Thursday, November 13, 2014

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

November 13, 2014

Today marks the first annual World Pancreatic Cancer Day.  Pancreatic Cancer is the seventh biggest cancer killer in the world, yet many people do not know about this particular cancer.  The initiative is lead by an international group of patient organizations, including Pancreatic Cancer Action.

The survival rate of patients with pancreatic cancer is between three and six percent.  Currently, over 80% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed too late which results to a terminal diagnosis.  Most patients die between four to six months after their diagnosis.  The point of today is to create awareness and understanding about this disease.  Knowing more about this cancer will allow the general public, medical community, and government entities to invest interest and money into curing this disease.  The only potential for a cure at this time is to diagnose the cancer in time for surgery.  

A list of the first noticeable symptoms from the Pancreatic Cancer Action organization.
This disease is very close to the hearts of staff and volunteers at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum and the crew members of the submarine USS Razorback (SS-394).  Allen Shane Foraker was a crew member of Razorback and an active member in the USS Razorback Association.  In March of 2013, Shane was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer; after an 11-month battle he passed away at 71 years old on February 17, 2014.

Shane served in the United States Navy starting in the early 1960's.  He qualified into the submarine service while aboard Razorback.  Shane progressed to the rank of Commander in the early 1970's and finally retired from the Navy in 1989.  

Shane and Ron at the 2013 Razorback work party.
In April of 2013, Shane was able to attend the annual Razorback work party.  During that week he slept on the submarine and worked on the number 1 engine.  At the end of the week Shane was present when the engine started for the first time since 2001.  The video below is of the engine start courtesy of Jim Gates.

Shane was survived by his wife of 50 years, their three children, seven grandchildren, and other extended family members, as well as many crew members from his submarine service.

Shane guiding his granddaughters through the submarine.
The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum would like to remember Shane today.  We hope that an annual day dedicated to pancreatic cancer will bring awareness to the disease and help find a way for treatment and a cure for those patients fighting the good fight.

Author: Allison Hiblong


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