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November is Pancreatic Awareness Month

The Oakes Times of Oakes, North Dakota

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Kay Opp will be walking for her late husband, Garry, in the Pancreatic Cancer Vigil & Walk being held Thursday, November 12 in Fargo. The Bev Schultz family will also be walking. Bev, Garry and Larry Wiek are three of the many that have passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Little is known about Pancreatic Cancer, and the Pancreatic Cancer Vigil & Walk was started to help raise awareness.

The pancreas sits behind the stomach, deep within the digestive system. Common symptoms include:

Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

Digestive problems including abnormal stools or vomiting

Pain in the upper abdomen which can extend to your back

Loss of appetite


Sudden weight loss

Swollen gallbladder (usually found by your doctor during a physical exam

Blood clots


Two functions of the pancreas making enzymes and hormones are possible because of two different cells. The exocrine cells produce the digestive enzymes, and endocrine cells produce the hormones. Cancer can develop in either of these cell types. About 95% of pancreatic cancer begins in the exocrine cells.

Close to 90% of pancreatic cancer is found in people age 55 and older. For an unknown reason, men are somewhat more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women. About 10% of pancreatic cancer is thought to be genetic.

Contributing factors for pancreatic cancer are thought to be: obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatic cirrhosis of the liver, (H. Pylori) infection, and smoking cigarettes affects almost a third of patients.

The Pancreatic Vigil & Walk will be held Thursday, November 12, starting at the First Lutheran Church, 619 Broadway, Fargo.

Registration and a Silent Auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. The proceeds benefit FM Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Group's Endowment for the Roger Maris Cancer Center.

The Program & Vigil honoring loved ones affected by Pancreatic Cancer starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Purple Light Walk through downtown starts at 6:50 p.m.

The walk starts at the Lutheran Church, proceeds to the railroad tracks, and then back. All proceeds raised will be used for research for a cure for pancreatic cancer.

If you would like to make a donation, please send a check to Kay Opp. She says, "We need to educate everyone on pancreatic cancer. All the money raised will go to the Roger Maris Cancer Center."

So come on out and walk for the cause. Hope to see you there. Remember to wear your purple!

After the walk, there will be hot chocolate or coffee to warm up.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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