Swayze was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in late January 2008, and underwent chemotherapy and treatment with an experimental drug Vatalanib to cut off the blood supply to the tumor at the Stanford University Medical Center. On March 5, 2008, a Reuters article reported that Swayze "has a very limited amount of disease, and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far." Swayze's doctor confirmed that the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but insisted he was not as close to death as reports suggest. Despite repeated tabloid claims that his death was imminent, Swayze continued to actively pursue his career. Specifically, Swayze was diagnosed with a type of pancreatic tumor called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm.
In early May 2008, it was widely reported in a number of tabloids that Swayze had undergone surgery to remove part of his stomach after the spread of the cancer and that he had rewritten his will, transferring his property to his wife. In a statement made on May 28, Swayze said that he continued to respond well to treatment at Stanford University Medical Center. In late May 2008, he was seen at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game, his first public appearance since his diagnosis. In 2008 Swayze was treated with Cyberknife radiotherapy cancer treatment.
In late July 2008, six months after reportedly being given just weeks to live by medical experts, a healthy-appearing Swayze was asked by reporter in Los Angeles airport about this health. He replied, "I'm cooking. I'm a miracle dude. I don't know why".