Mr. Fischer was on an antimalaria drug under clinical study at the University of Pennsylvania for its tumor-shrinking potential and undergoing a new type of chemotherapy believed to zap cancers more effectively than others used in the past.
"So far so good. My tumor has shrunk in size. It's not gone, but it shrunk. It hasn't spread to anywhere else in my body," Mr. Fischer told Stahl.
Ursina Teitelebaum, Mr. Fischer's medical oncologist at Abramson Cancer Center at Penn, said he was diagnosed 30 months ago with advanced pancreatic cancer; his life expectancy was six to 12 months.
Despite that, he conditioned himself to qualify for the clinical trial.
"He was quietly courageous, and graceful, and elegant," she said. "He lived well beyond what he should have, because of his sheer life power."
"He inspired me in terms of how people can live with cancer and still have a quality of life."
Mr. Fischer used the time he gained to see his daughter off to college and learn to ski. As a token of his appreciation, he sent the doctor a photo of himself on the slopes.
"He was very personally powerful in his quiet way," the doctor said. "We all benefited."
A Newtown Square native, Mr. Fischer graduated from Marple Newtown High School in 1979 and Villanova University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in economics.
He worked as an insurance salesman, first for Cigna and later Gallagher Bassett Services. Before going out on long-term disability in 2012, he earned awards for outstanding sales and achievement.
Mr. Fischer loved spending time with family and friends. He enjoyed working out, skiing, golfing, camping, and taking his equestrian daughter to events.
He was especially proud of his home and yard; at one point, he built a wall. He also volunteered as a dog walker for Main Line Animal Rescue, a nonprofit adoption group.
His wife, the former Robin Santucci, said Mr. Fischer decided to go public with his story both to help raise funds, and also to ease the fears of patients about medical research.
"He wanted people not to be afraid to try clinical trials because it could save your life," his wife said. "He inspired so many people just by the way he handled himself and dealt with being sick. They wanted to be like him."
To view Mr. Fischer in the TV segment, link to: http://tinyurl.com/bmnqg8f
Surviving besides his wife of 24 years are a daughter, Alana; two sisters; and nieces and nephews.
Friends may call at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at St. Basil the Great Church, 2300 Kimberton Rd., Kimberton. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Inurnment will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.
Donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, Calif. 90266.