LONG BEACH, Calif. – November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Nearly 57,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019.
Dawnie Campbell found out she had stage two pancreatic cancer just before Christmas last year. Thankfully doctors were able to operate on her tumor, which isn’t an option for many pancreatic cancer patients because detection is difficult. To prevent the tumor from growing back, she had to undergo rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
Her treatments have changed a lot, even the way she drinks water. After chemo, each cup has a spoonful of baking soda to help with mouth sores.
The cancer has been emotionally and physically exhausting, but Campbell refuses to succumb to her diagnosis.
“With pancreatic cancer, the survival rate is so low, only 9 percent, and how I’m so fortunate to be in that 9 percent but I know it can come back” Campbell said. “So I try not to think too far in advance. I just try to focus on now and today and creating great memories and surround myself around the people that I love and the things that I love to do. And I’m not going to let cancer stop me from doing those things.”
Things like enjoying an afternoon outside with her dog and husband Scott, who has cared for her every day. Cancer can be hard on the caregivers, as well.
“Things are finally starting to look up a little bit, but at the beginning when she was diagnosed, some of the worst days of my life,” Scott said. “How do you listen to your partner be diagnosed with such a horrible cancer? It was very, very very tough. Still is very, very very tough.”
They are getting through it together. Scott gave her her first haircut, and was there on her last day of chemo. He, her children, and the rest of her village have given her tremendous support.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network offers free resources to pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers. For more information on pancreatic cancer, visit PANCAN website here.
This cancer has been in the spotlight recently as Jeopardy co-host Alex Trebek battles the illness.