Health Team

Palliative care offers extra support for cancer patients

Roddy Tempest is fighting for his life in a battle against cancer. He was diagnosed two and a half years ago with what began as prostate cancer.

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Roddy Tempest is fighting for his life in a battle against cancer.

“I was diagnosed with cancer two and a half years ago,” Tempest said.

It began in his prostate.

“It has now metastasized, and the biggest problem is that it’s in my liver and in my lymphatic system,” said Tempest.

Duke oncologist Dr. Arif Kamal is part of Tempest’s team of physicians directing his outpatient palliative care, which offers an extra layer of patient support from the time of diagnosis.

The team is “there to support symptom issues, psycho-social issues, emotional issues, spiritual and existential issues,” Kamal said.

The concept recognizes the importance of the patient’s caregivers and family.

“My wife and my children are living this disease with me,” Tempest said. “I have a 10-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter – and my daughter will come up to me in bed while I’m really ill and say, ‘Dad, I don’t want you to die.’ I say, ‘Well let’s pray together and let’s defeat this together.’”

One purpose of outpatient palliative care is to help keep outpatients from becoming inpatients.

“And also be a point of contact for them, because as we know, a hospital is the last place any patient of their family wants to be,” Kamal said.

And it gives Tempest greater hope.

“I have no expectations to die. My expectation is to survive,” said Tempest.

Roddy Tempest is also CEO of Tempest Environmental Systems in Chapel Hill. He's donated a significant amount of money to Duke for cancer research.

His close involvement in that research has also given him and his family hope as he continues his fight.


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