ROCHESTER, NY (WROC)- Thursday is world Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day. A Greece man who was recently diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer is sharing his story in an effort to bring awareness to the third leading cause of cancer deaths.
Rick Schiffhauer is receiving treatment for stage four pancreatic cancer, a disease the Rochester native says changed his life.
“I cried. You know I talked to my family…You can never put your mind around how isolating it is and lonely cause you’re dealing with your mindset 24-7,” Schiffhauer said.
The father of 5 was diagnosed in October. At 57 years old, he is considered young for the diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, behind lung cancer and colon cancer. It is hard to detect, but linked to dietary and lifestyle choices, as well as family history.
“Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Early Screening and taking precautions, dietary precautions,” said Schiffhauer.
Pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of just 9-percent. The Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western New York estimates that 57,000 people will be diagnosed by the end of the year, and leaders are trying to expand routine screening for the disease, as well as education about symptoms.
“There are no routine consistent annual screening methods for detecting pancreatic cancer,” said Mary Ellen Smith, the Executive Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Association of WNY. “The sooner it can be found like every other cancer the better your survival rates are. We try to at least educate people that know the risks factors in your particular situation and your family history know the symptoms.”
Schiffhauer says he is confident that he will recover and he is dedicating time to fundraising for research for pancreatic cancer through his business.
“Try to come up with a cure and better medications for people to live longer. So that’s what I’ve now dedicated my life to… to this research and helping other people that are going to deal with this inflection,” said Schiffhauer.
The Pancreatic Cancer Association of WNY has many virtual events that you can get involved with to help the research.