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Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month  

A Carroll County resident shares his personal story about pancreatic cancer:

Now that November has arrived, I realize that this is pancreatic cancer awareness month.  I was familiar with October being breast cancer awareness month but I didn’t know that pancreatic cancer has its own awareness month. I didn’t know much about the disease. I do know that cancer runs in my family as I lost my dad to brain stem cancer when I was 22 years old.

Pancreatic cancer was not foremost in my thoughts. The only people that I knew that had it were famous people like Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO, and actor Patrick Swayze. My aunt also had it and unfortunately all three people died very quickly from the disease.

Pancreatic cancer didn’t really hit home until November 11, 2015 when I was diagnosed at the age of 62. I was told I have six months give or take if I did nothing.  After exploring the options, we all agreed to surgery which happened shortly after the diagnosis. Then it was chemo and radiation at Hopkins. I even participated in a 12 month clinical trial to help find a future cure.

Two years later, I have been viewed as one of the 8% survival rate with pancreatic cancer. Did you get that! Only 8% of the people with diagnosed pancreatic cancer can claim survival.  That survival might last 2 years, 4 years or 10 years, only God knows as everyone responds differently.  I’ll take it….whatever time the Lord gives me here with my family who have been extremely supportive. If anything comes out of this journey, it’s having a keen awareness of this disease and to help others through it.  The rest of the journey will be realizing as time moves on as to why God has me in the 8%.

So if you see people wearing a purple ribbon the month of November, remember the many who are stricken with pancreatic cancer. Remember the people who have lost their fight and the many people who have dedicated their lives to helping people who battle pancreatic cancer.”

– Jerry Rebert, Carroll County Resident

 

About Pancreatic Cancer 

The pancreas is a thin, pear-shaped gland behind the stomach. It produces fluids to help break down food and hormones to control blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer is among the ten most common cancers and ranks fourth as a cause of cancer death in the United States. Pancreatic cancer rates are rising.

Early stage pancreatic cancer usually has no symptoms and spreads quickly throughout the body, making it difficult to detect and harder to treat when it is found in its later stages.

Pancreatic cancer may cause only vague symptoms, but if you are experiencing one or more of the below unexplained symptoms, see your doctor:

Get more info on the signs and symptoms.

 
Abdominal or mid-back pain
Loss of appetite
Jaundice
 
 
Weight loss
Nausea
Change in stool
Recent onset diabetes

 

Men have a higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer than women, and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer greatly increases with age. 

People with the following risk factors may be more likely to develop pancreatic cancer:

  • smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products,
  • being obese,
  • having diabetes,
  • having chronic pancreatitis,
  • having certain hereditary conditions, and
  • having a family history of pancreatic cancer.

For more information on pancreatic cancer:

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pancreatic Cancer page

Pancreatic Cancer on cancer.gov