Peter Fine: Hear My Story
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Hear My Story: Peter S. Fine - Full Transcription
Audio: Opening music plays over photo of Peter S. Fine
Image/Text: Peter S. Fine – Cancer Patient
President / CEO, Banner Health
Hand-written: “I know, I lived it.”
Image: Peter S. Fine speaks on-camera.
Audio: “I was diagnosed with a cancer that’s called ‘squamous cell carcinoma.’ Squamous cells are typically cells on your skin but they also line your mouth and your throat and your tongue. And so I had a cancer that had had a primary location right at the base of my tongue, mid-line of the tongue. What goes through your head at the time of anything that affects your health in a substantial way is fear—‘Why me?’ The concerns around, ‘What does it mean?’ Concerns around, ‘What do you do about it?’ Concerns around, ‘Are you going to live? Can you survive it?’ And all of that are the insecurities until you have enough information to really support your own internal decision making process.
Once you understand what the treatments are, and they are significant—and, for me, both with chemotherapy and radiation therapy—they’re destructive. They take a lot out of you and so you’ve got to get your mind around the fact that somebody’s going to beat you up pretty good for about six months. It’s not going to be pleasant and it’s going to disrupt your life and the life of people around you. And then the question becomes, ‘What are those side effects that create that disruption?’ and learning about them. So I educated myself extensively at the very beginning of what the side effects were, how they would affect my lifestyle on a daily basis, and then what were the processes I had to put in place to manage my way through those traumatic periods of the process of getting better.
The first day that I saw the physician, that was my primary physician for the treatment, after we got through all the diagnosis, knew what it was and all that kind of stuff, he walked in and he said, ‘There’s only one thing – we’re going to start treatment. Treatment’s going to be long; it’s going to be hard. There’s only one thing you have to be concerned about through this whole process.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘This is curable.’
Bringing M. D. Anderson to Phoenix and to Banner as a partner was a big decision. It was, I think, well thought out—took us two or three years to get through the process where both players were willing to trust each other and feel good about each other in the relationship. We understood their goals and desires; they understood our goals and desires. We knew who they were; they had to learn who we were. And, to me, it’s a tremendous compliment to the organization that a health care organization like M. D. Anderson felt confident enough to marry up in a partnership with Banner Health. We can expect a different way and a different approach to providing cancer services. They have a unique way of doing it. They are one of a few that do it that way. And having gone through the process, and been a recipient of care there, I can tell you it’s a unique approach. And so the public-at-large will have another option and, as far as I’m concerned, I think the public deserves as many options to deal with their disease as they can have.
I would tell patients that the piece of advice I would give them is that cancer today is different than it was twenty and thirty years ago. And for many cancers, three decades ago it was a death sentence. Today, it’s not. The more you can get focused on dealing with the treatment, the more you will be in that hope stage. The more you will put yourself into that position where there is a better outcome that can come from this and I’m going to focus on trying to achieve it. And then, just stay focused on getting there.”
Audio: Closing Music
Image/Text: Banner MD Annderson Cancer Center