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Always Aware: Nov. is National Pancreatic Cancer Month

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 03 2013 09:06:40 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 04 2013 11:20:11 AM CST

Always Aware National Pancreatic Cancer Month

It's a deadly disease that kills 73% of patients within the first year of diagnosis.

Research is being done that can hopefully save many of these lives touched by Pancreatic cancer.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and we're taking a closer look so you can be always aware.

The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is just 6%. Every year thousands of people are faced with the scary reality that they have the deadly disease.

"There's between 30,000 and 40,000 cases of pancreatic cancer diagnoses each year," explained oncologist, Dr. Nick Leasure.

Last year, Danny Eastman was one of those cases. Crippling back pain was his first clue something wasn't right.

"On the 6th of November I will have survived one year, and that's a big milestone for pancreatic cancer," he said with a smile.

Danny says the first few months of treatment were difficult, chemo was hard on his body, and he was in a lot of pain.

"But I had a positive attitude, always had a positive attitude that I would survive," added Danny. "And my wife made me promise that I would give her another 10 years."

Unfortunately, there is no cure and no early detection or screening exam for pancreatic cancer.

"The majority of patients we're not able to diagnose in an early stage," said Dr. Leasure.

He says research and clinical trials are being done, and medical experts hope to increase the survival rate of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

"I think we have a lot more treatment options then we did even three or four years ago," Dr. Leasure shared. "With a lot of the emphasis on research, I think we're hopeful that there'll be major improvements in the next few years."

Danny is also hopeful technology and treatments will help his battle with the disease.

"You gotta stay positive, and you gotta want to live, and you take it one day at a time."

For more information on pancreatic cancer, visit the following sites:

http://www.pancan.org/
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/index
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/pancreatic