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Berlin Named to Pancreatic Society Post

September 10, 2010 | Dagny Stuart

Jordan Berlin, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and clinical director of GI Oncology for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named incoming chair of the Medical Advisory Council for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan).

Jordan Berlin, M.D.

Jordan Berlin, M.D.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to raising awareness about pancreatic cancer, increasing research funding and providing support for patients and their families. PanCan provides direct private funding for translational cancer research and, since 2003, has funded nearly $5 million in research grants to 50 scientists around the country through career development awards and pilot grants.

“I am honored by this opportunity to play a leadership role on the Medical Advisory Council for PanCan,” said Berlin. “Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease and there is far too little public awareness and support for research funding for this form of cancer. As the U.S. population ages, more people are likely to be diagnosed with this disease and we need to find better treatment options for these patients.”

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach which produces enzymes that break down fats and proteins in foods for use by the body. Cells in the pancreas also make hormones like insulin that help balance blood sugar.

Approximately 43,140 men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 36,800 are expected to die from the disease in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society. This form of cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death overall.

Cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis and increasing age are all risk factors for pancreatic cancer.