How Celebrities Are Making Pancreatic Cancer A Thing


Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. In fact, only about 7% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive for five years after their diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important that we as a society raise awareness about this type of cancer. Because when celebrities talk about it, people listen—and that’s exactly what they’re doing right now!

Alex Trebek

You may know him as the host of Jeopardy! and $100,000 Pyramid, but Alex Trebek has been very open about his battle with pancreatic cancer. He’s inspired people who are also battling pancreatic cancer to get tested, talk about it and support research.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” is one of the most influential female singers of all time. She has won 18 Grammys, six American Music Awards, and four NAACP Image Awards. In 2010 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama for her service to music and civil rights.

In 2018 it was announced that Aretha had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and later underwent surgery to remove a tumor from her pancreas. Although no further details have been provided about her condition since then, Aretha remained active on social media until late 2019 when she posted a final farewell note to fans before going into treatment again: “I am so glad you have come along with me on my journey.”

Joan Rivers

  • Joan Rivers, who died in 2014 at age 81, was known for her edgy sense of humor and cutting remarks. She was also the first person to publicly say that she had pancreatic cancer.
  • “My husband, Edgar Rosenberg, and I have been married for 35 years now. We’ve been through a lot together… And there’s one thing that Edgar taught me: Cancer is no laughing matter.”
  • “I’m going to be fine. They can’t operate… because I don’t know if you’re aware of this but my cancer has not spread outside the pancreas yet.”
  • “Please don’t call unless it’s an emergency.” The last words Joan said on television were directed toward her daughter Melissa when she visited her in hospital after doctors told her that there was nothing more they could do for her mother.*

Patrick Swayze

Before we get into the ways celebrities are making pancreatic cancer a thing, it’s important to understand how much of an impact Patrick Swayze had on the public consciousness.

Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and died in September at the age of 57. He was a dancer and an actor who starred in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, as well as other films such as Road House and The Outsiders. He also recorded several albums under different musical genres, including country and pop rock. He was also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and won two Golden Globe Awards for his role on TV series The Beast.[1][2]

Steve Jobs

It’s a sad fact that pancreatic cancer tends to be fatal. The American Cancer Society estimates that only around 5% of patients diagnosed with the disease will reach five years after diagnosis. Steve Jobs was one of the lucky few who did, but not for long. In 2003, at age 56, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and went on medical leave from Apple later that year; he returned in 2004 and continued working until he resigned in 2011. Though he survived for several years after his diagnosis—long enough to see his company’s products reach new heights of success—Jobs passed away in 2011 at age 56 after battling another round of illnesses (including what many believed to be liver failure).

Michael Landon

  • Michael Landon was an actor and director who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1991. He died two years later, at the age of 60.
  • Known for his portrayal of Ben Cartwright on Bonanza, Landon never wanted to be known as someone who had cancer because he felt it would bring too much attention to himself. Instead, he tried to use his fame to help others understand what it’s like for someone with this disease—especially those who might not have access or resources available when they find out about their condition.
  • Most importantly: Despite being a Christian Scientist and having no formal medical training whatsoever (he received his degree from USC), Landon worked hard at raising awareness about this deadly disease and helping others through various organizations including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) program; PCAN also partnered with celebrities like Jason Alexander who helped raise funds through auctions such as “Jason’s Auction House.”

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. He died in 2007 at the age of 71, after a long battle against the disease. While he was not a celebrity by modern standards, he was considered one of the greatest opera singers of all time. Known for his powerful voice and charisma on stage, Pavarotti used his fame to advocate for pancreatic cancer awareness and research funding.

Juliette Gordon Lowe

Juliette Gordon Lowe was the founder of the Girl Scouts of America. She died at the age of 46 in 1927 after a long and successful career devoted to philanthropy, social activism, and supporting women’s rights. Her work was so influential that she became known as “The Mother of Girl Scouting.”

In addition to being an avid mountaineer who set up several camps for girls in Switzerland during her time as an ambassador for peace during World War I, Juliette also pioneered in fields like home economics (the study of how people can live comfortably) and organized one of America’s first food-service training schools.

This philanthropist was recognized by President Hoover with an award from Congress shortly before her passing; while living at Walter Reed Hospital after surgery related to pancreatic cancer, she received more than 5,000 letters from supporters around the world wishing her well on recovery. This positive outlook is probably one reason why this woman managed not only find joy in life but also make it better for others—she never stopped giving back until there were no more days left!

Walter Matthau

Walter Matthau was a famous actor who died from pancreatic cancer. He was born in New York City on September 1, 1920 and is best known for his role in The Odd Couple.

On July 1, 2000, Walter Matthau died at the age of 78 from pancreatic cancer. He had only been diagnosed with the disease three weeks before his death but had kept it secret because he did not want people to know about it until later in life when he would have more time to enjoy them before passing away.

Anthony Bourdain

>Last year, Anthony Bourdain died of apparent suicide. His death came after a long battle with depression and thoughts of suicide, which he also openly discussed on his show Parts Unknown—a show that explored the cultures and cuisines of various countries around the world. This was despite his diagnosis with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2016.

In addition to being an incredibly gifted chef, Bourdain was an outspoken advocate for cancer research and awareness. He fought hard to raise funds for organizations such as Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) through his own efforts as well as through public appearances with celebrities like Will Smith and Bill Murray who were also involved in SU2C’s fundraising efforts.

Celebrities are talking more about this deadly cancer.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, it’s pretty easy to see that the pancreatic cancer conversation is starting to hit the mainstream. Celebrities are talking more about this deadly cancer. The issue of personal health and wellness is more important than ever before, and we’re hearing from celebrities who have survived or lost loved ones to this disease.

Celebrities are bringing attention to pancreatic cancer in a way that can make a huge difference in how people understand it—which means they could encourage people who may be at risk for developing the illness to seek preventative care early on. That’s why we’re seeing so many celebrities speak out; because they know from experience what it’s like when someone close to you dies from an illness like this one.


The more we talk about pancreatic cancer, the better. It’s a deadly disease that robs too many people of their lives, and it deserves to be discussed as much as any other illness. If you need help getting started with your own discussion of this issue with friends and family members, we hope this article has given you some ideas! Remember: if someone you love is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, they need support from everyone around them—don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer advice from your own personal experiences if necessary!