Healing from Surgery
- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Brandi Glanville, 48, has been beside herself over her best friend Mia Hasche’s recent pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
- The Unfiltered podcast host’s former roommate, who has also appeared on the Bravo show, has finally been released from a three week stay at a Florida hospital stay after having parts of multiple organs removed during an emergency surgery following his diagnosis.
- A leading expert tells SurvivorNet about the challenges of diagnosing pancreatic cancer in the early stages, saying it is often too late for surgery by the time the cancer is diagnosed.
“I spoke to Mia last night and she was in incredible amounts of pain with tubes everywhere,” Glanville tweeted. “I’m praying to God this is not about her lack of insurance & more about covid.”Read More
Glanville shared more details on her fundraising page. “Mark/Mia is out of the hospital and resting at his parents home. Sometimes we all just need our moms.” She wrote that Mark/Mia had the “Whipple” surgery that removed two-thirds of his stomach, small intestine, gall bladder and a portion of the liver and “one more thing” that she couldn’t remember.
View this post on Instagram
The Whipple procedure is an operation to remove the head of the pancreas (which is to the right in the abdomen), the first part of the small intestine, the gallbladder, which is a small pouch under the liver, and the bile duct, which is a thin tube that goes from the liver to the small intestine. The remaining organs are reattached to allow you to digest food normally after surgery.
Glanville also expressed gratitude toward friends and followers who have donated close to half of the $50,000 goal for her pal, who unfortunately was caught off guard with no health insurance, a common story in America right now, especially after a year-long pandemic.
“Please keep sharing every dollar counts. I’m not letting her leave us until she can live as a woman her true self,” Glanville wrote. Hasche’s twitter says “Mark is Mia Hasche,” and that he/she is a “transitioning person.”
My love @ProudMia is out of the ICU!!💗💗We still have a long way to go again thank you 4 all the go fund me donation&those of U who have shared on your social media!Please keep sharing every dollar counts I’m not letting her leave us until she can live as a woman her true self pic.twitter.com/wqth96qnr0
— Brandi Glanville (@BrandiGlanville) March 24, 2021
Glanville was the adored troublemaker on the RHOBH show, and graced the small screen for 10 years following her divorce from actor Eddie Cibrian, who famously moved on with singer LeAnn Rimes during his marriage to Glanville. Glanville and Cibrian share custody of their two children, Mason, 17, and Jake, 13, and luckily things have smoothed out with Glanville and Rimes who have worked to get along for the sake of the boys.
Challenges to Screening for Pancreatic Cancer
It’s often difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer early. By the time patients come in with symptoms, the disease is often too advanced to treat. The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen. Since it is in the abdomen, it’s hard to tell issues specifically within the pancreas. The fact that Hasche is able to have surgery could be a good sign, since only about 20% of individuals with pancreatic cancer will actually qualify for surgery.
“By the time individuals walk into the clinic with symptoms like jaundice, weight loss, back pain, or diabetes, it’s often very late in the stage of the disease,” Dr. Anirban Maitra from MD Anderson Cancer Center tells SurvivorNet.
Each year in the United States, about 53,000 patients get pancreatic cancer, “And unfortunately, most will die from this disease within a few months to a year or so from the diagnosis,” he says. “And the reason for that is that most individuals, about 80%, will actually present with what we called advanced disease, which means that the cancer has either spread beyond the pancreas or into other organs like the liver, and so you cannot take it out with surgeries.”
Experimental Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is a former surgeon turned scientist trying to develop new therapies for cancer.
“Our goal is to create what I call ‘the cancer vaccine’ by using your own tumor tissue that’s sitting there,” he says.
Talk of a potential cancer vaccine has been swirling around the media as of late. Female scientist Ozlem Tureci, who is behind the first-approved COVID shot by Pfizer, is working on developing a vaccine for cancer by using the same technology used to develop a fast-tracked COVID vaccine.
“The problem is cancer has figured out a way to hide,” Dr. Soon-Shiong explained in a previous interview. “And so it hides so your immune system can’t find it.” Then you receive high dose chemotherapy. “Not only the immune system can’t find it, you’ve killed your immune system. So it is not, therefore, surprising when you do that, you then induce metastasis because all you’ve done is super selected the resistance cells to the chemotherapy.”
Dr. Soon-Shiong said that the trick is to find a way to expose the cancer to these three cells: the natural killer cell, the T cells and the macrophage.
“So the first step is just to expose. So it’s ‘find me.’ And then you need to activate these cells. And once you activate the cells, it’s ‘kill me.’ And once you’ve killed them with your immune system, you’ve trained your cells to remember. So it’s going from ‘hide me,’ to ‘find me,’ ‘kill me,’ and ‘remember me.’ That’s what we do.”
He admits that it is “scientifically complex, but the protocols are pretty straightforward.”
Dr. Soon-Shiong says that this could be the treatment of the future. “And what’s exciting, not only have we done this with pancreatic cancer, we’ve done this with lung cancer. We’ve done this with triple negative breast cancer. We’ve done this with head and neck cancer, cervical cancer.”