November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Nancy Naeve Brown asked Oncologist Dr. Mark Huber at the Avera Cancer Institute to explain why 75% of patients with this type of cancer die within a year of being diagnosed and what are the red flags.
Oncologist Dr. Mark Huber with Avera Medical Group Hematology and Oncology says, "Well with pancreas cancer if you turn yellow that's typically what you see, if you turn yellow. You don't have any pain initially if that happens though don't ignore it. You should be seen right away. Certainly when that happens the pancreas cancer can be caught early enough to have it taken out with surgery.
Q: From what I've read this is one of the deadliest cancers, why is that?
A: Pancreas cancer is definitely one of the most deadly cancers generally because it's spread before its detected and grows moderately fast. It's not like breast cancer where you can do a mammogram or physical exam. There is no simple way to catch these. CT scans don't even catch it when they're real small and real early.
Q: That makes me nervous. What can we do to prevent getting it?
A: The main thing is don't smoke. That is the only easily correctable thing. Alcohol abuse isn't quite as highly associated with it, but may a suggestion of alcohol. Not smoking is the only thing you can do really."