Cancer Schmancer Foundation
June 29, 2010
I will preface this with a note that I am a pharmacist. In 2006, before I knew of Cancer Schmancer, my wife suddenly began experiencing changes in her health status beginning with elevated blood sugar. This was odd as she historically had very good blood sugar and exercised frequently. I asked her to ask her naturopathic physician to perform a blood insulin level test. Her insulin levels were low. Her primary care physician (PCP) chose to prescribe a drug called metformin for her (suggesting a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome...a reduced sensitivity to insulin). I told my wife that the prescribing of that drug was premature as the diagnosis was inconsistent with the test results. Metabolic syndrome would produce an elevated blood insulin level, not a reduced one. She chose to fill the prescription. I expressed concern that something might be going on with the pancreas. After a month, or so, she began developing central abdominal pain and it was suspected that the metformin as causing this problem. They stopped the metformin. The discomfort did not stop. the pain was coming from an area in the vacinity of the stomach/pancreas. She was referred to a gastro-enterologist (G.I. doctor) who tested her pancreatic enzyme levels. They were okay. The G.I. doctor then arranged to test for gastroparesis... thinking that might be contributing. She had to wait a couple of months for that test. It confirmed what we already knew...her digestive tract was slow (and always had been but with no pain prior to this). I guess the doctor decided that was the connection to the pain. It wasn't clearly stated. We went on vacation for a couple of weeks. When we returned, she asked me to feel her abdomen (central, just below the sternum). It was aching and where it was aching, it was very obviously pulsating. It concerned me as I knew that her grand-mother had died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm and this was in the vacinity of the aorta. I emphasized she needed to get into her PCP right away to arrange an ultrasound scan. Her physician kind of laughed and said if it was an aortic aneurysm, she would likely be dead already...but, to make her husband feel more comfortable, he would arrange an ultrasound. She went in to have the ultrasound of her aorta but while she was there she said her husband had expressed concern about her pancreas and could she check it also. The technician did...then abruptly left the room and a short time later brought a physician in also. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Between the original onset of signs and symptoms, the misinterpretation of these, the misdiagnoses, the delays in testing...about 5 to 6 months of lost treatment time passed....while the cancer became more severe. In the end, it was the actions of her and I that led to the proper diagnosis. My wife had the advantage of having a health care professional at home. Most people do not. Fran Drescher's experience of missed diagnostic opportunities was inexcusable. My wife's situation was less obvious but if the signs and symptoms were methodically evaluated and acted on, she should have an ultrasound of her pancreas area 4 to 5 months sooner. There are far too many such failures in our health care system. In my position as a pharmacist, I see things all the time that are very troubling. I applaud and admire Fran for taking her disturbing personal experience and turning it into a positive by developing and implementing the Cancer Schmancer Foundation in order to try to help others to improve their odds at receiving better diagnostic and treatment outcomes and greater opportunities for such. Thank you, Fran. You will no doubt save lives and reduce the heartache and pain associated with the unnecessary loss of loved ones. Sincerely, Kyle
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I have not personally experienced the results of this organization, but I know many will benefit from the ongoing implementation of its goals.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
observing the enthusiastic, energetic and indefatigable Fran in action promoting and supporting the organization.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
save more people from the inadequacies of our health care system. The more funds available, the more people that are helped.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every six months
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
General Member of the Public & Financial supporter of Cancer Schmancer.