Steven Lewis has written a new book about surviving pancreatic cancer. Joyce speaks with him about his experience, and the advice he would give to other cancer patients.
In what his physicians have called a “miraculous recovery,” Steven Lewis, Ph.D., a visiting professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, has beaten all odds surviving two bouts of pancreatic cancer. Lewis was first diagnosed with the disease in 2007, and again almost three years later when the cancer metastasized to his liver. He has persevered major surgeries, radiation treatments and chemotherapy.
With the highest mortality rate of all major cancers, pancreatic cancer patients have less than a five percent survival rate within five years of diagnosis, and 74 percent of patients die within the first year of diagnosis. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. with an estimated 46,420 Americans diagnosed each year. Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially over nearly 40 years. In recent years, pancreatic cancer has received considerable attention because many well-known individuals such as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, actor Patrick Swayze and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti have died from the disease.
Following the surgery to remove the cancer in his liver, Lewis has been cancer free and in excellent health for more than four years. Along with his outstanding team of physicians, Lewis credits his ability to maintain an extremely positive attitude with saving his life. As an exercise physiologist, researcher and teacher, he leads a vigorous life, exercising regularly to maintain a high level of physical fitness and health.