‘Together Facing Pancreatic Cancer’ Offers Unique Perspective on a Devastating Disease

The Together Facing Pancreatic Cancer on November 16 at Fox Chase honored Fox Chase patient Nick Pifani and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

PHILADELPHIA (January 10, 2024) — He tells people that he’s the 2.0 version of himself now, because his cancer experience so dramatically changed the way he thinks. That’s Nick Pifani, a six-year pancreatic cancer survivor whose story was the centerpiece of a special Together Facing Pancreatic Cancer on November 16 at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Designed to be both educational and inspirational, Together Facing events provide patients and caregivers with emotional support and information as they face cancer and its treatment. Each event in this Fox Chase series focuses on a specific type of cancer and features an expert panel of Fox Chase physicians and researchers who discuss treatment options.

This year’s Together Facing Pancreatic Cancer offered a unique look into the patient experience as Pifani shared his journey to survivorship, which began at Fox Chase. Throughout the different chapters of Pifani’s story, moderator Sanjay Reddy, MD, FACS, asked panelists—specialists from medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, clinical genetics, interventional gastroenterology, social services, and even nutrition—to apply their area of expertise. In doing so, they provided insights into the longitudinal experience of what a patient goes through as they recounted where medicine and “standard of care” were at the beginning of Pifani’s journey compared to the advancements of today.

A long-distance runner, business executive, and family man, Pifani was only in his early 40s at the time of his diagnosis in 2017. Because of his cancer experience, he became involved with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), where he serves as the Sponsorship Chair for the Philadelphia affiliate and Co-Chair of the Survivor Council.

PanCAN joined with Fox Chase and other participating groups, including the Pancreatic Cancer Cure Foundation (PCCF), to conclude the evening with a special PurpleLight Ceremony. PurpleLight brings together survivors, family, and friends who have felt the impact of pancreatic cancer, paying tribute to those we have lost to this devastating disease. The Fox Chase courtyard was illuminated in a purple glow to remember loved ones and to remind all of the reason we keep working to make advancements in the research and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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