Rhode Island man brings attention to Cholangiocarcinoma - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rhode Island man brings attention to Cholangiocarcinoma

RHODE ISLAND (NBC NEWS) -- After loosing his wife to a rare cancer, Jeff Costa is on a crusade to bring attention to a rare cancer of the bile duct.

Susan and Jeff knew each other growing up together in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and became high school sweethearts. She was 16, he was 17.

"Loved life, loved animals, loved the Red Sox," said Jeff of his wife.

They were married on September 6, 1991. Thirteen years later, they had their first child, Zachary. Two years after that, Sofia was born. Except for her symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which included abdominal pain, life was great. Until the summer of 2007 when her abdominal pain worsened.

"This was definitely different. She really started complaining about severe pain in July and August," said Jeff.

It would take a few months but in October of 2007, Susan was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the bile duct inside her liver. Her cancer was inoperable and very aggressive.

"It's just tough coming up here, seeing her deteriorating everyday and not being able to help her," said Jeff.

Her oncologist from Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Dr. Sanjay Jain, too says he felt helpless.

"The time from when she was diagnosed to the time that unfortunately she passed away was very short. In fact, one of the shortest that I have seen."

"It's just amazing that three months to me, it's so quick," said Jeff.

With the help of Dr. Jain, Jeff has started a foundation in his late wife's name. the Susan M. Costa Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. Dr. Jain was deeply touched by Susan's story.

"The intensity with which her symptomology occurred and her disease progressed had a significant impact on me as a clinician that I felt more helpless than I would in other instances," said Dr. Jain.

"I am on a mission to promote Cholangiocarcinoma to let people know of the severities of how bad it is," said Jeff.

Cancer of the bile duct is only diagnosed in about 56-hundred people a year and it's usually not caught early, making it especially deadly.

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