Bobby Bowden’s Family Reveals Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

By Pat Carragher - July 26, 2021

Hall of Fame college football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer according to his son Terry.  News of the diagnosis comes after the former Florida State University coach announced he was suffering from a terminal medical condition.

"The news came out [Wednesday], but we've known for about 10 days," said Terry Bowden. “We've been preparing for this. We know when you have pancreatic cancer, which is what the disease is, you're probably talking months, not years, so we know that. We just think we've got some more good days ahead, and we're going to enjoy those together.”

According to Dr. Richard Kim, a medical oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, the average survival rate for patients diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is less than one year. “The only way to cure the cancer is by surgery, but only 20 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer are eligible for surgery,” he said.

Dr. Dae Won Kim, also a medical oncologist in Moffitt’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, says only about 1% to 5% of patients who have a specific gene mutation respond well to targeted therapy or immunotherapy. He adds there is a big push for more treatment options; there are currently some clinical trials including chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy depending on patients’ condition and tumor molecular test results.

Bobby Bowden, who coached Florida State for 34 seasons before retiring in 2009, released a statement last Wednesday regarding his condition.

“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” said Bowden. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”

Bowden, 91, coached FSU to two national championships in 1993 and 1999. He is the second-winningest coach in Division I history with 357 victories.

Bowden was also diagnosed with COVID-19 in October, days after he returned to his Tallahassee home following a hospital stay for an infection in his leg. He was also hospitalized for five days in late June.

"Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class and a sense of humor," FSU president John Thrasher said in a statement. "Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family.”

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