The Hard Cold Truth About Pancreatic Cancer Came To Light With The Deaths Of Two Beloved Actors
I was motivated to know more about Patrick Swazyes death after I heard he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was most impacted in 1991 by Michael Landons death of the same type of cancer. This bothered me. I thought how unfair and what a loss to all that admired their work and the person. I thought at the time Michael Landons cancer was an isolated, unfortunate rare occurrence. Then the news of Patrick Swazyes pancreatic cancer story came and went some 18 years later. He too was someone I admired like many of you. This left me to ponder Is pancreatic cancer or cancer in general on the rise? Is it a geographical thing? After all, both of these actors lived in Southern California. Is there any way to prevent, or remove this cancer from the body once it takes hold? Neither one lived long after diagnosis, especially Michael Landon.
I had so many unanswered questions in my head. I wanted to know more about these men I admired and cause of their abrupt and untimely deaths. Could they have done anything different to change their outcome? First, lets look at these two individuals to see if we can determine some commonalities with regard to this insidious cancer.
Can we can draw common “risky” lifestyle choice conclusions in answering questions with regard to these celebrity deaths? And can we prevent this form of cancer from impacting and possibly taking our lives, or a loved one?
What Did Michael Landon Die Of And When
Beloved TV star Michael Landon died of pancreatic cancer when he was just 54 years old in July 1991.
What was the cause of Michael Landons death?
July 1, 2021 marks 30 years since the beloved actor, writer and director Michael Landon best known for playing Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza, Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie and Jonathan Smith on Highway to Heaven, among other famous roles died of pancreatic cancer.
What was Michael Landons symptoms?
Although he said he felt terrific, Landon said he is having trouble digesting food. He said the original symptoms of the disease were severe cramping when he ate. He said his wife, Cindy, is feeding him health food and papaya juice. Hes got a little weight loss, but he looks great, Flynn said of Landon.
How long did Michael Landon live after his diagnosis?
He was bigger than life. Landon, who had 9 children, went public with his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in April 1991. It took his life within three months.
What was Michael Landons last words?
Actor Michael Landon, best known for Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, died of cancer in 1991. His family gathered around his bed, and his son said it was time to move on. Landon said, Youre right.Its time.
Steve Jobs The Visionary Co
New Delhi: Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc., which revolutionised technology, died at age 56 of complications from pancreatic cancer on this day in 2011. Patrick Swayze, Alan Rickman, and Michael Landon are just a few of the late celebrities who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that begins in the organ lying behind the lower part of the stomach – the pancreas. This disease is seldom detected in its early stages, and thats why it is often referred to as a silent cancer.
Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly to nearby organs, making it one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Whats even scarier about this fatal disease is that the survival rate of people suffering from pancreatic cancer is lower than any other cancer. It is said that 93% of pancreatic cancer patients do not survive beyond five years. Read: Cancer rates increasing in India: Five must-know prevention tips
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Michael Landon Had A Grueling Work Schedule
In her book, Bright Lights, Prairie Dust, co-star Karen Grassle described what it was like to work on the set of Little House on the Prairie. She said Landon worked very hard and had a tough schedule. According to Grassle, Landon didnt have much of a break between directing shows, acting, and attending meetings. Pacing himself was not an option, wrote Grassle.
Grassle says Landon seemed to work on fumes until one day his body couldnt take much more of his work schedule. Landon had to be admitted to the hospital during the first season because he developed spinal meningitis. Little House on the Prairie Season 1 Episode 12 had to be re-written, and Landon missed the episode.
Why Did Lorne Greene Leave Bonanza
According to the 1973 book Marilyn Becks Hollywood, when Pernell Roberts told Lorne Greene he was leaving the series because he wanted to challenge himself as an actor, Greene told him to stick to it, because he would be so rich by the end of the run he could hire Tennessee Williams himself to write a play for him.
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Signs Of Pancreatic Cancer
The pancreas is a small gland in the abdomen, only six inches long, with a flattened pear shape. The liver, gallbladder, spleen, stomach, and small intestine surround the pancreas, which assists in digestion and the regulation of the blood sugar. In rare instances just 56,000 cases annually in the U.S. this little organ can develop cancer. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can treat pancreatic cancer, and as with all serious illness, catching it early improves the prognosis.
Advances In Treating Pancreatic Cancer
When pancreatic cancer patients have large tumors, improved chemotherapy can often shrink the growths substantially before surgery. So, surgeons are better able to better remove the malignancy, improving the patients odds of survival.
