Cancer wasn't on Michael Lax's radar, let alone cholangiocarcinoma, a bile duct cancer that affects just two out of 100,000 people each year. Since he didn't have a family history of the rare disease, it was a shock when he was diagnosed with it. His health deteriorated rapidly, and he underwent surgery at a local hospital. Lax remembers the word his doctors there used to describe his post surgical chance for survival: infinitesimal. But after seeking a second opinion at UCSF, he realized he had more options.
Now, a few years after his UCSF surgery, Lax is cancer free. He returns to UCSF every few months for tests, visits he almost looks forward to, he says, because they reaffirm that he's healthy. He's even making plans for a golf game with his surgeon, Dr. Carlos Corvera. Here, Lax talks about his UCSF journey and what he wants people with rare cancers to know.