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ThuNov 21

World Pancreatic Cancer Day – November 21, 2024

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is on the third Thursday of November every year — this year, it falls on November 21, and we’re here to show you how to observe this day. It has been almost 10 years since this day was observed for the first time to raise awareness that pancreatic cancer is one of the toughest cancers. This day allows communities to come together to raise awareness and support the people battling pancreatic cancer.

History of World Pancreatic Cancer Day

In 1761, Giovanni Battista Morgagni, an Italian anatomist, published his greatest work ever, the “De Sedibus et causis morborum per anatomen indagatis,” which translates to “The Seats and Causes of Diseases Investigated by Anatomy.” It included new courses on medicines and anatomic science. This work of Giovanni included the description of pancreatic cancer, but since a microscopic evaluation was not possible in those times, the diagnosis was uncertain. 

In 1858, Jacob Mendez Da Costa, an American physician, studied Giovanni’s work, conducted the first microscopic evaluation of adenocarcinoma (later named pancreatic cancer), and identified it as a true disease. In 1898, Alessandro Codivilla, an Italian surgeon, operated on a tumor in the pancreas; however, the patient did not survive. William Stewart Halsted from Johns Hopkins Hospital did the first successful resection of cancer.

Since the 1960s, pancreatic cancer survival rates have been stagnant, and pancreatic cancer is considered the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. World Pancreatic Cancer Day was initiated so people could come together and help spread the word about pancreatic cancer and raise awareness on its prevention and treatment. Six continents, 30 countries, and many health organizations have joined hands to encourage awareness of risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of pancreatic cancer as a mission to save more lives.


World Pancreatic Cancer Day timeline

Pancreatic Cancer Detected

Giovanni Battista Morgagni discovers pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Identified as a Disease

Jacob Mendez Da Costa diagnoses pancreatic cancer.

Death Rates Increase

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is created to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer and help people affected by it.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day FAQs

What does the purple ribbon symbolize?

The purple ribbon is the internationally accepted symbol of World Pancreatic Cancer Day. On this day, people usually attach a purple ribbon to their outfits to support people battling pancreatic cancer.

What are some of the causes of pancreatic cancer?

Smoking, diabetes, and inflammation of the pancreas are some of the causes of pancreatic cancer. Also, having a history of pancreatic cancer in the family can increase the chances of getting pancreatic cancer.

Did Charlotte Rae survive pancreatic cancer?

Yes. Very few people survive pancreatic cancer, but Charlotte Rae is one of them. She was well-known for her roles in “Different Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.”

How To Observe World Pancreatic Cancer Day

  1. Organize an event

    One of the best ways to observe this day is to spread awareness about this disease as much as possible. You can organize an event in your community center to give out information on symptoms and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

  2. Wear purple

    As a sign or symbol of support to the people fighting or who lost their lives to pancreatic cancer, wear purple. You can also color your office rooms and have purple decorations.

  3. Donate and support

    There are millions of people affected by pancreatic cancer who need financial support. Donate as much as you can and encourage your friends and family to donate to this cause and help make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.

5 Facts About Pancreatic Cancer

  1. It has the highest mortality rate

    Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers.

  2. Early detection is not possible

    One of the reasons pancreatic cancer has such a high mortality rate is that there are no tools available to detect it early.

  3. The symptoms are subtle

    The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include weight loss, loss of appetite, and nausea.

  4. There are two types

    The two types of pancreatic cancer are neuroendocrine and exocrine, based on the type of cell they start in.

  5. Most of it is exocrine

    More than 90% of pancreatic cancer cases are pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) that develop in the pancreas’ exocrine tissue.

Why World Pancreatic Cancer Day is Important

  1. Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of death

    Pancreatic cancer is said to be the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. This day calls for joining hands and coming together to fight this disease that takes millions of lives every year.

  2. Cancer patients need support

    Battling cancer takes a huge toll on your body and mind, and apart from this, it takes a huge hit on your savings. Cancer patients often struggle to pay their medical expenses, which adds to the tragedy. This day is a reminder to help and support our friends who are going through a difficult time.

  3. Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate

    Of all the types of cancer, pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate, as early detection of this type of cancer is often impossible. While the survival rates of patients with other types of cancer have gone up, the survival rates of pancreatic cancer have not. Many have lost their lives to this disease, and World Pancreatic Cancer Day is a homage to these brave fighters.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day dates

2022November 17Thursday
2023November 16Thursday
2024November 21Thursday
2025November 20Thursday
2026November 19Thursday

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