exterior shot of cancer center
UH Cancer Center

In the U.S., more than 60,000 adults will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and an estimated 48,220 of them will die from the disease. Learn more about surgery and personalized treatment for pancreatic cancer on Thursday, July 29, 5–6 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center’s Quest for a Cure Starlight Lecture Series. The free Zoom event will feature local physicians and cancer center experts, Linda Wong and Jared Acoba. Register online.

Linda Wong headshot
Linda Wong

The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen that plays a crucial role in the conversion of food into fuel for our bodies. There are currently no specific screening tests that can find early-stage pancreatic cancer in people who have no symptoms. Therefore, it is often diagnosed during later stages. Fifty-two percent of people are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, when the five-year survival rate is 3%.

“Pancreatic cancer is increasing in incidence, very possibly due to its lack of any screening tests. It’s important to learn about pancreatic cancer and its signs and symptoms, so you will be more inclined to seek medical attention sooner than later, providing a better chance of early diagnosis and increased survival,” said host and moderator Jonathan Cho, UH Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office medical director. “One should also note that pancreatic cancer can be hereditary, so everyone should do their best to familiarize themselves with their family’s cancer history.”

Jared Acoba headshot
Jared Acoba

Wong is an associate researcher of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology program and the director of the liver transplant program at The Queen’s Medical Center. Wong will discuss complications of pancreatic surgery and the differences between curative and palliative surgeries for pancreatic cancer.

Acoba is also an associate researcher of the UH Center’s Cancer Biology program, a core clinical member of translational and clinical research and an associate professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Acoba will present the rationale for various treatments, including more recent biomarker-driven therapy for pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which often appear at later stages, can be caused by many other conditions. Symptoms include yellowing of the eyes and skin, also known as jaundice, abdominal or back pain, weight loss and poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, gallbladder or liver enlargement, blood clots and diabetes. Although these signs are not always an indication of cancer, symptomatic individuals should still seek medical attention.

The pancreatic cancer educational event is the last of a four-part lecture series being held at the UH Cancer Center. Previous topics have included diet and body composition, brain cancer, and cancer and diabetes.