(RxWiki News) Stage, screen and television actor Ben Gazarra, has died of pancreatic cancer, an illness he had been battling for some time. He was 81.
Gazarra is best known for his big screen roles in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Anatomy of a Murder" and "The Big Lebowski."
He also appeared in the television series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and was the lead in the 1960s series “Run for Your Life.”
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of all malignancies. It often starts silently, giving no warning of its menacing ways.
The pancreas is both an organ and a gland. Its key roles are to secrete enzymes that help break down food. As a gland, it's best known for producing the hormone insulin which controls blood sugar.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 43,920 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed this year, and 37,390 Americans will die from it.
Gazarra is the latest star to succumb to the disease. He follows: Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Luciano Pavarotti, Michael Landon and Joan Crawford.
While pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, the prognosis after diagnosis is not good. Most people aren't alive two years after learning they have it.