Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center Breaks Ground With New Early Detection Program for Pancreatic Cancer

MILWAUKEE, July 21 /PRNewswire/ — Historically a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer has been a virtual death sentence. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Each year approximately 33,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 32,000 will die from the disease. There are very few early detection methods for this killer, but Joseph Geenen, M.D., and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center are now providing a ground breaking new early detection program in Wisconsin.

“Due to the late onset of symptoms, often pancreatic cancer goes undetected until it’s too late,” said Dr. Geenen. “Due to the genetic nature of this particular kind of cancer, it’s important for those with a family history to be screened. This is the first time we have been able to offer an early detection option in Wisconsin.”

The Familial Pancreatic Cancer Initiative, a protocol similar to the one developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, is one of the first available in the United States. To help kick off this new program, well-known actress and Milwaukee native Charlotte Rae will be screened by Dr. Geenen July 21 at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. Rae is best known for her roll as Edna Garrett on television’s Diff’rent Strokes and Facts of Life.

Rae is championing early screening for pancreatic cancer. The disease claimed the lives of her mother and sister, thus making Rae a prime candidate to be screened by the Familial Pancreatic Cancer Initiative.

“Working with Aurora, I am pleased to be offering pancreatic cancer screenings for the first time in Wisconsin,” Dr. Geenen said. “We know that early detection is a major key for treating all types of cancer. It is my hope that with early detection, we can elevate the survival rate and give our patients a fighting chance to be a pancreatic cancer survivor.”

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

For more information on this program, please contact Adam Beeson at (414) 649-3915.

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Source: Aurora Health Care