During National PanCan Awareness Month, we celebrate survivor Ken Brown

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Arlington Heights, Ill., Nov. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (November 14, 2017) – Last month, pancreatic cancer survivor Ken Brown hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro with his Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) Oncology Surgeon It was a celebration of his cancer-free diagnosis and a dream fulfilled. This month, Ken has fielded several calls from patients interested in knowing more about the surgery that saved his life and the doctor who performed it.

All this month, especially on World Pancreatic Cancer Day November 16, Ken’s using his story to boost awareness about the importance of early diagnosis to improve patient survival rates.

“I tell everyone I meet I’m a PanCan survivor,” Ken says.

Now a beacon of hope for pancreatic cancer patients, the 68-year-old Highland Park lawyer who was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor four years ago, talks about the excellent care he received from Dr. Bilimoria who performed a Whipple surgery on him in January of 2014.

According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer ranges between 14 and one percent, depending largely on how early it is detected. 

Though pancreatic cancer patients have very low survival rates, Brown beat the odds, is thriving, and the avid hiker was able to cross the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb off of his bucket list.

“I think it was just meant to be,” Ken says, adding that he had no concern about whether or not he reached the top. “I have already hiked the tallest mountain that anyone could possibly hike, pancreatic cancer, with Dr. Bilimoria’s help.”

Brown learned that Dr. Bilimoria was going to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro during a follow-up visit in April. They often talk casually after appointments, Brown says, and when he learned of the trip, he jokingly stated, “You can’t go without me!”

Brown’s cancer was detected early, right after his mother died and he was experiencing symptoms that felt like dehydration. Early detection coupled with his exuberant, glass-half-full mentality led to a great result. Ken, according to Dr. Bilimoria, will be among a small percentage of pancreatic cancer survivors who make it to the five-year mark.

"I could see when I first met Ken, he was a lot like the patients I see in the clinic, a real fighter," Dr. Bilimoria says.

They returned on October 12 after climbing the tallest peak in Africa, although Ken didn’t make it to the summit. He turned back on just short of the summit after experiencing an unrelated, and minor, health complication. He remains ecstatic because he got to climb, camp under the stars, and spend quality time with his surgeon.

Serving Chicago’s northwest suburbs since 1959, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) is an independent healthcare system dedicated to serving the community. Its comprehensive, patient-centered system of care has locations throughout Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

It serves more than 350,000 outpatients and more than 20,000 inpatients treated annually at its 489-bed acute care hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois. It is home to a Level III NICU, Level II Trauma Center and a dedicated pediatric emergency department. The award-winning hospital holds the prestigious Magnet designation for nursing excellence, is designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval in 2015.

NCH has a medical staff of more than 1,200 physicians. All 23 locations of NCH Medical Group are staffed with board-certified primary and specialty care physicians. In addition, four NCH Immediate Care Centers and NCH Virtual Health provide access to care when and how people need it.

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Stefanie Dell'Aringa
Northwest Community Healthcare
847.618.5529
sdellarin@nch.org

More news and information about Northwest Community Healthcare

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Globe Newswire: 20:46 GMT Tuesday 14th November 2017

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