Insulinoma producing progressive neurological deterioration over 30 years.

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Insulinoma producing progressive neurological deterioration over 30 years.

Publication Date
Jul 26, 1986
  • Medicine


AFRICAN AMERICANS AND PANCREATIC CANCER: THINGS TO KNOW AFRICAN AMERICANS AND PANCREATIC CANCER: THINGS TO KNOW By the National Cancer Institute BETHESDA, MD ‐ When NFL Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, it was the first time that many Americans had heard of the disease. Like many patients with this deadly cancer, the 63‐year‐old Upshaw died a short period after his diagnosis, shocking many football fans. The news of his death also shone a spotlight on a disease that, although rare, disproportionately affects African Americans. Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in African Americans more often than in other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. And African Americans are more likely than other groups to die from the disease. The reasons for these disparities are not clear. Some researchers have noted, however, that certain risk factors are more common among African Americans than among other groups. Known risk factors for pancreatic cancer include tobacco use, long‐standing diabetes, obesity, inflammation of the pancreas, a family history of pancreatic cancer, and certain hereditary conditions. Since Upshaw’s death, other celebrities have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, including actor Patrick Swayze, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and astronaut Sally Ride. The media coverage of these cases has likely raised public awareness of pancreatic cancer in the United States, where it is the fourth most deadly cancer among both men and women, although it is only the ninth most common cancer in women and the tenth most common in men. One reason for this lethality is that early pancreatic cancer often causes no symptoms. By the time doctors detect the disease, it has usually spread beyond the pancreas. Once that happens, it is rarely curable. As a result, most patients with pancreatic cancer die within a year of diagnosis and less than 6 percent of patients survive 5 years after diagnosis. Current treatment

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