Ochsner Announces Endowed Pancreatic Cancer Fund

Added on Dec 06, 2007 | Filed Under:

David Stone Memorial Endowed by the Larry Reynolds Fund

NEW ORLEANS -Pancreatic cancer is one of the most serious cancers affecting over 33,000 U.S. residents each year. As researchers are still learning about this deadly disease, Ochsner Medical Center is proud to announce the David Stone Memorial for Pancreatic Cancer at Ochsner. Endowed by the Larry Reynolds Fund, at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, for $250,000, this gift will allow Ochsner to continue research toward pancreatic cancer and biliary disorder as well as public education.

"Ochsner is indebted to the many donors whose philanthropy will enable us to provide quality medical care for the Gulf South and potentially life-saving treatments for those suffering with pancreatic cancer and biliary disorders", says Bob Etemad, Ochsner Chairman of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Medical Director of Hospital and Outpatient Endscopy.

"For years, little was known about pancreatic cancer," says Etemad. "But researchers are beginning to understand the genetic basis of the disease - knowledge that may eventually lead to new and better treatments." This fund will allow Ochsner to begin to build a program that includes cutting-edge medical equipment, treatment, and educational opportunities.

"The pancreas is a large organ that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach, which secretes enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates," explains Dr. Etemad. "Once cancer cells grow in the pancreas, they spread rapidly and the disease is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it's a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until the disease is quite advanced."

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Pancreatic cancer can lead to jaundice due to high bilirubin levels.
  • Itching. Severe itching occurs when high levels of bile acids accumulate in your skin. 
  • Nausea and vomiting. Tumors can block a portion of the digestive tract causing nausea and vomiting. 
  • Digestive problems. This cancer prevents pancreatic enzymes from being released into the intestine, resulting in difficulty digesting food, especially those high in fat.

Etemad goes on to say that, "you can reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer with lifestyle changes." He recommends:

  • Quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains carcinogens that can damage DNA that regulates cell growth. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for pancreatic cancer. 
  • Exercise regularly. Getting a moderate amount of exercise every week can cut your risk of pancreatic cancer. 
  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in animal fat can reduce your risk of cancer.

Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education.  The system includes seven hospitals, a sub-acute facility, and 33 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana.  Through our unique coordinated system, Ochsner provides healthcare with peace of mind because we put the needs of all patients first.  Ochsner employs over 600 physicians in 80 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 700 ongoing clinical research trials annually.  Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in July 2007.

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