The uphill battle to survive pancreatic cancer
DENHAM SPRINGS - November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society predicts more than 46,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and less than 7,000 will survive. 2une In's Rebecca Buchanan caught up with Shara Rusk, a Denham Springs woman living with the deadly disease.
"They call it the silent killer for reason, because you just don't know," Rusk says. "I thought I pulled a muscle in my back, and I figured the pain would go away."
After a couple weeks, she went to the doctor and got the news: Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Doctors told her it couldn't be removed. Patients usually have no symptoms until the cancer has already spread to other organs, but some signs include yellowing of the skin, back pain and weight loss.
"Normally when you find out you have pancreatic cancer and it's in Stage 4, it's too late," she explains. "There's only 6% of us that live past the five year mark and 1 in 5 that live past the year."
Shara was given three months to live without treatment, or up to a year with it. She decided the harsh chemo treatment was worth the extra time with her family.
Watch the video to see Rusk's emotional inside-look at her battle with pancreatic cancer.