Alex Trebek would like everyone to learn more about pancreatic cancer. The 79-year-old was first diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in March.
While he’s continuing to battle the illness, he took some time out to raise awareness by appearing in a PSA.
The PSA is in partnership with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition to announce the upcoming World Pancreatic Cancer Day, on November 21. Alex notes that pancreatic cancer has a single-digit, five-year survival rate (2% to 9%) in most countries. He joins 80 organizations from 30 countries to raise awareness of the illness and its symptoms. The WPCC notes that the reason for the low survival rate is because so many people are unaware of the symptoms.
They are also often confused with other, less serious problems and thus receive diagnoses later than with other cancers. Each day, more than 1,284 people worldwide die from the disease.
“I wished I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer,” Alex says. Other common symptoms he mentions are “mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss … and the yellowing of the skin or eyes.”
While there is still no screening for pancreatic cancer, the organization encourages you to mention the illness to your doctor if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms consistently. He notes that “patients diagnosed at an earlier stage when surgery is an option are more likely to live five years and beyond.”
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