Published October 29, 2008
After months of battling pancreatic cancer, actor Patrick Swayze is speaking out about the difficulties that have come with his struggle.
"How do you nurture a positive attitude when all the statistics say you’re a dead man?" Swayze told the New York Times. "You go to work."
The 56-year-old actor and star of upcoming A&E series "The Beast" says that his work has been what has helped him through his struggle with his diagnosis.
While he has been healthy enough to continue working, Swayze told the Times that cancer has been a "battle zone." "Chemo, no matter how you cut it, is hell on wheels."
When the news of Swayze's illness surfaced in March, several reports claimed that he had only weeks to live.
But his physician George Fisher, an associate professor of teaching at Stanford University Cancer Center offered a more optimistic take on the actor's condition.
"Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far. All of the reports stating the timeframe of his prognosis and his physical side effects are absolutely untrue," Fisher said in a statement.
Caught in its advanced stages, pancreatic cancer, which strikes about 30,000 people a year, has a less than 5 percent survival rate for five years. If caught early and treated aggressively with surgery and chemotherapy — and if the cancer has not spread to lymph nodes — the five-year survival rate can go as high as 17 to 25 percent, said Avram Cooperman, surgical director for the Pancreas and Biliary Center at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.
"I've made a pretty decent mark so far – nothing to scoff at," he said. "But it does make you think: Wait a minute. There’s more I want to do. Lots more. Get on with it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.