CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (News10)-November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month with World Pancreatic Cancer Day fast approaching on November 17th. According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, more than 62-thousand Americans will be diagnosed with this type of cancer this year.

News10’s Anya Tucker spoke with Maribeth Pelletier, of Latham, New York. Maribeth was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer more than 3 and a half years ago. “You know, you look everything up and it’s like, you have six months to three years if you’re lucky. If you’re in the top 5 percent, you’ll make it three years. It is going to be 4 next March for me,” Maribeth told Anya.

For Maribeth, the first symptom was an upset stomach. “Which I’ve never had any kind of stomach issues before and I did go to the doctor and they said acid reflux.” But when the pain intensified along with fatigue, she went to the emergency room where a scan revealed a small tumor on her pancreas. With the tumor impacting her veins, surgery is not an option. So, Maribeth endures periodic chemotherapy treatments.

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or PANCAN, the 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer has gone up over the past decade. But it is still only at 11-percent. Early detection is important, but the symptoms can be very vague says Alex Rappoport of PANCAN. “An early detection method is not available. It doesn’t exist. So, one of PANCAN’s main goals is to create an early detection method,” he added.

“It’s one of the top three killing cancers, and it’s not getting enough funding to get enough research,” adds Maribeth. She told Anya that she’s been treated with two types of chemo, but if they become less effective, there are few options. The married mom and grandmother believes she is beating the odds thanks to a healthy Mediterranean, low sugar diet as well as positive energy from her family and friends. “I have too much to live, for. I have my kids, my grandson. I now have a granddaughter that’s due next March.” She told Anya that she is sharing her story with the hope that pancreatic cancer will one day be just as survivable as other cancers that were once seen as terminal. “People need to have that hope. And try and not to just hear the diagnosis and ‘OK I’m done’. You’re not. Because everyone is different.”

For PANCAN call: 877-272-6226 or click on:

American Cancer Society :

Mayo Clinic: