November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center experts are available to discuss this often fatal illness, risk factors, treatments and advances in research. Pancreatic cancer accounts for only 3 percent of all cancers but is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, by the end of the year, 49,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and an estimated 41,000 will die from the disease.
Surgeon Horacio Asbun, M.D., from Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville campus and specializes in pancreatic and abdominal surgery, says pancreatic cancer is very challenging to treat. Due in part to its vague symptoms, pancreatic cancer is seldom diagnosed in the early stages. And with its proximity to other organs, cancer cells often spread quickly — including to the liver, gallbladder and intestines. "Surgery is the only chance for cure, but typically only about 20 percent of all patients are candidates, as often the disease has spread to other organs by the time it is diagnosed," he says. Those eligible for surgery usually undergo a Whipple procedure.
JOURNALISTS: Sound bites with Dr. Asbun are available in the downloads.
For interviews with Dr. Asbun (in English or Spanish), please contact Cynthia Weiss in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at email@example.com or 507-284-5005.