November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, about 55,440 people in the US will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 and 44,330 will die from this disease. Unfortunately, most are diagnosed in later stages when cure is not possible and only limited treatment options exist. Currently, ninety-one percent will die within five years of diagnosis; and in the US, this disease kills more people than breast cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness campaigns are working hard to change these dismal statistics through education and funding for more research that can one day put an end to this disease. One such agency is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a non-profit organization that serves the community via patient advocacy, research and clinical studies with the goal of doubling survival rates by 2020.
Between 2008 and 2016, this organization has raised over 87 million dollars to advance the cause. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network provides free telephone support to those diagnosed with this disease. Their no-cost patient services include referrals to specialists, getting second opinions, determining optimal treatment options, and matches to clinical trials. In addition, they offer counseling and cancer support groups online and in person. For help, please contact their Patient Central line at (877) 435-8650 or visit https://www.pancan.org/facing-pancreatic-cancer/patient-services/contact-us/ for more.
The National Cancer Institute describes some of the earlier signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer as:
- Abdominal and mid-back pain
- Change in Stool
- Dark Urine
- Digestive problems
- New-onset Diabetes
- Unexplained Weight loss
- Yellow Skin or Eyes
Of course, these symptoms do not mean a person has pancreatic cancer; it simply means that if we recognize these signs, we must be proactive and see our doctor with any health concerns right away.
If you (or someone you know) have been diagnosed with cancer and need help covering the costs of prescriptions, treatment and other expenses, please see our link to free, nationwide financial resources for cancer patients. No-cost help is available right now.