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 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 Fox Chase, I was around to meet my great grandson," said Reres, who was 76 at the time. "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 near his home in East Windsor, New Jersey showed abnormalities in Tony's pancreas, his family doctor recommended that he see an oncologist.

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

"We heard the words pancreas and cancer, and that frightened us," recalls Tony. His family urged him to seek medical attention 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. There, Tony met with a medical oncologist Steven J. Cohen MD, and a surgeon, 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.

The team recommended a Whipple procedure, also called a pancreaticoduodenectomy. The procedure, which involves removal of the head of the pancreas, some of the small intestine and the gall bladder, would likely save Tony's life. "I knew it was a dangerous situation, but the surgeon was a comfort to us. He answered all of our questions openly," admits Tony, who had the successful surgery in January 2007 and spent one month recuperating 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.

"Everyone at Fox Chase was amazing, especially the nurses. I can't say enough about them."

"Everyone at Fox Chase was amazing, especially the nurses. I can't say enough about them," shares Tony. “I remember one nurse, Michelle Dooley, who was especially outstanding. The surgeon was incredible because he's so knowledgeable in this area. It's really because of him that I'm here."

In 2011, Tony was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated with radiation therapy at a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner hospital near his home in New Jersey. “I continue to keep a positive attitude and appreciate the efforts of the staff,” explains Tony.

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

In 2015, Tony turned 81 and marked 9 years of being cancer-free. He’s back to enjoying his regular active lifestyle, which includes a love of hunting, horses and the outdoors. 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,” says Tony. “People with pancreatic cancer can find hope at Fox Chase. Anybody I know that gets cancer, I'd send them to Fox Chase. No question about it."