Bill Demesquita

Pancreatic Cancer Patient Stories

Pancreatic Cancer - A Very Rare Variety
Bill Demesquita

Bill enjoyed a visit to the boardwalk with his granddaughter, Jessica.

After many years working in the mortgage business, Bill Demesquita attributed his recurring stomach pain to either an ulcer or reflux disease. When his antacid tablets were not enough to handle the discomfort, Bill's wife, Cheryl, decided, "Enough is enough. Bill was going to see a gastroenterologist."

Bill decided to get another opinion.

During an endoscopy, Bill's doctor discovered an 8 centimeter mass in his pancreas. Although physicians at Bill's local hospital in New Jersey offered treatment options, Bill and Cheryl decided to get another opinion.

Bill and Cheryl headed to Fox Chase, where they met James Watson, MD, a surgical oncologist specializing in GI cancers. "As luck would have it, I had not eaten that day, so Dr. Watson could perform a biopsy right away."

"Cancer was never on my radar screen."

"Finding out I had cancer just blew me away. I never saw it coming," said Bill, who was 52 at the time. "Cancer was never on my radar screen."

In September 2004, Bill was diagnosed with a very rare osteoclast-like giant cell carcinoma of the pancreas, so-named because of the microscopic appearance similar to a bone tumor. Dr. Watson explained, "Because Bill's tumor was so rare, there was no treatment protocol. What was known from the brief medical literature (less than 50 reported cases in the world), was that they tended to follow an aggressive clinical course."

"I was very fortunate to be in the hands of Fox Chase doctors, who know how to treat uncommon cancers like mine."

"Dr. Watson knew that surgery was my only option at the time and within 10 days of initially seeing him, I underwent my procedure," Bill recalled. "The doctors told me they had not seen anything like it. The tumor on my pancreas was extremely rare. I was very fortunate to be in the hands of Fox Chase doctors, who know how to treat uncommon cancers like mine."

Dr. Watson successfully removed the cancerous mass, and in doing so, most of the pancreas as well as the spleen. "Dr. Watson is not only a terrific surgeon, but a great guy. When he told me the cancer had been removed and my borders were clean, I was very relieved," said Bill.

Bill stayed in the hospital for 7 days while recovering from surgery. He recalled, "The nurses were fabulous. They were always friendly and helpful. My challenge at the time was eating. Now I eat like a champ!"

Bill Demesquita

Bill and Jessica enjoyed an autumn day together.

"It was well worth the trip to Fox Chase."

"It was well worth the trip to Fox Chase because their doctors have more experience treating rare and uncommon tumors than other hospitals. We don't know if any hospital in New Jersey could have come close to what Fox Chase provided," said Cheryl.

One month after surgery, Bill began 28 days of radiation treatments. "Although some people choose to have their radiation close to home, I wanted the 'real deal' at Fox Chase," said Bill, "Everyone in the radiation therapy department was spectacular."

Bill returned to work as soon as he completed treatment. He missed less than a month of work. "When I think back, it was truly amazing that I was treated for a rare cancer and returned to work so quickly. I owe it all to Fox Chase."

Bill and Cheryl recently moved to the New Jersey shore. "We spend a lot of time traveling and gardening. Physically, I'm feeling well and enjoy kayaking and bicycling," shared Bill. "Cancer didn't stop me from being active, especially when it comes to playing with our grandchildren, something I would have missed if the cancer got me."

"No one will try harder to fight cancer than Fox Chase."

"No one will try harder to fight cancer than Fox Chase," explained Bill. "From the moment you walk through the door, to the time you are wheeled to your car, they treat you so well. I can't say enough good things about Fox Chase."