Tri-Cities Cancer Center shines light on Pancreatic Cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Cancer Center shines light on Pancreatic Cancer

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- In the U.S., pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. About 44,030 people will be diagnosed with it and about 37,660 people will die of it this year in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates.

 But pancreatic cancer has actually been on the decline despite no big advances in treatment or early detection. A decline in smoking - one of the top risk factors for the disease - may explain the drop in cases

Steve Jobs lived more than seven years after being diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor - a less common, slower-growing and more treatable type of pancreatic cancer.

The Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick does screenings for breast, cervical, prostate and skin cancers, but there is little that can be done to detect Pancreatic Cancer.

"There's limited treatment and clinical trials may be the best option for many of the pancreatic cancer patients and as I said for their families too, to try to get into some kind of research project so we can come up with some kind of screening that will let us know ahead of time if somebody has pancreatic cancer," says Cindy Miller a registered nurse and the education coordinator at the Cancer Center.

She says less of 5% of the people they treat there are suffering from Pancreatic Cancer.