The Man Behind The Scenes
TONY SUBIA: Executive Vice President
Empowering People With Information On How To Minimize The Risk
TONY SUBIA IS NOT A MAN WHO SEEKS THE SPOTLIGHT.
ON THE CONTRARY, HE’S SELDOM SEEN AT SEENA MAGOWITZ FOUNDATION EVENTS.
INSTEAD HE PREFERS TO MAKE HIS VOICE HEARD BEHIND THE SCENES.
It’s a bit ironic, though, that the man who rarely appears in public has also proved to be one of the loudest noisemakers when it comes to educating the public about pancreatic cancer and its risk factors.
Nowadays, the former graphic design and marketing professional serves as Seena Magowitz Foundation Founder & CEO Roger Magowitz’ sounding board, so to speak, assisting with a wide range of efforts on behalf of the foundation. One such effort involved the planning and content direction of the foundation’s inaugural tribute book, working closely with its publisher, FrontDoors Media.
If you ask him directly, though, he’d say he considers himself the foundation’s “Director of Awareness,” noting that his biggest contribution to the cause would be spreading the power of knowledge about this brutal disease.
First introduced to Roger through a mutual friend about 10 years ago, Tony soon learned of the remarkable work the foundation was helping fund. “After a couple of hours, he had me hooked,” he recalled, of his earliest meeting with Roger. At the time, the foundation had no web or social media presence to speak of, so Tony set about creating its website and Facebook profile to inform exponentially more people about causes, symptoms and medical developments in the fight against the disease.
Compared to many other forms of cancer, awareness about pancreatic cancer causes, risk factors and detection methods is alarmingly low. There’s also a clear link between a lack of awareness about these elements and the percentage of pancreatic cancer patients who go un- or misdiagnosed, with misdiagnosis playing a role in about 30% of pancreatic cancer cases.
“If a patient’s pancreatic cancer is found while it’s still Stage I and confined to the pancreas, the average five-year survival rate is about 37%,” Tony said. “Once it metastasizes, or spreads to distant organs, though, that rate falls significantly to about 2.9%, highlighting the critical nature of early detection. Unfortunately, only about 10% of cases are diagnosed when the cancer is confined to the primary site.”
Tony also acknowledged that there is a lack of public knowledge about certain gene mutations linked to pancreatic cancer, among them the BRCA2 gene and the PALB2 mutation, both of which can increase the risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Raising awareness about these inherited risk factors will, in turn, help encourage at-risk individuals to seek genetic counseling and testing.
“The more information we give people, the more assertive they can be with their general practitioners,” Tony said, noting that he plans to continue to support the efforts of the foundation – which he does completely without compensation.
“The most rewarding part of this experience has been the heart fulfillment it brings,” he said, of his time with the Seena Magowitz Foundation. “It’s hearing people who were told they only had a few months or even weeks to live tell their own survival stories many years later.”
As Executive Vice President, Tony does not accept compensation for his full-time support to the Seena Magowitz Foundation in its fight against pancreatic cancer.