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Dr. Scot Ackerman Joins WJXT and Speaks on Pancreatic Cancer

Ackerman Cancer Center

May 3, 2023

Late last week, talk show host and former Cincinnati mayor, Jerry Springer, passed away from his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Scot Ackerman joined WJXT live on Sunday morning to discuss the signs, symptoms, and treatment methods for pancreatic cancer as it relates to Jerry Springer’s passing.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most silent types of cancer and is rarely detected during its most curable stages. Often, pancreatic cancer shows very minimal symptoms or no symptoms at all. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 64,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 55,000 people will pass away from it in 2023.

Risk factors to consider regarding pancreatic cancer include:

  • Tobacco use- the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is twice as high for individuals who smoke regularly
  • Obesity- obese individuals are 20% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer
  • Diabetes- individuals with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk
  • Age- the average age at the time of diagnosis is 70
  • Gender- men are slightly more likely to be diagnosed than women
  • Race- black individuals are more likely to be diagnosed than caucasian individuals
  • Inherited Genetic Syndromes- BRCA1 and BRCA2, Lynch syndrome, Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma syndrome (FAMM)

Signs & symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:

  • Jaundice- yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, light or greasy stools, itchy skin
  • Stomach or back pain
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Gallbladder or liver enlargement

Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and treat due to its lack of symptoms. It is often detected at later stages when the cancer has spread to other organs. However, if detected early enough, there are instances where treatment is effective. These treatment methods include:

  • Surgery- Surgery is currently the gold standard of treatment, however, is only effective if the entire pancreas can be removed, as studies have shown that removing part of the pancreas will not increase survival rates.
  • Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy is given to patients prior to surgery to help shrink tumors to make them resectable and is also given after surgery to help prevent cancer from returning.
  • Radiation Therapy: Proton Therapy is given in addition to chemotherapy, prior to and/or after surgery
    • Proton Therapy treats pancreatic cancer with a heavy dose of radiation that targets the pancreas and avoids damage to other structures near the pancreas like the liver, stomach, or kidneys.


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