Pam Ryan: A Warrior

Diagnosed: November 10, 2012
Lost The Battle: April 30, 2014

At first, Pam Ryan thought she was suffering from strained muscles in her legs. But upon visiting her doctor it was not only diagnosed as blood clots in her legs, but her lungs as well. Blood clots can be a symptom of advanced stage pancreatic cancer. A subsequent CT scan revealed a tumor in her pancreas and it had spread to distant organs. On November 12, 2012 it was diagnosed as inoperable Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

“Reeling in shock, I met the oncologist who takes me into the hallway who tells me that Pam is going to die.” said Jim Ryan, Pam’s husband of over 40 years. “The prognosis was that she had but a few weeks to a month to live.” Pam and Jim refused to accept that verdict and searched for a second opinion.

With recommendations of friends, they discovered a clinical trial focusing on a new chemo drug that could
extend life. The trial was administered by TGen in coordination with Virginia G. Piper Cancer Treatment Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was performed under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, a world-renown science research oncologist.

The clinical trial performed well. By all measures, the addition of “Abraxane” (Nab-Paclitaxel) for the treatment of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer was superior to survival of late stage patients who received only Gemcitabine. 35% of patients who also received Abraxane survived more than 1 year, a 59% increase over the 22% of those receiving only Gemcitabine. Although negligible, the 2-year survival rate was 9% with Abraxane versus 4% with Gemcitabine alone.

“What TGen’s clinical team accomplished extended my wife’s life from the original prognosis of just weeks to almost 1.5 years. Bonus time that will forever be cherished. I’m so thankful for TGen and Dr. Von Hoff for the hope the trial offers future patients. I believe in my heart that it’s going to change the percentages of survival.” said Jim Ryan.

Pam was always there for her children to guide and protect them. She also became very active in charity work. She helped create a live Bethlehem Village for her Church’s annual Christmas event known as “Christmas at First”. She was in the National Charity League with her daughter. She was very active in the Junior League of Phoenix.

She served as President of the Maricopa Bar Auxiliary helping the County Bar Association provide educational programs on the Law in grade schools. She was active in The P.E.O. Sisterhood and served as the President of the Arizona Historical League. She always cared for people as evidenced by the years that she sent care packages to our soldiers overseas as a participant in the “Soldier’s Angels” program.

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