John Lewis, U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon

John Lewis, U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), a leading patient advocacy organization dedicated to fighting the world’s toughest cancer, joins the country in mourning the passing of civil rights icon John Lewis to stage IV pancreatic cancer. The civil rights icon was a giant in American history and faced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis with the same courage he’s shown throughout his life. The long-time congressman from Georgia announced his diagnosis on Dec. 30, 2019.

Pancreatic cancer is the world’s toughest cancer with an overall five-year survival rate of just 10 percent. It is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., underscoring the urgent need for new treatment options and research discoveries in this space. There is no early detection test for pancreatic cancer and few effective treatments are available.

Because it may cause only vague symptoms that could indicate many different conditions within the abdomen or gastrointestinal tract, the majority of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at a late stage when tumors are inoperable and the cancer has spread. Symptoms include pain (usually abdominal or back pain), weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool and recent-onset diabetes.

Additionally, the location of the pancreas deep in the abdominal cavity is a factor hindering early detection of pancreatic cancer.

Since its founding in 1999, the PanCAN has taken a comprehensive approach to attack the world’s toughest cancer on all fronts – including research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy – in order to improve patient outcomes and increase overall survival.

PanCAN’s Patient Services is the place to contact when facing pancreatic cancer. We provide in-depth, and personalized resources and information on the disease. Patients can contact our Patient Central today by calling 877-2-PANCAN (877-272-6226) M – F, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT or emailing patientcentral@pancan.org.