Swayze Talks Cancer for First Time on ’20/20′

It’s been a full year since Dirty Dancing and Ghost star Patrick Swayze disclosed that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The actor recently sat down with Barbara Walters for his first interview on the subject of his health, to air on the Wednesday, January 7, episode of ABC’s 20/20.

“I dropped about 20 pounds in the blink of an eye,” Swayze, 56, tells Walters in the segment. “And then when you see it in the mirror, when all of a sudden, you pull your eyes down and the bottom of your eyes go yellow and jaundice sets in—then you know something’s wrong.

“You can bet that I’m going through hell,” he continues. “And I’ve only seen the beginning of it.”

20/20 points out that Swayze has beat the odds. Most patients diagnosed with his level of pancreatic cancer (stage 4) are usually only given six months to live.

He told Walters that his response to receiving his initial diagnosis was, “Watch me! You watch what I pull off.”

Swayze credits his wife, 52-year-old Lisa Niemi, for getting him through each day with grace.

“Part of me says I couldn’t have made it through without her,” says the Roadhouse actor. “But, of course, the other part of me says I could have, but not nearly as elegantly as I have.”

Meanwhile, Swayze’s new crime series The Beast—in which he plays an unorthodox FBI veteran—debuts on A&E January 15.