Editor’s notice: In honor of Black Historical past MonthAnd We’re sharing inspiring tales from our neighborhood to honor those that are making progress towards pancreatic most cancers. Right here, we share the story of Teona Dockery, a pancreatic most cancers survivor and PanCAN volunteer from Atlanta, Georgia.
Since she was recognized with pancreatic most cancers in 2016, Teona Dockery has been on a mission. You need to increase consciousness of the indicators and signs of the illness. And she or he desires everybody — particularly these within the black neighborhood — to really feel empowered to ask questions and get up for themselves.
“Defend, defend, defend,” she stated. Members of the black neighborhood usually put the wants of others first. We have to prioritize our well being and wishes in order that we are able to dwell longer, higher, and more healthy lives. “
Teona factors to her story for instance of how necessary affected person self-defense is.
The docs thought that the extreme abdomen ache she had been experiencing for a while was attributable to an ulcer. At simply 41 years previous, pancreatic most cancers was not a consideration. When she was lastly recognized with stage 3 pancreatic most cancers — on April Idiot’s Day 2016 — it got here as a shock. Quickly, I used to be drawn into a brand new actuality of physician appointments, conferences with surgeons, and blood work and exams.
Six months of chemo glided by, adopted by surgical procedure, after which one other 5 months of chemo. Wanting again, she’s grateful that her most cancers was caught early, regardless of the tough street to prognosis.
Now, she’s centered on serving to others affected by pancreatic most cancers — with the hope that early detection will save extra lives. Along with serving on PanCAN’s Survivor Council (she not too long ago accomplished her time period of service), she has appeared in Public Service Bulletins For PanCAN to unfold the phrase concerning the significance of genetic testing and biomarker testing to assist decide therapy choices and familial dangers.
RSVP for our free digital occasion, “A Dialog on Pancreatic Most cancers within the Black Neighborhood,” on February 23. The occasion was hosted by Teona Dockery, and options an empowering dialogue with healthcare professionals, a member of our Board of Administrators and a PanCAN Affected person Providers agent.
And also you need sufferers to know the way a lot of a lifeline PanCAN can present to sufferers and their family members. When she was recognized, she known as PanCAN Affected person Providers instantly. She spoke to a case supervisor who talked via therapy choices together with medical trials and supplied an inventory of pancreatic most cancers specialists in her space.
She additionally participated in PanCAN’s “Know Your Tumor®” precision medication service, which gives eligible pancreatic most cancers sufferers and oncologists with details about affected person biology via biomarker testing of tumor tissue and genetic testing for inherited mutations.
“Since getting examined, I’ve talked to my household and my kids — now very younger — about how necessary it’s that they take into account genetic testing to see if there is a household hyperlink,” she stated. “I firmly consider that information is energy.”
Whereas Teona seems to be ahead to the PanCAN initiatives she has been concerned in, she is optimistic concerning the future. She factors specifically to the January 2023 announcement that the five-year survival fee for pancreatic most cancers had risen to 12%, up one proportion level from final yr and the primary time since 2017 that the survival fee had elevated two years in a row. .
This milestone carries weight, as when she was recognized, her five-year survival was within the single digits. It is an upward path that brings hope – and leaves it energized for what’s to come back.
“We have made progress step-by-step,” she stated. “It is so rewarding to know that I — together with so many others — performed a component in getting there. And we’re nonetheless going.”