CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pancreatic cancer can be a death sentence for some patients, but one Charlotte man is trying to defy the odds.

What You Need To Know

  • Pancreatic cancer is considered by health officials to be one of the most deadly cancers because it is often diagnosed in later stages

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, only 10.8% of people with pancreatic cancer live past five years

  • Ronald Melamed has lived seven years with the illness

  • He credits his positive attitude and perseverance to seek out new treatments

Ronald Melamed likes to keep himself busy. He is a real estate attorney and spends hours answering phone calls and emails. It’s a job he enjoys because unlike litigation, he tries to please both sides.

“It’s nice being in a job where you are not necessarily looking at who is going to be the winner and who is the loser,” Melamed said.

But the real reason he likes to stay busy is because it helps distract him. Melamed is a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor, which is very rare. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 10% of people with pancreatic cancer live past five years.

“I’ve always had a positive attitude knowing that it is not going to beat me,” Melamed said. 

In an attempt to beat the odds, Melamed has undergone chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.

More recently, he had whipple surgery to remove the tumors on his pancreas. The process involved removing part of the pancreas as well. He is now a diabetic because of the treatment.

“I know I can beat this,” Melamed said.

“I know I will beat this, and I will not let myself emotionally out of this positive place that I am in.”

Melamed says he thinks he is still alive because he refuses to stop fighting and looking for new treatments.

“At the end of the day someone is going to figure out how to cure this,” Melamed said. “Don’t let the disease stop you from living your life.”

Melamed is currently in a clinical trial testing immunotherapy to treat his pancreatic cancer. It is a phase-one trial in Huntersville.