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Impacted by pancreatic cancer twice, NE family takes part in study

Posted at 3:49 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 20:16:11-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Researchers at Nebraska Medicine and UNMC are focused on studying pancreatic cancer to hopefully develop screening tests for the largely incurable disease.

They are currently still accepting people to take part.

Learn more about he study and eligibility criteria, here.

If you have any further questions or would like to take part, here is the contact information at Nebraska Medicine: christina.hoy@unmc.edu

Kiley Taylor gets her blood drawn every six months as part of the study. She lost her mom to pancreatic cancer and recently, her dad was diagnosed. His case was caught early, and he's eligible for surgery thanks to an astute primary care physician and attentive family members.

"I wouldn't have went if it hadn't been for my daughter. She kept hounding me, you're losing too much weight," Lester Shaw said about his daughter, Kiley.

The doctor noticed that he seemed to develop diabetes rapidly and yet he was losing weight instead of gaining weight which is not normal in cases of Type 2 Diabetes. The doctor ordered a CAT scan and found the pancreatic cancer.

"We know that about 70 percent of people who get a diagnosis or pancreas cancer have some degree of diabetes," said Dr. Kelsey Klute, a medical oncologist at Nebraska Medicine.

She said when the diabetes is caused by pancreatic cancer it often presents itself differently, like it did with Lester.

Often times pancreatic cancer doesn't reveal symptoms in a person until it's too late. But if doctors can pinpoint specific people to screen, they're hopeful they can catch more cases.

"If you could identify people with new onset diabetes who have diabetes possibly because of pancreas cancer, if you have a good screening test, that's probably the biggest opportunity to find this cancer," Dr. Klute said.

She invites others to take part in research at UNMC. Health Centers all over the country are compiling data, too, to hopefully learn more about this disease.

Kiley lost her mom to the disease, she's hopeful her father will have a better outcome. She urges people to advocate for their own health and healthcare. Kiley, like Dr. Klute, hope doctors and people will take note of diabetes results even if the research is still ongoing. It may prove lifesaving for Lester.