Discussion: Harry Reid Underwent Surgery Monday To Remove Tumor From Pancreas, Family Says

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My wife has lost several loved ones to pancreatic cancer.

(It tends to run in families, which horrifies us both, especially in regard to our little boy.)

The prognosis is almost universally bleak.

If Sen. Reid’s doctors caught it early, then he is very, very lucky.

Best wishes for a full recovery.


Is Shah going to be asked if someone in the White House will be making fun of THIS too?


I believe that pancreatic cancer is still a VERY VERY tough disease to beat. Indeed, I’m not sure it is ever really beaten. But someone out here must know more than I .


Yeah I was just thinking that for such a mystery organ, it seems to be very vital for life and cancer of it pretty much means you probably don’t have long to live.

I’ve been through this in the last few years with my mom. She is currently in remission.

Your odds are about 1 in 5. Early diagnosis helps. One of the challenges of pancreatic cancer is that your pancreas is very near a lot of other organs/structures that you sort of need to live (like, say, your mesenteric vein). If they can catch it before it engages with those other parts, your odds improve somewhat.

The surgery specifically for pancreatic cancer is called the Whipple procedure; I’ll let people decide if they want to look it up in detail for themselves but the mildest thing I can say is that it’s grueling. My mom had to have a cardiac stress test before the surgeon would schedule her surgery.

The chemotherapy is also grueling – my mom had to have a total of 12 cycles, and she has some permanent side effects from it (peripheral neuropathy for one).

The fact that Sen. Reid has had the surgery (and survived it) is a good sign. Not out of the woods by a long way, but maybe he has a compass and a whistle.


The doctor who saved my father’s life (quick thinking on an aortic aneurism) died young and quickly a few years later from pancreatic cancer. Brought a grief to our entire family. Prognosis is slowly improving, but the American Cancer Society states, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is 7%.

The only bright side here is they state they caught it early and removed “a tumor from the pancreas” implying a benign activity vs. malignancy. Keep fighting Harry! Give 'em Hell, Harry


So when will the GOP mock Reid for dying?

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For those inclined to help, the Lustgarten Foundation’s mission is “to advance the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.”

Charity Navigator rates them highly.


Science is moving so quickly these days that there is hope for your little boy even if he carries the genetic susceptibility.


We wish him and his family well.


In other statistics I’ve learned since my mom’s diagnosis: 85% of tumors on the pancreas are cancerous.

I’m a riot at parties.

What does hearten me in that statement, aside from the “they caught it early” part, is the “his surgeons are confident that the surgery was a success and the prognosis for his recovery is good” part. In my experience neither oncologists nor the surgeons who are capable of performing Whipples are likely to blow smoke about how good things are if the prognosis is not good.

(The words my mom’s surgeon used after looking at her PET scan were “optimistic for a good outcome”)

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I have 4 names in my head of friends and acquaintances that passed from pancreatic cancer.
Young and old alike. The one that sticks out is a 34 yo female who had a pain in her side driving the jersey turnpike and drove herself to the closest emergency room.
Surgery the next morning and 5 days later she was gone.
The first sign was way to late.
RIP Donna, I keep you in my immediate memory file.


I’m sure you are. Invite me next time. :wink:

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