Jerry Springer’s family announced that the talk show host died early Thursday following a “brief illness,” that was later confirmed to be a bout with pancreatic cancer.
According to his longtime friend and religious leader, Rabbi Sandford Kopnick, Springer’s “illness was sudden.”
“He hasn’t been sick for a long time,” Kopnick said. “He died of cancer, and he didn’t have cancer for very long.”
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive and deadly form of the disease. The majority of people who contract the cancer do not live more than five years after being diagnosed, though depending on the cancer, where it was located and the treatment a person receives, people can live longer.
What is pancreatic cancer and what are some of the symptoms? Here’s what we know about the aggressive cancer.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is cancer in the tissues of the pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that releases enzymes that aid in digestion and that produces hormones that help manage your blood sugar.
The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach, it’s about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.
What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Light-colored stools
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- New diagnosis of diabetes or existing diabetes that’s becoming more difficult to control
- Blood clots
What is the prognosis?
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to discover early because by the time a person begins to experience the symptoms, the disease is usually advanced.
The prognosis for the disease is grim, particularly if it has spread. About 95% of people with pancreatic cancer die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.
Those with localized pancreatic cancer – or cancer that has not spread beyond the pancreas – have a 44% chance of surviving five years after the disease is diagnosed.
If the cancer has spread, the chance of surviving five years is 3%.