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Letter to the Editor: Please Support the Fox Chase Cancer Center

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You know that your support of Fox Chase Cancer Center helps make the comprehensive cancer care we offer here possible. Your generosity gives us the resources we need to implement the most innovative and effective treatments possible.

And in the case of Nick Pifani, having access to every possible resource at Fox Chase saved his life.

Nick is a husband, a father of two, and a marathon runner who’s even completed a half Ironman. But a few years ago, he had pain in his stomach and back that was so intense it kept him awake for days. At the ER, they discovered he had a large, cancerous mass on his pancreas touching his arteries and veins—meaning it was inoperable.

As his doctor, I had to do whatever I could to help this husband and father of two. If we couldn’t perform surgery on Nick right away, we would have to find a way to shrink his tumor—and because of supporters like you, we had the resources to do just that.

I decided to do genetic testing, which you can read more about here, to discover the most effective treatment plan for Nick. The results revealed he had a certain mutation which increases one’s risk of cancer, but is also susceptible to platinum-based chemotherapy. We started Nick on this treatment immediately.

But that wasn’t the end of his story. While Nick’s cancer did respond well to chemo, his platelet count dropped, and he started having to miss sessions. My colleague, Dr. Joshua Meyer, began five weeks of targeted radiation, which was less tough on Nick—and by the end of his treatments, his tumor had shrunk away from the arteries and veins, which meant we could finally perform the surgery Nick needed.

All these techniques—genetic testing, advanced chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery—came together to save Nick’s life. His outcome was extremely positive, and he’s back to running again. He even tells people he’s a "2.0 version of himself."

The specialized, advanced cancer care Nick received at Fox Chase simply wouldn’t be possible without supporters like you. On behalf of patients like Nick, thank you for making a difference.



Dr. Igor Astsaturov


P.S. Nick had a life-saving operation, and now he’s dedicated himself to volunteering and making a difference for pancreatic cancer patients. You can also make a difference for people facing a cancer diagnosis with your donation to Fox Chase today.

P.P.S. You helped us be there for Nick—and we’re here for you, too. You or a loved one can request an appointment here, and you’ll receive a call within one business day to review your information and schedule your appointment. Thank you for being part of the Fox Chase family!