Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of all major cancers.
The disease is at its deadliest in the later stages, and it's one of the hardest cancers to detect before it's too late. Doctor Dan Kollmorgen is a surgeon at the Iowa Clinic who works with pancreatic cancer patients. "[They] don't have very specific symptoms. There's not something that's an early sign of pancreatic cancer all the time. Often times it's diagnosed late and we there's no really good screening test to identify it early like you would do with a mammogram or colonoscopy", he said.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation. The five-year survival rate is 10%.
This year, it's estimated that more than 57,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States, and it will claim roughly 47,000 lives, according to information provided by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Beth Day is a member of the network and celebrates six years free of the disease. With all of the different, odd ways pancreatic cancer can present itself, she said it's important to pay attention to your body. "It's just learning and being aware of your body and taking charge. And not to say the medical professionals can't find it but the pancreas and pancreatic cancer, there is no test. There's no blood test. There's no urine test. When you are diagnosed with it, you already have it."
You're at risk of pancreatic cancer if you smoke, are obese, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or have diabetes. Warning signs can be vague and include digestive issues, jaundice, and back-pain.
For more information visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. There you'll find the most concise and accurate information about pancreatic cancer and information on how to contact the support network for help.