Former Republic of Ireland soccer star Liam Miller is one of more than 500 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the country this year.
The former Manchester United, Celtic, and Cork City midfielder, who grew up in Ovens, Co Cork, moved to the US in 2016 to play with Wilmington Hammerheads but recently returned to Cork for treatment.
The Irish Cancer Society marked World Pancreatic Cancer Day yesterday by calling for greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Cancer support manager at the Irish Cancer Society, Joan Kelly, said this year’s World Pancreatic Cancer Day is particularly poignant with Miller now battling the disease.
“We wish him the very best in his treatment,” said Ms Kelly. “Sadly, Liam is one of more than 500 people in the country that will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year.”
It is now estimated that around 565 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year.
The disease is often diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective, mainly due to a lack of awareness of its signs and symptoms.
The risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer are vague, one of the reasons why the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage.
Ms Kelly said fantastic work is being done in the national centres for treating the disease — St Vincent’s and Cork University Hospital — but that more needs to be done to increase survival rates.
“Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers with just four in five people dying within a year of diagnosis,” she said.
Research commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society and undertaken by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland found that one in three people with pancreatic cancer (34%) first presented with the disease in a hospital emergency department, compared with 15%, or three in every 20 for other cancers, and 58% were at a late stage.
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