November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cancer killer in the country, with over 37,000 new cases expected and more than 34,000 deaths by year’s end. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 1,000 deaths are expected this year due to the disease. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is making experts available to discuss the risks and treatment and prevention options surrounding pancreatic cancer during this National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The pancreas is a six-inch long, pear-shaped gland (located in the abdomen), which helps make enzymes for food digestion. The lifetime risk for developing pancreatic cancer is one in 76 for both men and women, with African American men having a slightly higher risk. There is only a five-percent, five-year survival rate. According to the ACS, three in ten cases are thought to be caused by smoking. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, weight loss and abdominal pain.

CINJ experts available for comment include:

David A. August, M.D., is the chief of the division of surgical oncology at CINJ and professor of surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. August is also the director of CINJ’s Gastrointestinal/Hepatobiliary Oncology Program, which is a multidisciplinary clinical and scientific program that provides comprehensive services to patients with pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions involving the pancreas and other gastrointestinal organs. He can discuss the importance of patients having a comprehensive evaluation under one roof with a close collaboration of multiple specialists including surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other experts.

Elizabeth Poplin, M.D., is a medical oncologist at CINJ and associate professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Poplin has expertise in the management of pancreatic cancer including standard and novel treatment options, including a new immune therapy trial, which is anticipated to launch in the near future.

Tamir Ben-Menachem, M.D., is a gastroenterologist at CINJ and director of endoscopy and associate professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who has an interest in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Ben-Menachem can discuss his research in advances for early detection of pancreatic cancer, which is thought to be the best way to improve survival from the disease. In addition, he can discuss noninvasive treatment advances, including that of injecting treatment medication directly into the pancreas tumor.

Source: Cancer Institute of New Jersey

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