Cancer

Joining together to fight pancreatic cancer

The PurpleStride team

Pancreatic cancer is the twelfth most common cancer in the U.S., but it’s the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Nearly 49,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by the end of 2015.

Pancreatic cancer is aggressive – it grows and spreads rapidly. Early stage pancreatic cancer often has no symptoms; by the time symptoms arise, the cancer has already progressed. It’s a cancer that historically has had a bleak prognosis.

But researchers are continuously working to improve pancreatic cancer outcomes. We are learning to not only investigate new drugs, but also to understand how to use older drugs in a more effective manner. Each small step adds up to huge benefits in the long run.

That’s why we support PurpleStride Dallas-Fort Worth. The annual 5K run and family-friendly walk is held to raise awareness and understanding about pancreatic cancer. It also raises funds for advancing research and supporting patients and their families as they work through diagnosis and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer symptoms

The pancreas plays an important role in the body. It’s an organ about 6 inches long located deep in the belly, surrounded by the liver, stomach, intestine, spleen, and gallbladder. The pancreas makes pancreatic enzymes which help break down food.

The pancreas also makes insulin and other hormones. These hormones enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, helping the body use or store the energy that comes from food.

Early stage pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms. When the cancer grows larger, symptoms may include:

  • Yellowed skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Pale stools or stools that float in the toilet
  • Persistent pain in the upper belly or middle of the back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • New onset diabetes
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

People with persistent symptoms should tell their doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer at detection, and may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation. We also offer a variety of clinical trials for pancreatic cancer patients.

Join us at PurpleStride Dallas-Fort Worth 2015

PurpleStride Dallas-Fort Worth 2015 is a 5K run and family-friendly walk that will be held Nov. 8, 2015 at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. The 5K run/walk course is stroller- and wheelchair-friendly, and you can register in person the morning of the event.

Here’s a rundown of the morning’s schedule:

  • Registration opens at 6:30 a.m.
  • Opening ceremonies begin at 7:30 a.m.
  • Run/walk begins at 8:00 a.m.

Join me and the UT Southwestern team at PurpleStride Dallas-Fort Worth 2015. Together, we can raise awareness and hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? Learn more about the disease in this Cancer Answer Line blog.