Anthony P. Reres

Pancreatic Cancer Patient Stories

Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Pancreas
Anthony P. Reres

In 2010, Tony and Helen enjoyed a trip to Florida together.

Tony Reres can't help getting a little choked up when he talks about welcoming his first great grandson into the world, Lucas Anthony Reres, born March 4, 2010. "Because of Dr. Watson, I was around to meet my great grandson," said Reres, now a healthy 76. "I never expected to live this long."

Tony's journey with cancer started in November 2006. Traveling from Florida with his wife Helen, still the love of his life after 54 years of marriage, he passed out suddenly on the plane. He hadn't been having any symptoms. Preliminary tests at a Florida hospital were inconclusive. After a spinal MRI back home in East Windsor, New Jersey showed abnormalities in Tony's pancreas, his family doctor recommended that he see an oncologist. "We heard the words pancreas and cancer, and that frightened us," recalled Tony.

His family urged him to seek medical care at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

After some online research and much discussion with children Andrew, Diane, Anthony and Denise, it was agreed that Tony seek the best possible cancer care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. There, Tony met with a medical oncologist Steven J. Cohen MD, and a surgical oncologist, James C. Watson, MD, FACS, both of whom specialize in treating patients with complex gastrointestinal cancers. After several more tests, Tony's team of cancer specialists confirmed he had a neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas.

"Dr. Watson was a comfort to us. He answered all of our questions openly."

Dr. Watson recommended that Tony have the Whipple Procedure, also called a pancreaticoduodenectomy. He believed that this procedure, which involves removal of the head of the pancreas, some of the small intestine and the gall bladder, would save Tony's life. "I knew it was a dangerous situation, but Dr. Watson was a comfort to us. He answered all of our questions openly."

Tony had the surgery in January 2007 and spent about a month at Fox Chase. His family stayed close, with each of his children taking a week off of work to stay with their mother and visit their dad in the hospital.

"Dr. Watson was amazing. The whole staff, the hospital, the nurses. I can't say enough about them."

"Dr. Watson was amazing. The whole staff, the hospital, the nurses. I can't say enough about them," recalled Tony. I remember one nurse, Michelle Dooley, she was especially outstanding. Dr. Watson is the best - he's so knowledgeable in this area. It's really because of him that I'm here."

It was a complicated surgery and the recovery took time. But Dr. Watson and his team felt confident that the surgery had been a success. In 2010, Tony marked 4 years of being cancer-free and is almost back to his regular active lifestyle, which includes a love of hunting and the outdoors. He hopes to do some horseback riding, even parasailing, the next time he and Helen take a trip. But his greatest times are spent with friends, his children and their spouses, the 10 grandchildren, and of course, his first great-grandson, Lucas. These are the moments he cherishes every day.

"Anybody I know that gets cancer, I'd send them to Fox Chase. No question about it."

"People with pancreatic cancer can find hope at Fox Chase," said Tony. "Anybody I know that gets cancer, I'd send them to Fox Chase. No question about it."