TAMPA - Robb Lamont is a man who values each day, and measures milestones, like his kid's birthday and turning 40 in a couple of months.
Pictures plastered all over his South Tampa home mark another milestone, three years still living after an unexpected diagnosis. "I woke up on the 4th of July 2009 with a stomach ache on my left side. It kept hurting. It didn't really go away."
Months of tests and doctor visits followed, until finally, surgeon Alex Rosemurgy diagnosed Rob with pancreatic cancer.
Only about 23 percent of patients diagnosed with this type of cancer live past a year. Doctor Rosemurgy at Florida Hospital and his team have higher success rates. "If you look at the median survival rate for someone like this in our hands, that's about 29 months. Nationally, with an operation, average survival is 12 months."
Dr. Rosemurgy operated on Rob, enrolled him in a clinical trial consisting of chemotherapy and a vaccine. Robb says, "I'm still on the trial. I go every month. I receive four injections, one in each thigh and one in each arm, they take my blood, my pulse, my temperature and my weight and every single month I get the blood work back. And in the trial every three months I get CT scans."
Three years of treatments and tests show Robb is now remarkably disease-free. Doctor Rosemurgy believes his survival is due to the combination of treatment. "In the absence of any of those things, his outcome wouldn't have been as good. It had to be all three."
Pancreatic cancer is so deadly because by the time symptoms start, the cancer is often inoperable or spreading.
Rob is now spreading the word to look for symptoms easy to misread or simply miss. "A lot of the time, if you just don't feel well, you have stomach aches, back pain a lot of time, you're just not feeling well, just go to the doctor."