Elias Jreissati received his diagnosis at 54 - around the same age that his father was when he lost him to the disease.
Jreissati Family Story
Elias Jreissati received his diagnosis at 54—around the same age that his father was when he lost him to the disease.
When Elias first went to his doctor, he wasn’t experiencing any unusual symptoms. He’d been out for dinner with his wife a few days earlier and thought he’d been suffering the after-effects of food poisoning. But his doctor wasn’t convinced and wanted to investigate based on his family history. Blood tests showed Elias had elevated liver enzymes. Wanting more information, his doctor arranged for an ultrasound, CT and MRI scan. The tests found nothing unusual. Even his blood tests had returned to normal.
At this point, Elias believed that his health was fine. He didn’t want more tests, but his doctor continued to investigate. It was only after an endoscopic ultrasound that his specialist found a stage 1 tumour. At the time of his operation 23 days later, the tumour had advanced to stage 2. According to Elias, if it hadn’t been for his doctor's persistence, he wouldn't be here to tell his story today.
This was the start of a frightening journey for Elias and his family. There was so much information to read and understand. When asking questions, they were receiving mixed messages and conflicting views. Elias’s wife, Colleen, felt like they were in the dark, lacking the information they needed during certain stages of Elias’s treatment. There was also no centralisation of care available in Melbourne for pancreatic cancer patients at the time. This meant that he needed to visit different locations for consultations and treatment.
Based on their experience, the Jreissati's wanted to change the journey for others. It was time to do better and be better when it came to pancreatic cancer. It was with this vision that the family approached the Epworth Medical Foundation and established The Jreissati Pancreatic Centre at Epworth.