Since beginning more than four years ago, Evans on Marketing has always presented posts in a professional and informative way on a wide range of business topics. Before this post, we (Joel Evans) have never written about ourselves on a personal level. As we usher in the New Year, this is a special post.

Today only, I am breaking with our practice to cover a topic of extreme personal and societal importance. In this blog, I am going public on a private matter (being a cancer survivor) with the intent of helping others to deal with the ramifications of this insidious disease. The post is to dedicated to my family, my friends, and my wonderful group of doctors Thank you!

To quote the great Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig, when he was honored at Yankee Stadium shortly before his death from ALS: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Here’s why. [After reading my story, PLEASE listen to the radio show in which I participated.]

In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana saw the results of a routine blood test that was part of my regular three-month testing as a diabetic and did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan which showed a lump in my pancreas. Within a couple of weeks, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation to build my strength, I then underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA.

Why do I consider myself so lucky?

  • I was diagnosed REALLY early and able to have surgery shortly after my diagnosis. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because it is usually diagnosed too late. Eighty percent of those who get PC are diagnosed too late to have surgery.
  • My family and friends have been terrific since day one, and I have bonded with many other cancer survivors.
  • My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted people who are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
  • I work in a profession that I love. I have been at Hofstra University for 42 years now; and except for having to sit out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed a single class during the three semesters since then.
  • I have an innate personality trait and drive that encourage me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. That is why I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
  • On February 12, 2017, I will celebrate two years since my surgery. After finishing chemotherapy at the end of August 2015, I have had all clean CT-scans. Yea. My plan is to be around for many more years. 🙂


  1. Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
  2. Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
  3. Listen to the medical professionals!
  4. Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
  5. Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
  6. Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
  7. Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
  8. Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter. [In my case, that has meant getting involved with the Lustgarten Foundation, which engages in PC research. Click here to donate. My new passion is to give back to others through volunteer work.]

If you’re down to this point, thanks for reading. Next is a podcast from a radio show on which I appeared with two other cancer survivors:

“Wishing You a New Year of Hope and Resilience — The New Year’s Podcast 2017 on Psych Up Live is one that will invite you to embrace your own resilience and underscore the power of connection, gratitude and hope.”

“Surviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience: In this episode Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility.”

4 Replies to “Tis the Season to Be Inspired and Hopeful — and Live Life Every Day”

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