PURPLE WITH A PURPOSE

Patrick Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, joins us to explain going purple for a purpose on World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day.

Aired on November 16, 2017.

TRANSCRIPT

> PATRICK SWAYZE, STEVE JOBZ, ACTOR ALAN RICKMAN, A FEW OF THE WELL-KNOWN PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES WERE CUT SHORT BY PANCREATIC CANCER.

FIVE YEAR SURVIVAL RATE OF 9% IN THE UNITED STATES.

PAN CAN IS LOOKING TO CHANGE ALL OF THAT.

TOTAL RESEARCH AND INVESTMENT OVER $48.5 MILLION BUT FOCUSED ON ADVOCATING THAT BEST WAY TO FIGHT THE ILLNESS IS THROUGH EARLY DETECTION.

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

> JOINING ME NOW IS CEO OF PAN CAN, JULIE FLESCHMAN AND WITH US VIA SKYPE, PATRICK SWAYZE'S WIDOW.

KNOWN FOR POWERHOUSE ROLES IN ICONIC FILMS 'DIRTY DANCING' AND 'GHOST,' JUST TO NAME A FEW.

JULIE, WHAT IS HAPPENING?

TODAY IT WORLD PANCREATIC CANCER DAY.

GROUP OF OVER 60 ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD REPRESENTING 27 COUNTRIES HELPING TO RAISE AWARENESS AND VISIBILITY OF PANCREATIC CANCER ACROSS THE GLOBE.

WHY IS IT THIS IS A PROBLEMATIC DIAGNOSIS?

IT'S DIFFICULT SCIENTIFICALLY.

THE TUMOR ITSELF IS SURROUNDED BY DENSE MICROENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES DRUG DELIVERY CHALLENGING AND COMMON TREATMENTS AND DRUGS USED FOR OTHER DISEASES IT'S BEEN RESISTANT TO.

ALSO USUALLY DIAGNOSED LATE STAGE, MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO TREAT.

LISA, YOU'VE LIVED THROUGH THIS WITH PATRICK AND BEEN ACTIVE SINCE THIS TIME.

WHEN YOU WERE FIRST TOLD OF HIS DIAGNOSIS UP TO NOW, SOMEONE COMES TO YOU AND SAYS LOVED ONE OR I HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH THE DISEASE, WHAT CAN YOU SAY TO THEM NOW?

IT'S REALLY INTERESTING PAUSE MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE COMING UP TO ME.

IN THE BEGINNING ONLY A FEW.

MY ADVICE ALWAYS, IF YOU'RE GOING TO FIGHT IT, BRING OUT ALL THE BIG GUNS.

THIS IS A TOUGH, TOUGH, DIFFICULT DISEASE TO TREAT AND YOU WANT TO USE EVERY TOOL IN THE ARSENAL YOU CAN.

I ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK OUT IN PARTICULAR CLINICAL TRIALS BECAUSE LIKE JULIE JUST MENTIONED, MOST OF THE TREATMENTS BELONG TO OTHER CANCERS.

THEY'RE SOMEWHAT EFFECTIVE IN SOME PATIENTS BUT NOT IN EVERYONE.

IT'S A VERY INDIVIDUALIZED WAY THAT HAS TO BE APPROACHED FOR EACH PATIENT WITH PANCREATIC CANCER.

TALK ABOUT STRESSING THE NOTION OF AWARENESS AND EARLY DETECTION, LOT OF PEOPLE I SUSPECT FEAR THIS DISEASE BECAUSE THEY FEAR THAT SYMPTOMS DON'T SHOW UP UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE.

BUT THERE ARE AVENUES FOR EARLY DETECTION.

ABSOLUTELY.

THERE IS NO EARLY DETECTION TEST FOR PANCREATIC CANCER AND WE NEED MORE RESEARCH, BUT PEOPLE SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE SO THEY GET TO THE DOCTOR AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

COMMON THINGS, STOMACH PAIN, BACK PAIN, UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS.

JAUNDICE, THAT'S MOST NOTICEABLE, YELLOWING OF THE SKIN AND EYES.

NEW ONSET DIABETES.

WE RECOMMEND SOMEONE HAVING THESE SYMPTOMS, EVEN ONE OF THEM, GO TO DOCTOR AND TALK ABOUT PANCREATIC CANCER.

HAVING LIVED THROUGH THIS AND BEEN PART OF THE FIGHT AGAINST THIS DISEASE, ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC IN TERMS OF WHERE THE FIGHT IS GOING?

I AM.

FIRST OF ALL, PANCREATIC CANCER ACTION NETWORK SET SUCH A HIGH BAR, CAN YOU REALLY MAKE IT?

WE CAN.

WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH SOME AMAZING THINGS AND GOT A BILL PASSED IN WASHINGTON.

AND I THINK THINGS ARE IMPROVING.

I STILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH PATRICK'S DOCTOR IN STANFORD, HE SAID -- AND I NEVER THOUGHT WOULD SEE MEANINGFUL TREATMENT IN OUR LIFE TIME.

HE SAID I'M CHANGING MY MIND ABOUT THAT NOW.

JULIE, ARE YOU SEEING CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM?

YES.

THERE'S TREMENDOUS MOMENTUM IN THE FIELD, RESEARCHERS FOCUSED AND MONEY RAISED.

60 ORGANIZATIONS STRONG AROUND THE GLOBE.

BUT WE NEED PEOPLE TO TAKE ACTION, GET INVOLVED.

GO TO PAN CAN WEBSITE, FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND ON COALITION WEBSITE FIND ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE AND HERE IN THE UNITED STATES TO GET INVOLVED.

GOOD NEWS.

THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME JULIE, WE APPRECIATE IT.

WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK IN AND TALK MORE.

THANK YOU TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU.

Announcer: FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

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