Chef Michael Ferraro, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Meals to Heal Team Up With Celgene to Address Nutritional Needs and Challenges Faced By Pancreatic Cancer Patients and Caregivers

Cooking.Comfort.Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight
Offers How-to Videos, Recipes and Tip Sheets at

SUMMIT, N.J. – November 20, 2014 –  As the holidays approach, most of us are conjuring up images of a perfectly roasted turkey with all the fixings, followed by a luscious pumpkin pie and perhaps an overfull stomach. People with pancreatic cancer are facing a very different dilemma: which foods will give them the proteins, vitamins and calories they need to maintain a desirable weight and nutritional status?

To highlight the unique nutritional issues faced by people living with pancreatic cancer, and their caregivers, and to provide strategies to help address those issues, Celgene is launching the educational program Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight. For National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (November), Celgene has teamed up with a panel of experts, including nationally recognized culinary expert Chef Michael Ferraro, Executive Chef at Delicatessen in New York City; Jessica Iannotta, RD, CSO, CDN, chief operating officer and oncology registered dietitian with Meals to Heal; and Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, to provide tips, recipes with variety and flavor, and resources for people with pancreatic cancer and their caregivers.

“There’s no reason that people with pancreatic cancer shouldn’t have tasty, nutritious food that is easy to prepare,” said Chef Ferraro, who witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by people living with pancreatic cancer to maintain proper nutrition. Ten years ago his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he noted that the food offered to her early on was often bland and lacking nutrients. “This is why I created specific, healthy recipes for my mother and why I am now working with Celgene, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Meals to Heal to develop new recipes to share with people living with or caring for someone with pancreatic cancer,” he added.

The Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program will offer a series of videos that focus on the nutritional issues faced by people with pancreatic cancer and include demonstrations of easy-to-prepare, delicious and nutritious recipes perfect for the holidays, including Turkey Apple Sweet Potato Hash and Turkey Tortellini Soup. The first three videos are now available on Celgene’s YouTube channel as well on the website of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Additional videos will be available in 2015.

For the estimated 46,000 people in the United States who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, food choice is no small matter. Many patients experience side effects from either their treatment or disease that may interfere with getting the nutrition they need. Earlier this year the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in partnership with Celgene released findings from the first national survey of nearly 400 people with any stage pancreatic cancer and caregivers that showed that many patients deal with loss of appetite (63%), nausea/vomiting (63%) and abdominal pain/cramping (51%), making a change in diet essential.

“Launching this program now, during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, is a reminder that people living with pancreatic cancer, and their caregivers, need support in many different ways,” said Julie Fleshman, president and chief executive officer, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “The unique diet and nutrition challenges faced by pancreatic cancer patients make this program especially important.”

Additional support offered through Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight includes practical strategies for managing nutritional needs during the holidays and for pancreatic cancer overall. For example, according to Jessica Iannotta, consuming small, frequent meals; separating beverages and food; and eating slowly are suggested as strategies to promote better digestion.

Visit and Celgene’s Pinterest channel to view these tips and recipes specifically designed for people caring for or living with pancreatic cancer.

“Focusing on the nutritional needs of pancreatic cancer patients is a natural extension of the company’s long-standing commitment to these patients,” said Peg Squier, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and head of US Hematology & Oncology Medical Affairs at Celgene. “We are proud to be partnering with Chef Ferraro, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Meals to Heal to help pancreatic cancer patients address their nutritional needs.”

The Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program was created by Celgene Corporation in collaboration with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Meals to Heal and Chef Michael Ferraro. The recipes and tips featured here were developed by registered dietitians who are board-certified specialists in oncology nutrition, affiliated with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and at Meals to Heal, along with Chef Michael Ferraro. The information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Before making any changes in diet, patients should always talk to their healthcare team.

About Pancreatic Cancer
Currently, there are no early screening or detection methods, and early symptoms can be similar to those of many other diseases. This means that pancreatic cancer is not usually diagnosed until it is at an advanced stage. For this reason, most patients have a poor prognosis, with more than one-half of patients diagnosed after their cancer has metastasized (spread to other organs).

While the incidence and death rates for cancer as a whole are declining, those for pancreatic cancer are on the rise. In 2014, it is estimated more than 46,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and nearly 40,000 people will die of the disease. Currently, only about 26 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer survive for one year following diagnosis. For patients who are not diagnosed until after the cancer has already spread (metastasized), the outlook is even bleaker— the average survival time is only three months. Unfortunately, this is the case for more than half of patients with pancreatic cancer.

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase survival for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double Pancreatic Cancer Survival by 2020. Together, we can Wage Hope in the fight against pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics and better treatments and increase chances of survival. To learn more, visit

About Meals to Heal
Meals to Heal is dedicated to making the lives of cancer patients and their caregivers easier and less stressful by providing services which relieve them of the significant time, energy and worry associated with ensuring proper nutrition for themselves and their loved ones. Meals to Heal provides a nationwide, comprehensive solution to cancer patients’ and their caregivers’ nutritional needs through the home delivery of healthy, nutritious meals, in addition to a wealth of nutrition resources based on high-quality scientific studies and access to experienced oncology nutrition professionals.

About Celgene
Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information please visit Follow us on Twitter @Celgene as well.

# # #


For Celgene
(908) 673-2275

For Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Jennifer Rosen
Senior Manager, Public Relations
Direct: 310-706-3362