How can I help a loved one navigate a pancreatic cancer diagnosis? Summus March 2, 2017

How can I help a loved one navigate a pancreatic cancer diagnosis?

closeup of a young caucasian doctor man wearing a white coat using a tablet computer

Summus provides access, within days, to leading physicians to address questions related to a new diagnosis. This case study provides a roadmap for leveraging specialist expertise by walking through how Edward, a Summus member, and his father leveraged the Summus network to help them decide on the best treatment options for his father’s pancreatic cancer.


Where are the best treatment options for my father’s pancreatic cancer?


After suffering from severe abdominal pain, 68-year-old Daniel visited the local ER; a subsequent work-up revealed a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Daniel had not previously told his family that he had lost weight and noticed a change in his complexion. Daniel immediately called his son, Edward, a Summus member, to share the news. At this stage, it was not clear whether Daniel was a candidate for surgery.

Listening to his dad, Edward realized that a local community hospital in Virginia near his father’s home was not the right place to begin a conversation about treatment options. He wanted to move his father to another facility but did not know which one would be best. Edward sought to be an advocate for his father but knew that his hectic work schedule would make it difficult for him to attend multiple doctor visits in Virginia.

Summus Experience

Day 1 — Summus MD

10:00am ET

Two hours after contacting Summus, their dedicated Summus MD led an efficient and comprehensive intake call to gain a deep understanding of Daniel’s case. Later that day, their Summus MD obtained a copy of the results from the work-up Daniel received in the ER the prior evening.

3:30pm ET

Their Summus MD suggested they consult with a leading surgical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. She provided a thoughtfully curated list of physicians based on Daniel’s case.

Day 2  — Specialist Match

10:00am ET

Daniel and Edward reviewed their physician matches and chose to speak with a renowned specialist who served as both the Executive Director of the Pancreas Center and Division Chief of GI/Endocrine Surgery at one of the country’s premier cancer hospitals in the Northeast. A surgeon with nearly three decades of experience studying and treating pancreatic cancer, he performed one of the first robotic Whipple procedures in the world and has led major innovations in his field. Summus coordinated the scheduling and arranged a consultation for later that week.

Day 4 — Expert Consultation

9:00am ET

Daniel and Edward engaged in a comprehensive, 45-minute videoconference: Daniel from his home in Virginia and Edward from his office in Boston.


“When my dad told me that he was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I knew I not only needed to be strong for him, but help him to quickly devise the right plan of action. Time was not in our favor. So the ability for my dad and I to videoconference with one of the most renowned pancreatic cancer surgeons in the world gave my father and I great comfort. The questions our Summus MD prepared ensured that we asked very targeted questions pertinent to my dad’s diagnosis. He walked through the best options for treating pancreatic cancer at the disease’s different stages. My dad and I now far better understand the role of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, and the ideal treatment option for my dad at this time. Lastly, we came away with a recommendation for a top specialist within 25 miles of my dad home. We are grateful to the Summus team for quickly springing into action and facilitating a conversation that was so critical to my father’s health.”

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