The public learned of the dancer/actor's illness just last year. He thought he would beat it, but no. Born in Houston, Texas, he was probably best known for his role in "Dirty Dancing," a film that developed a sort of cult following. But he had several well-known films to his credit. The film and entertainment community, and his many fans, mourn the death of a talented - and genuinely nice guy, a rarity in Hollywood.
Why is pancreatic cancer so deadly? It is expected to claim more than 35,000 Americans this year, and has only about a 4% survival rate.
Pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis, even when diagnosed early. Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it's a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until pancreatic cancer is quite advanced and surgical removal isn't possible. Mayo Clinic
Smoking and obesity have been associated with this form of cancer; Swayze had been a smoker. It also occurs more often in older adults; he was only 57.
For more information:
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
National Cancer Institute: Pancreatic Cancer
Help us build our book of knowledge on this deadly form of cancer.
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