This Living Local segment is sponsored by The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. For UAB’s Dr. Bart Rose, this month highlights his life’s work and passion for studying and treating pancreatic cancer.
“If any message comes from this, I want people to know that there is hope. This is not a death sentence. There is hope, there is help, and we are happy to help provide it,” said Rose.
While in medical school, Rose was drawn to studying the pancreas because it is a technically challenging organ for surgeons. In 2017, he joined UAB and became the Director of The Pancreatobiliary Disease Center, where he researches the best ways to treat pancreatic cancer.
“When people use the word pancreas cancer, they’re often talking about a very aggressive type called adenocarcinoma. My focus in the lab is on another type of cancer. Something called neuroendocrine tumors,” Rose said.
Rose’s work looks at how to treat and target certain cancerous tumors within the pancreas.
“Most recently, we have been focusing on the difference between the tumors in our black patients and our white patients. What we are finding is that they may actually be genetically different, and therefore may be behaving differently, and they may have different treatment approaches in the future. It’s not a one-size-fits-all that we thought of forever,” said Rose.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, UAB Medicine can provide a level of care that is hard to match.
“We have expertise in surgery; we have expertise on the chemotherapy side, medical oncologists, radiation, geneticists, dietitians, radiologists, interventional radiologists, and gastroenterologists who make the diagnosis. So we can review every single patient with pancreas cancer that comes through here, not just by one physician, but by the entire group so that we can come up with a plan that everybody agrees on and we think it’s best for this patient,” Rose said.
Rose tells us that pancreatic cancer has had about a 9% cure rate for decades. However, in the last few years, we’ve gone up to an 11% cure rate. Still, pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
“And really, to make a significant impact on that, there needs to be a lot more research. We need to have our government and private agencies invest in pancreas cancer research like they have in other cancers,” said Rose.
For more information on the research and treatment plans Rose and the doctors at UAB use for pancreatic cancer patients, visit uabmedicine.org/cancer.