A Lewiston woman's husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven months ago; she said when they found out it was too late. Now she is hoping to raise awareness for the disease.
Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. Thirty-one-year-old Jennifer Jones said her husband's battle with pancreatic cancer has been her battle as well, and it's one they've lost.
"It's always been we, and we're dying, we're dying," said Jennifer.
Jennifer and her husband, 41-year-old Dennis Jones, have been in and out of Mercy Medical Center for the past 7 months. Dennis's cancer can no longer be treated, and Jennifer said he is now just getting treatment for the pain. She is prepared to say good-bye because it is a fight they can no longer fight.
"I accept that there's no more," said Jennifer. "His body can't win this.
Jennifer has an album of photos and memories to remember her husband, father of two and Lewiston firefighter.
Babak Rajabi, M.D., works at the Dignity Health Mercy Oncology Center in Redding. He said pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths because it is nearly impossible to detect early.
"The signs and symptoms are not apparent until the patient is advanced," said Rajabi.
Pancreatic symptoms can be vague, sometimes including abdominal or back pain, nausea or loss of appetite.
Ninety-four percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within five years of being diagnosed, a grim statistic that researchers said is not improving.
"Because being incurable it is the hardest part of our job," said Rajabi.
In 2013, Rajabi said 85 percent of patients who were diagnosed died. Chemotherapy can increase survivability, but the average life expectancy after diagnosis is less than a year.
For Jennifer, she is prepared to say goodbye to her husband of ten years and wants to honor him.
"Through this process, I'll be coming to the hospital and I will do good for others and make this be a difference," said Jennifer.
Jennifer and her family need help with funeral arrangements. If you would like to make a contribution, you can go to any North Valley Bank branch. It is set up under Dennis Jones's name.