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Downtown buildings, Niagara Falls to be lit purple tonight to raise pancreatic cancer awareness

Several buildings and landmarks in the region will be illuminated in purple Thursday night to mark World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

Big Ditch Brewery, Buffalo General Medical Center, Buffalo Place (Main Place Mall), M&T Bank and One Canalside will be bathed in purple to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, as well as encourage support for those with the disease, as well as their loved ones.

Niagara Falls will be lighted nightly in purple throughout the month of November for the same purpose.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and is expected to become the second cause within two years. It has a five-year survival rate of just 9 percent.

Lynne Jakubowski, of Clarence, who lost a husband and brother to the disease, launched the Western New York Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network last year to bolster those efforts in the region. PanCAN (pancan.org) bolsters research and provides support for patients and families. To learn more, email ljakubowski@pancanvolunteer.org.

Pancreatic cancer develops deep in the abdominal cavity and is challenging to detect early. Its symptoms –  pain in the back or abdomen, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea and recent-onset diabetes – can be typical of many conditions. All of this helps explain why an estimated 55,440 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year and an estimated 44,330 will die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.

Research are working to identify biomarkers for early detection, according to the cancer society, including using family histories, developing drugs that target specific gene mutations and harness the immune system to fight pancreatic cancer.

Fighting back after losing a husband and brother to pancreatic cancer

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