RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Doctors say pancreatic cancer is on the rise and unfortunately, it’s a disease that isn’t easy to spot.
It wasn’t the news many people wanted to hear.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this year I was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer,” Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek said in a video posted to social media.
The longtime Jeopardy host vowed to be transparent and honest with his millions of fans. After learning the news, many people on Facebook and Twitter flooded Trebek with prayers.
“It’s much less common than colon cancer or breast cancer but it’s way more deadly,” VCU Pancreas Center Director Brian Kaplan said.
Kaplan said it’s a tricky disease.
“Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is one that presents itself very late,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said there are signs to look for.
“Unexpected weight lost or abdominal pains are other warning signs for pancreas cancer,” Kaplan said.
He also said you should also look out for the yellowing of the skin.
Many celebrities have battled the disease, including Aretha Franklin, Patrick Swayze and more.
“Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer but we aren’t sure what type he had, so there’s a big spectrum of the disease,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said it generally affects men more than woman, but ultimately does not discriminate and recommends you know your family history and see a genetics counselor if it runs in your family.
“We are constantly looking at new therapeutic regiments to treat the disease,” Kaplan said.
In Richmond, experts are working to find new ways of treatment.
“What we are doing at Massey is giving the chemo and the radiation first to allow the shrinkage of the tumor and sterilization of the error to make the surgery more effect,” Kaplan said.