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Doctors hopeful procedure never before performed in Wisconsin will cure Sheboygan man of cancer

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Doctors are hopeful a procedure that had never been performed in Wisconsin before will lead to a Sheboygan man being cured of cancer.

Anthony Scherg became the first person in the state to receive a liver transplant and have part of his pancreas removed at the same time.

He spent 11 hours on an operating table in April while Dr. Ajay Sahajpal, the transplant director at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, worked.

Scherg had advanced cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer of the bile duct.

The bile duct is a tube that connects several organs including the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

“[Anthony’s] whole tree system is diseased, so the whole tree system had to come out,” Sahajpal said.

Sahajpal says the double surgery has only been done about 100 times worldwide.

“He’s a tough guy, and he tolerated it,” Sahajpal said. “A lot of people wouldn’t tolerate both operations because they’re two of the biggest operations you can do on somebody.”

The doctor says without the procedure, Scherg would’ve had about nine months to live.

Scherg was left in the dark about his role in Wisconsin medical history. In hindsight, he says it was probably better no one told him.”

“If I’m going to have surgery like this, I guess it’s worth being the first one,” he said. “You start thinking about that and it’s kind of amazing.”

Sahajpal says Scherg’s chances of being cured are 50 percent.

There have been some complications, and Scherg has been in and out of the hospital, but he has hope.

“It’s unbelievable how many people step up to the plate to help out,” Scherg said.

He will continue with chemotherapy as he comes up on the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis.

Scherg wants his experience to inspire others who have similar forms of cancer.

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