Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month brings attention to ‘silent cancer’

Only 5 percent of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive beyond five years

Wednesday marks the start of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday marks the start of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Twenty-six people are diagnosed with the disease each day, and only 5 percent of those who are diagnosed survive beyond five years.

The American Cancer Society estimates roughly 53,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017.

Dr. Kevin Kelley, at Trumbull Regional Medical Center, said the causes of pancreatic cancer are not known. There are some risk factors that make developing pancreatic cancer more likely, however, including smoking and obesity.

Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a “silent cancer” because it is thought that the early symptoms can be vague or mimic other stomach issues.

Dr. Kelley said there is a desperate need for more research and better treatment for cancer.

Right now, there are more than 600 active clinical trials, but there is a need for more practical methods of early detection.

“The imaging and the technology we have available to screen for this disease has a lot of false positives and false negatives,” Dr. Kelley said. It’s not reliable, and it’s also not practical. The imaging is very intensive and involved.”

Dr. Kelley said pancreatic cancer is now the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, surpassing breast cancer.

“Some of the theories behind this are that we are getting better at treating cancers like breast cancer. We are catching those earlier. There’s more advocacy and awareness. Women are coming in for annual screening mammography, and we are catching those cancers early, and treatment has gotten a lot better.”

Kelley hopes that this month will bring more awareness to the need for funding for more research.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is on November 16.


WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s