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Pay Attention to These Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

Pay Attention to These Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer
Alex Trebek (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 November 2019 10:17 AM

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and this year, beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek has joined the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition’s global awareness initiative, appearing in a new public service announcement encouraging people to learn the risk factors and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

Last March, Trebek, 79, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer after seeking help for persistent stomach pain.

“I wish I had known sooner that the stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer,” Trebek says in the PSA. He encourages people to wear purple during this month, especially on Nov. 21, which is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, and spread the word on social media.

Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, is the chair of the WPCC and president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).

“We are so grateful that Alex Trebek has used his platform to give a very public face to this terrible disease,” she says.

Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a single-digit, five-year survival rate ranging from a mere 2% to 9%. Each day, more than 1,184 people worldwide die from the disease. Actor Patrick Swayze and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs are just two of the many celebrities who succumbed to this devastating illness.

Like most diseases, early detection is key to beating pancreatic cancer because you have access to more treatment options, including surgery. Surgery increases survival rates tenfold. However, because the pancreas is located deep in the abdomen, doctors usually cannot see or feel the tumor during a routine physical examination.

Risk factors for developing the disease include family history, long-standing diabetes, smoking, age, being male, eating red and processed meat and obesity.

Early warning signs include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Depression
  • Recent onset diabetes

“We hope that people will be more aware of the common risks and symptoms and alert their doctor sooner when there is more opportunity for intervention,” says Fleshman.

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November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and this year, beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek has joined the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition's global awareness initiative, appearing in a new public service announcement encouraging people to learn the risk factors and...
pancreatic, cancer, awareness, alex trebek
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2019-17-14
Thursday, 14 November 2019 10:17 AM
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