UPDATE: Alex Trebek died November 8, 2020, much more than a year after he to be diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He to be 80.

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In in march 2019, “Jeopardy” game show host Alex Trebek announced he had actually stage 4 pancreatic cancer– the same condition that killed Aretha Franklin. In May, Trebek claimed he to be in near remission, v his an answer to treatment labeled a miracle.

But we urge caution in see this news together a “remission.” complete responses to chemotherapy are rare when treating pancreatic cancer, and also unfortunately usually short-lived. Despite Trebek"s confident report, it is an important to have actually a realistic check out of typical outcomes.

Vague Symptoms make Detection Difficult

Pancreatic cancer is rare, yet it has a high fatality rate. Back the condition only accounts because that 3 percent of all cancers in the united States, the is responsible because that 7 percent that cancer deaths.

What renders pancreatic cancer so dangerous is the it is daunting to detect till the an illness has spread. The pancreas sit deep in the body, behind the abdomen. Tiny tumors can"t be uncovered during program physicals, and also currently, there are no screening tests, prefer there room for breast or colon cancers. Civilization may have vague complaints, such as abdominal muscle pain, weight loss or generalised weakness, however this varies, and the discomfort is regularly attributed to other physical ailments.

We know that smoking causes lung cancer, however we don"t yet understand what boosts the risk of arising pancreatic cancer. A family background of pancreatic cancer is one indicator, yet even discovering this, that is an overwhelming to monitor or shot to protect against the advance of the disease.

Unfortunately, it"s once the disease has grown, v tumors that reason complications in the pancreas, or once cells have actually migrated to various other organs, that doctors can make a diagnosis. At that point, as with Trebek, the an illness is advanced. Indications of advanced pancreatic cancer encompass jaundice, because of a tumor impede the bile duct, or progressive liver failure, due to cancer cells entering the liver native the pancreas.

What Pancreatic Cancer Treatment deserve to Provide

When dealing with pancreatic cancer, oncologists emphasis on tumor removal, when possible, linked with chemotherapy and radiation. But, also when the tumor doesn"t appear to have actually gone past the

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pancreas and imaging shows no evidence of disease, cancer may still have actually spread in ~ a microscope level. As soon as cancer has actually spread to various other organs, for most people who have stage 4 pancreatic cancer, cures room not possible.

Although the present long-term survival rate for pancreatic cancer is grim, exception exist. Because that those patients with an illness that have the right to be removed, recognized as “resectable,” the mean survival is about three years. One in 4 such civilization will survive to five years, in ~ which allude we usually suppose that these lucky few will not die of pancreatic cancer. If this is true for patients v adenocarcinoma the the kidneys (95% of cases), patients v neuroendocrine tumors the the pancreas might experience much much longer survival and also cures.

The prognosis because that pancreatic cancer is challenging, however research is constantly evolving. The ideal treatment outcomes are found at hospitals v multidisciplinary groups that focus on treating and also managing this disease. These centers have medical, surgical and also radiation oncologists that can combine their field of expertise to build a strategy.

Another step patients v pancreatic cancer deserve to take is to participate in clinical trials. This research study is designed to help people live longer and accomplish breakthroughs in treatment.

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We great Alex Trebek all the ideal as he continues his cancer treatment. At the exact same time, we urge caution in declaring an early victory over this fatal disease.