World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day

Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers. Ninety-four percent will die within the first year of diagnosis but so little is talked about this awful disease. Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day and News 25’s Katarina Luketich sat down with a survivor who shares her story.
Every year, 49,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. More than 40,000 will die from the disease. Pancreatic cancer survivor Barbara Brewer said, “The first thing that went through my mind was ‘I don’t want to die’ because that’s what you think of when you think pancreatic cancer.”
For Barbara, early detection was key. Often times, pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose because main symptoms like back pain and nausea are common for many different ailments. Brewer considers herself lucky that her urine turned a dark tea color: a jarring symptom causing her to go to the doctor which would eventually lead to her diagnosis. “That was early enough to be able to have the surgery to get this very heavy duty chemo, to have the radiation and to have surgeons and doctors who believe that, as my oncologist said, we can stomp it out.”
Brewer has now been N.E.D for three years, meaning she shows no signs of pancreatic cancer. That does not mean she’s in the clear just yet. “I actually still have my port which I had the chemo infusions through. They don’t want to take that out until I’m five years past.”
Only seven percent of patients will survive more than five years. Brewer is one of just 20 percent who has survived as long as she has. “I’m not a statistic,” she said, “I’m a person and I’m going to live my life and I’m going to stay positive and I’m going to fight this evil beast.”
Since pancreatic cancer is not as well-known as many other cancers, Brewer is not only fighting the disease but she’s fighting for awareness as well.
Brewer is making it her mission to raise awareness to the devastating disease and is working to bring a Purple Stride Pancreatic Cancer Walk to the Coast.

Categories: Local News, News

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