By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The fight against pancreatic cancer comes to Philadelphia this weekend, with thousands of people joining the battle at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park.  November is Pancreatic cancer awareness month.

Joe LaRose is all about giving back, after being diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer last year.  Now he’s helping set up for the PurpleStride Philadelphia walk/run to fight the cancer that almost took his life. Joe says, “I had to be here, had to help for the research, had to help for the money, had to help to get the strength in people here.”  Joe thought he had acid reflux,  that’s the problem Pancreatic cancer, why it’s called a silent killer – the symptoms can be subtle.

“It has a high mortality rate,” says Dr. Charles Yoe,  the Department of Surgery Chair at Jefferson University Hospital.  He says new surgical techniques,  along with advances in the lab are improving survival rates. Most promising he says are experimental drugs and a better understanding of the molecules that control cancer growth and destruction.

“We have a lot of excitement in the field,  guarded enthusiasm in the field,” says Dr. Yeo.

David Silverstone came to Philadelphia from Los Angles, so he could be operated on by Dr. Yeo, who is a pioneer in the field.  David says, “They were able to get 100 percent of the mass, I’m cancer free and couldn’t be more grateful and thankful.”  He says the original death sentence that came with the diagnosis has been reversed.

Joe says he’s one of the lucky ones too.  But they know the future, more survivors,  depends on raising money for research  which is what PurpleStride is all about.

Proceeds from the walk run Saturday November 1st go to  the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that’s mission is to advance research, support patients and create hope.

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Stephanie Stahl