ST. LOUIS – Cardinals legend Bob Gibson, widely considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, sent a letter to his fellow members of the Baseball Hall of Fame over the weekend, informing them he’s fighting pancreatic cancer.
Gibson’s agent, Dick Zitzmann, discussed Gibson’s prognosis and the hall of famer’s outlook.
"Mr. Gibson has accepted his diagnosis and plans to begin his 6-month chemotherapy program this week,” he said. “He's prepared to fight this as best he can."
Gibson has been hospitalized in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. John Finnie, Mercy Clinic Oncology and Hematology, said while this is a very serious condition, whether localized or metastatic, there are new drugs which can help the patient in their fight.
“Those regimens have started to push out survival averages, which is encouraging, but it’s still an aggressive disease,” he said. “It is still, on average, an improvement; on average of months.”
With no treatment, a patient is looking at 6 months left to live. With newer treatment, a patient can live 9 to 10 months. The very aggressive treatments can possibly extend a patient’s life 12 to 14 months.
“Honestly, I have seen in past, admittedly, it’s exceptional, uncommon. I had two patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who lived remarkably longer than average survival,” Finnie said.
Despite being 83 years-old, Finnie and Cardinal Nation know if anyone can battle this cancer, it’s Bob Gibson.
Finnie also said—without knowing exact details of Gibson's current treatment plan—that determining Gibson’s stage of cancer and his goals moving forward are what they would be doing at Mercy.
“You want to assure (a patient) you are going to do everything to give them a good quality of life to help them live longer and support them through that journey,” Finnie said.