Medical Breakthroughs: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Medical Breakthroughs


November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s one of the deadliest cancers with only a 9 percent of patients surviving 5 years.

News 10 takes a look at what doctors are doing to innovate new ways to detect this cancer early.

David Frey was just 58 years old when he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

It only took eight months for the cancer to take him.

“When you’re diagnosed with this, you’re told to cry,” Said David’s wife, Peggy. “He made me promise him not to cry in front of him. I kept my promise.”

Peggy Frey is now raising awareness on the deadly disease known as a silent killer.

It’s the third leading cause of cancer death and shows virtually no warning signs until it’s too late.

“The day we were told it was pancreatic cancer, I called the physicians, surgeons, the heart doctor asking, ‘What did y’all miss?’ Nothing showed up in his blood work,” she said.

“It’s hard because of where it sits. When it’s causing pain you’ll get mild discomfort in the stomach, nausea, they might come in with yellow skin or yellow eyes,” said Dr. Philippe Prouet, hematology oncologist at Lafayette General Medical Center.

Prouet says most of the time doctors don’t catch pancreatic cancer until its stage four and spread to other areas of the body.

It’s very difficult to detect the cancer in its early stages when it’s still possible to surgically remove the tumor, he said.

“There’s definitely an increase in research. we want to figure out ways to make this disease not as deadly as it is. Immunotherapy is a big buzzword these days. we are trying to figure out how to use immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer.

For Peggy, she says she is learning to live life on her own while always continuing to honor and remember her husband’s memory.

“Pancreatic cancer, one day you may be healthy and the next day you may not be. you may be fighting the fight of your life,” said Frey. “And he fought. He fought hard.”

There are some risk factors for pancreatic cancer, which includes smoking, those with a family history of pancreatic cancer, alcohol use and diabetes

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