Pancreatic cancer affects the rich and the poor alike. Know more about the celebrities who helped turn a much-needed spotlight on pancreatic cancer.
Cancer is a great equalizer – it does not matter whether you are rich and famous or poor and ordinary, cancer affects everyone alike. Pancreatic cancer is one of the hundreds of types of cancer. Often detected in its later stages, pancreatic cancer tends to be fatal. Over the years, many celebrities from different walks of life have been diagnosed with this particular cancer. Unfortunately, most of them have succumbed to this illness, often after a prolonged battle with it. Their diagnoses have forced the spotlight on pancreatic cancer, and served to raise awareness about this killing disease.
Owing to the fact that pancreatic cancer is a rare condition with a decidedly high mortality rate, the research funding for finding a cure for this disease is severely low. In the last few decades, the more common types of cancer have shown an improvement in their 5-year survival rates because of better treatment-related research results. However, this has not been the case with pancreatic cancer.
In 2015, 75-year old Sir John Hurt, an eminent British actor best-known for his distinguishing performances in The Elephant Man, the Harry Potter films, and The Naked Civil Servant, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While he is optimistic about his prognosis and chemotherapy results, many other celebrities have not been as lucky.
Perhaps the most famous face of pancreatic cancer and the man who can be credited with driving the spotlight to the disease is Steve Jobs. Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic endocrine cancer in 2004. This rare form of pancreatic cancer is known to affect a few more than 2,500 Americans every year. After battling the disease for eight years, Jobs finally succumbed to his condition in October 2011.
Actor Patrick Swayze, best-known for his stellar heart-throb performance in the movie Dirty Dancing, battled cancer for a year after his diagnosis in 2008. From the time of his diagnosis in March 2008 till he lost to pancreatic cancer in September 2009, Swayze was a part of an experimental drug treatment regimen. The drug used to treat him is known as vatalanib which inhibits the enzyme activity believed to promote cancer growth and proliferation. The drug has yet to be approved for treatment of pancreatic cancer, and Swayze was a part of one of the clinical trials. His diagnosis came a little too late as the cancer had already progressed to stage IV and spread to his liver as well. He continued his work through the excruciating pain till 2009.
One of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Oscar-winning actress, Joan Crawford was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the late 1970s. While battling the condition, the onscreen legend suffered a massive heart attack in 1977 while she was in her apartment in New York. In her last will and testament, Crawford bequeathed substantial sums of money to her favorite charities including the American Cancer Society.
Discover top tips for a healthy body and mind with our weekly wellbeing newsletter.
Join our mailing list today.