If a person being treated for pancreatic cancer is not responding to chemotherapy, fine needle biopsies can now be used to collect enough material from the cancer to find a better treatment. Genetic sequences from the sampled malignancy are searched to see if a different available medication would potentially be an effective treatment for the cancer.
Researchers are also studying whether combining drugs already used to successfully treat other diseases might be effective weapons in treating pancreatic cancer.
A case in point: A team of scientists headed by Martin McMahon, PhD, a cancer researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute and professor of dermatology at the University of Utah, has found mixing two medicines typically used to treat malaria and melanoma may effectively treat pancreatic malignancies that have specific mutations. His findings, published in Nature Medicine, show the therapeutic approach has promise for patients with pancreatic cancer.
The researchers, part of the Pancreatic Cancer Collective, an initiative of the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and Stand Up To Cancer, are now studying the best way to deliver the potential treatment to pancreatic cancer patients.
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How Did Ben Cartwright Get Rich
He embarked on a career as a merchant, opening a store in Boston. His first wife Elizabeth Stoddard died in 1829 giving birth to their son Adam. Captain Stoddard later found a position as Captain of a ship owned by the Collins of Collinsport Maine, one which his son carried on, but Ben had had enough of the sea life.
Why Is Pancreatic Cancer So Deadly Looking For New Answers
Medical Oncologist/Hematologist,Whittingham Cancer Center,Norwalk Hospital, Connecticut,Director of Clinical Cancer Research for Western Connecticut Health NetworkConsultant in Gastrointestinal Oncology,Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Pancreatic cancer has the potential to become the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States by 2020, but it is already wreaking havoc on the lives of thousands today. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2019, an estimated 56,770 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and an estimated 45,750 people will die of the disease.1
A recent high-profile diagnosis that has drawn international attention is that of Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, who announced in early May 2019 that he had stage IV pancreatic cancer . Trebek is the latest in a long line of celebrities who have faced this type of cancer, including Patrick Swayze, Michael Landon, and Dizzy Gillespie, all of whom died of metastatic pancreatic cancer within a few months to years after diagnosis .
Although Trebek recently shared the good news that his tumors were shrinking with treatment, the reality surrounding pancreatic cancer is often grim.
Obviously, the key to successfully fighting pancreatic cancer is diagnosing it as early as possible, but how to do this is not so obvious.
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Facing Cancer Michael Landon Talks About Life And Death
MALIBU, Calif. _ Facing inoperable cancer, Michael Landon plans to fight like hell to stay alive but isnt afraid to die, the actor said in a magazine interview to be published Monday.
The 54-year-old star of Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven was diagnosed in April with cancer of the pancreas and liver.
Since then, Landon has been spending his time on the Malibu ranch where he lives with his third wife, Cindy, 34. The father of nine has been undergoing an experimental therapy that pits drug-dispensing bubbles of fat against the tumor in his pancreas.
Only 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients and 5 percent of liver cancer patients survive more than five years after diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Societys Cancer Facts & Figures – 1991.
The actor talked about cancer, his troubled childhood and his hopes for the future in the June edition of Life magazine. Here are some excerpts:
On being diagnosed with inoperable cancer:
Im not the kind of person who gives up without a fight. If Im gonna die, deaths gonna have to do a lot of fighting to get me.
I want to see my kids grow up. I want to play baseball with Sean . I want to know if Jennifer turns out to be as good an actress as I think she will be. I want to watch Chris, my 16-year-old, become a man. I love my wife, Cindy, very much and I dont want to leave her.
On his personal treatment regimen, which concentrates on diet and vitamins rather than traditional chemotherapy:
The Challenge Of Early Diagnosis: Vague Symptoms
There is no single red flag that alerts patients and/or their doctors to the possibility that someone has pancreatic cancer. Typically, patients who will eventually be diagnosed with this cancer first head to the doctor for vague abdominal pain. Because this is such a general and not specific symptom, doctors appropriately believe that the patient is dealing with something common, such as an ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, or gallbladder problems. The doctor then often recommends treatments that include dietary changes, the use of an antacid, or even an endoscopy, but they dont immediately test for pancreatic cancer.
Only after the patient derives no relief and visits the doctor multiple times over the course of several months, is a CT scan ordered. By that time, the symptoms may have progressed to include jaundice, back pain, and weight loss, which means that the cancer is already in the later stages and may have spread to other parts of the body.
For the patient who is eventually being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the months that were spent ruling out other diagnoses could mean the difference between life and death.
It is not realistic, or even medically sound, to expect that doctors will approach every patient who complains of abdominal symptoms as if they may have pancreatic cancer.
