World Pancreatic Cancer Day

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:53 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As World Pancreatic Cancer Day falls during a time and with the coronavirus pandemic changing the way many of us go to the doctor, early detection could be delayed.

With the recent deaths of Congressman John Lewis, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and game show legend Alex Trebek to the disease, talk of the illness’ low survival rate and few treatment options leave many searching for answers.

OSF Healthcare Surgical Oncologist Dr. Eileen O’Halloran says the cancer’s vague symptoms, like stomach pain, make it even tougher to catch early.

“We have a significant disadvantage when it comes to pancreatic cancer because it’s not that common. When we see other cancers that are more common in the population, we can look at thousands and thousands of people who have had different treatment regimens and see clearly one is better than the other, and with pancreatic cancer, that’s difficult to do because it’s just not that common of a disease,” said Dr. O’Halloran.

Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths, behind colon and lung cancer, with a five-year survival rate of just 10 percent.

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