FOX 47 - Health News
MADISON (WMSN) -- Until the late actor Patrick Swayze - pancreatic cancer awareness seemed under the radar.
It's the fourth deadliest type of cancer, mainly because there are little symptoms before diagnosis.
Recently - the FDA approved two new drugs to help treat one form of the disease.
"Pancreatic cancer in general does not have many survivors so its been a cancer without a voice," said Dr. Noelle LoConte, UW Medical Oncologist.
It's one of the few cancers where the survival rate hasn't improved in more than 30 years.
Dr. Noelle LoConte says there may be hope after the FDA approved two new drugs to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, the part of the pancreas that secretes hormones.
The first is called Sutent (sunitinib).
"That drug works by impairing the cells from growing their own blood supply its a pill and helped shrink cancer and live long. The other drug is called Afinitor (everolimus). That drug basically impairs the way the cancer cells grow and survive," said Dr. LoConte.
"It gives people that opportunity to fight," said Tammy Andries, cancer survivor.
Tammy Andries is a 5 1/2 year survivor of the disease.
After experiencing kidney stones and back pain, doctors discovered she had a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, the same size as a grapefruit.
"Surgery was the only option I had available at that time. There's at least another option, out there it gives them hope it gives them a second chance at life," said Andries.
Doctor LoConte says the other, more deadly form of pancreatic cancer, called adenocarcinoma, still has no available treatment.
"Pancreas adenocarcinoma is a much more lethal type of cancer majority of patients who are diagnosed ultimately dies of the disease even if we catch it early enough to do surgery," said Dr. LoConte.
This is why Tammy and other members of the Madison Affiliate of the National Pancreatic Cancer Action Network will head to Washington June 14th to fight for more federal funding.
"Asking congress to approve increases to the budget and by extension national cancer institutes budget it is a big priority," said Barbara Karlen, Advocacy Coordinator.
Something Tammy hopes will happen, so there will be more survival stories like hers.
"Now my kids are 12, 14 and 10 and I've been able to see some of their milestones," said Tammy.
To find out how you can get involved in the Madison Affiliate of the National Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, click here.
Sun. - Fri. on FOX 47 News at 9!
Top Health Headlines (foxnews.com)
|Study tries to give C-section babies mom's germs they missed|
Sharing bacteria in the operating room normally is a no-no but in a novel experiment, researchers are giving babies born by C-section a dose of presumably protective germs from mom's birth canal.
|Rhode Island boy with terminal cancer gets own license plate|
An 8-year-old Rhode Island boy with terminal cancer whose final wish was to become famous in China is getting his own license plate.
|Woman hits back after Facebook removes breast cancer awareness photo|
A terminally ill woman who posted a photo of her nipple to warn about lesser-known breast cancer symptoms is speaking out after Facebook removed her photo.
|Smartphone trick could change your sedentary lifestyle|
Using reminders on your smartphone to prompt you to get moving during the day could help you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting, a new study suggests.
|Autism risk linked to obesity, diabetes combination in moms|
Children born to women with obesity and diabetes may have an increased risk of autism, a new study suggests.
Tonight on FOX 47
5:00pm Two and a Half Men
5:30pm Big Bang Theory
6:00pm Modern Family
6:30pm Big Bang Theory
7:00pm New Girl
8:00pm Brooklyn Nine Nine
8:30pm The Grinder
9:00pm FOX 47 News at 9
10:00pm Modern Family
10:30pm 2 Broke Girls
11:00pm Mike & Molly
11:30pm Two and a Half Men
12:00am Mike & Molly
12:30am Dish Nation