Michael Landon's Daughter Raises Awareness About Pancreatic Cancer & Testing In New PSA

The actor passed away from the disease in 1991, just three months after he was diagnosed.

Actress Jen Landon is raising awareness about pancreatic cancer in honor of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

The 38-year-old “Yellowstone” star — whose father, “Little House on the Prairie” actor Michael Landon, died from the disease in 1991 — teamed up with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) for their Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month campaign, which encourages patients and their first-degree relatives — a parent, child or sibling — to start a discussion about testing.

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As a PanCAN ambassador, Landon discussed the new campaign in a PSA.

“30 years ago my father Michael Landon passed away from pancreatic cancer just three months after his diagnosis,” she says in the video. “November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and this month PanCAN is talking about the importance of testing for patients and their families.”

She continued, “So contact PanCAN Patient Services to learn three simple steps that can save your life: Talk, test and take control. You will make a world of difference.”

Per a press release, while speaking to PanCAN on set, Landon said, “When I started having my own health issues and knowing my own family history with the disease, I decided it was important to me to take control of my health and get tested to understand my own personal risk.”

She also shared that when her father was diagnosed, he was only given one month to live. He ended up living three months after his diagnosis. Michael passed away at the age of 54 in 1991, when his daughter was only seven years old.

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As noted in the PanCAN press release, in the past, a person was considered to be at an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer if two or more family members are diagnosed, with genetic testing then being recommended. But the most recent guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) show that understanding one’s genetic risk “may be important” after just one first-degree family member is affected.

According to PanCAN, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 10%. The organization also noted that over 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed and an estimated 48,000 will die from the disease this year. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States and an early detection strategy is “critical” for increasing survival rates.

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Several celebrities and political figures have died from pancreatic cancer, including Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin and Patrick Swayze.

Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of beloved “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek, who passed away in November 2020 at the age of 80 after battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer for a year and a half.

Last year also brought the death of liberal and feminist icon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from the disease, which was only the last of her many battles with cancer throughout her lifetime.

Most recently, in September, “Sex and the City” actor Willie Garson passed away following his own private battle.

For more resources about pancreatic cancer or about PanCAN’s campaign for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, visit pancan.org.

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