October 28, 2010

Symposium to focus on pancreatic cancer

Symposium to focus on pancreatic cancer

Vanderbilt cancer experts are coordinating with pancreatic cancer awareness groups throughout November to shine a spotlight on this devastating disease.

Nov. 4-7, Tennessee's state Capitol will be lit with a purple glow as part of the “Paint Nashville Purple” event launched by a support organization called Linda's Hope. Vanderbilt physicians who treat pancreatic cancer will be on hand Nov. 4 for the lighting ceremony designed to call attention to pancreatic cancer.

The pancreas is a glandular organ located in the abdomen that produces several hormones, including insulin, as well as digestive enzymes. This year, approximately 43,140 people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease and 36,800 will die, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest death rates of any major cancer and yet receives very little research funding,” said Jordan Berlin, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and clinical director of gastrointestinal oncology. “Since most pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed after age 65, we are anticipating a surge in cases as our population ages.

“Organizations such as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) and Linda's Hope are helping us focus more of our energy on finding effective treatments for this disease,” Berlin said.

On Monday, Nov. 15, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), in partnership with PANCAN, will present a free educational seminar. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m., in VICC's Preston Research Building, Room 898J.

Speakers include Dana Backlund, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Laura Williams Goff, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine at VICC.

The educational seminar at VICC is designed for pancreatic cancer patients and survivors, family members, friends and caregivers.

Participants can learn more about treatment approaches, clinical trials and side effect management.

To register, call the PANCAN National Headquarters at (877) 272-6226 or e-mail symposium@pancan.org.