Baha Malik

Pancreatic Cancer Patient Stories

Pancreatic Cancer
Baha Malik

Baha is a video production student at Montgomery County Community College, which has been designated as an Achieving the Dream Leader College for its commitment to student access and success.

In 2007 when Baha Malik started experiencing back pain, he ignored it. “You know – that macho thing we do,” said the retired data specialist, who turned 75 in 2013. “Finally it got so excruciating that my wife demanded I go to a hospital. When I did that, a biopsy revealed that I had cancer of the pancreas.  That’s when my primary physician made arrangements for me to go to Fox Chase Cancer Center – which was a real blessing.”

Knowing that Dr. Hoffman had performed hundreds, if not thousands, of Whipple procedures, gave me confidence.

“Ignorance was bliss,” he said. “I didn’t even know where the pancreas was  - I though it was somewhere near my ear.” He met with John P. Hoffman MD, FACS, a specialist in pancreatic, and other gastrointenstinal cancer. Dr. Hoffman outlined a targeted treatment approach. “He explained that I’d be treated for two weeks in the hospital, first with chemotherapy and then radiation to shrink the tumors, before surgery would be considered. Knowing that Dr. Hoffman had performed hundreds, if not thousands, of Whipple procedures, gave me confidence.  I was so impressed with Dr. Hoffman’s bedside manner. He visited me every day, including weekends. We developed a friendship.”

Part of Baha’s treatment included taking Tarceva for 11 months, a cell growth inhibiting drug. “I lost no hair – in fact while I took that drug I had that Denzel Washington look – the women at work wanted to run their hands through my hair. It went back to nappy after that, but it was fun while it lasted.”

In March 2008 Baha had the Whipple procedure, a complicated surgery that involved removal of the head of the pancreas, as well as the gall bladder. “It went exceptionally well," recalled Baha, who was happy to report he experienced very little pain during recovery. 

These days, Baha’s life is back to normal. He plays basketball with friends and attends Montgomery County Community College, where he’s studying filmmaking.  “I’m a firm believer in Fox Chase, a powerful light house on the shores of cancer for more than 100 years. All thanks go to Fox Chase, Dr. Hoffman and his team – they saved my life.”