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Michael Landons Daughter Says He Ignored His Symptoms
When my dad didnt feel good if something didnt feel right he tended to ignore it, hoping that it would go away, said his daughter Leslie Landon Matthews during a People magazine interview. He was a busy man burning the candle at both ends. I think his own health got put on the back burner.
According to Matthews, Landons son, Chris, also had a cancer scare. Matthews says her fathers experience made her family members proactive about their health. Chris learned he had a cancerous tumor on his kidney after going for a routine medical checkup. His doctor suggested having a scan to follow up on findings of high liver enzymes. The scan revealed a 2.5 cm tumor.
Matthews says everything turned out well, and Chris didnt need to have chemotherapy or radiation. She says she and her family members try their best to keep on top of their health.
Because we knew how my dad was with his own health, we kids do the opposite, she tells People. Were like, Something doesnt seem right, lets look into it. Information is power and it allows you to make choices about your health when you know what youre dealing with. Fear tends to paralyze people.
Does A Person Know When They Are Dying
But there is no certainty as to when or how it will happen. A conscious dying person can know if they are on the verge of dying. Some feel immense pain for hours before dying, while others die in seconds. This awareness of approaching death is most pronounced in people with terminal conditions such as cancer.
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Michael Landons Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
During his final interview with Life magazine, Landon spoke about the symptoms he had before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He said one of his symptoms was stomach pains. He told the publication he thought he might have a colon blockage or an ulcer. However, a CAT scan revealed a large tumor on his pancreas. His doctor told him he had pancreatic cancer, and it spread to his liver.
Another thing he noticed was that he wasnt as hungry as usual, and he had a feeling of fulness he wasnt accustomed to. Landon said he had a huge appetite, but his symptoms were mild, so he didnt pay much attention.
After the diagnosis, Landon said he couldnt act as if his condition wasnt serious. He knew he didnt have much longer to live. So, I cant pretend Ive got a hangnail, said Landon. Pancreatic cancer is almost always fatal, and when you go, you usually go fast. Landon died just three months after his diagnosis.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms Treatment: Ucsf Oncologist Reflects On Amid Alex Trebek’s Diagnosis
For 35 years, Alex Trebek has been at the helm of Jeopardy, hosting a record 8,000 episodes. On Wednesday, the television host announced that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
SAN FRANCISCO — For 35 years, Alex Trebek has been at the helm of Jeopardy, hosting a record 8,000 episodes. On Wednesday, the television host announced that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” said Trebek in an announcement posted on social media. “I’m going to keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends, and with your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
“I like the balance that he struck between being hopeful and having sort of a strong spirit, but realistic at the same time, sort of recognizing that stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the likelihood of an actual cure is really very, very remote,” said Dr. Andrew Ko, who is the division chief of hematology/oncology at UCSF and a pancreatic cancer specialist.
Dr. Ko is not treating the 78-year-old television icon but says the disease, which has taken the lives of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, actors Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon, and recently singer, Aretha Franklin, is affecting more Americans.
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Weight Loss And Gastrointestinal Problems
People with pancreatic cancer may have little to no appetite. This is because the tumor triggers the release of inflammatory substances that alter the perception of hunger in the brain. This can lead to unintended weight loss, commonly experienced in people with advanced pancreatic cancer.
A tumor in the pancreas can also press on the nearby stomach and intestines, leading to indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. These can further contribute to the loss of appetite and weight loss.
Investigating The Likelihood Of Michael Landons Cancer Being Caused By A Nuclear Reactor
This cancer epidemic has prompted a number of studies on the area. PEOPLE spoke to a forensic pathologist named Dr. Michael Hunter who claimed that studies show was responsible for up to 2,000 cancer-related deaths and lead to a 60% increase in cancers such as lung, bladder, kidney, liver, blood, lymph node, upper digestive track and thyroid.
However, Dr. Hunter also told PEOPLE that despite Little Houses proximity to the site, he doesnt believe that is what caused Landons cancer theres simply not enough science behind the claim. When Landons cancer was discovered in 1991, it had already traveled to his liver. The actor was treated with chemotherapy, but the treatments had a very slim chance of working. Even today, the 5-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer that has spread to distant areas of the body is around 3%, according to the American Cancer Society.
It is the solid tumor cancer that has the worst prognosis, Dr. Allyson Ocean, a Medical Oncologist at Weill Cornell Medical Center, told SurvivorNet about pancreatic cancer today. It is right now the third leading cause of cancer death, soon to be the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Mortality is rising because it is caught so late and we dont have enough effective medications against the cancer.
The episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours of that investigates Landons death will air Sunday at 8 p.m. on Reelz.
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