Dr. Oz, Randy Pausch and Oprah

9 of 13
Randy says the first sign that something was wrong with him was a "funny" feeling. "I had sort of bloating in my abdomen, and I would have called it cramping, but it wasn't quite the same," he says. Randy also became jaundiced without feeling pain—a major indication to doctors that pancreatic cancer could be the culprit.

After an ultrasound, Randy's doctor told him the news—there was a mass on his pancreas. "If you're going to pick off a list, this is not the cancer you would pick," Randy says. "I mean, it's pretty much the last one you would want to get. It's pretty much the most fatal. I had no idea how bad pancreatic cancer would be."

Dr. Oz says pancreatic cancer is so serious because by the time it is detected, it is often too late to treat. "The pancreas is nestled away in the back of the belly, and it doesn't have any real symptoms until it's already spread," he says. "So unlike a lot of the cancers that we really push hard for folks to get screened on—colon cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer—it's very hard to find pancreatic cancer early, and by the time we find it, it's caused that painless jaundice because it's blocked off the liver."

Randy says he underwent surgery to remove the tumor, as well as a third of his stomach, a third of his pancreas, his gallbladder and a section of his small intestine. His weight dropped from 183 pounds down to 138, making him so thin that he had to remove his wedding ring. "I just got so skinny it would fall off. And that hurt," he says.

Randy says he doesn't have many regrets about the way he has lived his life, and he sees his cancer just as bad luck. "I think that we all stand on the dartboard of life. Roughly 30,000 people a year are going to catch a dart labeled pancreatic cancer, and that's unfortunate. It's not what I would have chosen. But I in no way feel like I deserved it," he says.
PREVIOUS | NEXT
FROM: Dr. Oz: A Special Report on Death
Published on October 22, 2007
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD