MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer last Sunday. This year, the disease also claimed the lives of Civil Rights icon John Lewis and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month shining a light on the third deadliest form of cancer.
“It has been quite a journey very humbling experience, I didn’t know anything about it before I got sick," said Kathryn Gilbert Craig. “When something is out of whack go see your doctor the best thing could be you don’t have any problems but it might not be pancreatic cancer it may be some other illness.”
Gilbert Craig is a pancreatic cancer survivor; she was diagnosed in 2012.
“When something is out of whack go see your doctor the best thing could be you don’t have any problems but it might not be pancreatic cancer it may be some other illness,” she said.
Pancreatic cancer is the third deadliest form of cancer. It’s often misdiagnosed and only 10% of people who get it live five years or longer. Symptoms can include unexpected weight loss or becoming a diabetic out of nowhere.
“People are living longer with the disease and the cure is going up," said Dr. Stephen Behrman.
Behrman has spent 30 years working on pancreatic cancer patients and research. He’s a surgeon at the Baptist Cancer Center.
Pancreatic cancer research is happening right now at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.
It’s thanks to the Kosten Foundation, a nonprofit born from the death of Alan Kosten’s brother Herb from pancreatic cancer in 2003.
Since then they’ve raised over $2 million to help fund research.
They also work to help those battling the disease.
“A support group for people that were suffering from the disease and they’re caretakers,” said Kosten.
This year The Kosten Foundation’s Kick it 5K is virtual. You can get together for a socially distanced walk or run at Shelby Farms.
Gilbert Craig beat pancreatic cancer eight years ago. She supports the kick it 5K every year -- doing what she can to stay healthy and inform people.
“I’m a survivor and that there are survivors," she said.
“Our therapies are getting better our surgeries are getting safer and the simple fact of the matter is people are living longer and the cure rate is going up,” said Behrman.
The Kosten Foundation in Memphis helping with support and research while raising pancreatic cancer awareness in the Mid-South and beyond.
If you would like to get involved in Kosten Foundation and learn more about Pancreatic Cancer support and research in Memphis and the Mid-South, visit https://www.kostenfoundation.com/.