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The faces of hope prove beating pancreatic cancer is possible

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It has long been considered a death sentence. Despite the number of cancer deaths decreasing nationwide, pancreatic cancer is poised to become the second leading cause ofcancer-related death by the year 2030. Even worse, the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research reports 93% ofpancreatic cancerpatients will die within five years of diagnosis, only 8% will survive more than five years.

Enough about the bad, the Methodist Digestive Institute (MDI) is focused on the good and beating those odds.

MDI's pancreatic program has been recognized as top in the nation by The Joint Commission because of the multidisciplinary approach and excellent patient outcomes. Doctors in multiple specialties, from oncology to radiology to gastroenterology and surgery, talk to each other about a patient's treatment plan so that everyone on the care team is on the same page.

It's an approach that saved Keith Ross' life. The 61 year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2016. He had a robot-assisted Whipple procedure and is currently undergoing chemotherapy while continuing to work full-time and building a house in Blooming Grove, Texas. He never thought he would lose the fight to cancer because he knew he was in the right hands with oncologist Vasu Moparty, MD; gastroenterologist Prashant Kedia, MD; and hepatobiliary surgeon Alejandro Mejia, MD, FACS.

Now, his face can be seen on a wall of photos in the lobby at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. It showcases the Faces of Hope, the people who are beating pancreatic cancer and talking about it. Methodist Dallas is home to the only pancreatic cancer support group in North Texas. It started as a meeting of strangers that developed into friendship and fellowship over a shared disease. It has lifted spirits and saved lives, and it's just one of the many commitments Methodist has to its patients and to winning the battle against pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Mejia has performed more than 50 robotic Whipple surgeries. To learn more about the procedure and the pancreas program, click here.