular and 3,400 fatal lung cancer victims per year. And according to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for over 150,000 lung infections and 750,000 middle ear infections within our children each year.  There are basically two diseases associated with COPD.  1)  Chronic Bronchitis – When airways that carry oxygen from the lungs to the body get inflamed producing mucus, this makes it hard to breath.  2)  Emphysema – This is where the lungs air sacs become inefficient at intake and pushing air.  Once these air sacs become damaged the body begins to starve and die due to lack of oxygen-enriched blood.  At this point the patient always feels short of breath with a constant feeling of suffocation.  Over time COPD gets worse.  The damage to your lungs at this point is permanent.  However, you can take steps to stop further damage to your lungs and body.


-See a physician if you smoke, or a cough that will not go away, or mucus when coughing.
-Medication will boost your chance 50% to quit smoking for good (American Cancer Society).
-Ask a physician for other tests if you suspect exposure to other things in your past.
-Request a doctor to listen to your lungs and a spirometry breathing test.
-Request chest X-rays to rule out other potential problems, or pathologies.
Next Issue:  “Prevention & Treatment of Uterine Cancer” Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2009 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @:, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.