The 78 year-old iconic game show host has revealed last week that he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, vowing to “fight this” deadly malignancy.
However, in an interview with Business Insider, he admitted to having a Milky Way and diet soda for breakfast every day, “A Diet Coke or a Diet Pepsi or a Diet Dr. Pepper,” especially on taping days.
A Stage 4 is given to cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Each year over 55,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, whose 5-year survival rate is 5%. Older individuals who are healthy can do as well as those who are younger when diagnosed with advanced stage of the disease. However some sources cite the median survival time is between 2 and 6 months if the cancer is diagnosed at a late stage.
What are the risk factors for pancreatic cancer?
Known risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
- Older individuals
- Male (though women are affected as well)
- Alcohol use
- Chronic pancreatitis
- African-American descent
- Ashkenazi Jewish descent
- High fat diet
- Hepatitis B
- H. pylori infection
- BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations
Artificial sweeteners have been linked to diabetes and diabetes is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Their relationship to pancreatic cancer, however, still remains controversial.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.