Celebrating Black History Month While Highlighting The Increased Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer In African American Populations

As we celebrate the legacy and culture of African Americans throughout Black History Month, it is important to remember the challenges they have faced throughout history, as well as the adversity they continue to face today.

“The celebration of Black and African American history is really important to us at Project Purple,” said Project Purple marketing manager Sam DaCosta. “Pancreatic cancer may not be at the top of mind for everyone when considering Black history as a whole, but it is a very important subject as Black Americans are more likely to face pancreatic cancer than any other race and tend to have fewer positive outcomes.”


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the age-adjusted incidence rate for pancreatic cancer among Black people is 15.9 per 100,000 people, which is the highest among any race group in America. African Americans are at both a higher risk for being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in general, as well as being diagnosed with a more advanced and inoperable stage of the disease. Despite this, African Americans are less likely than any other race in the US to receive surgical evaluations and operations for these cases. 

“If you or a loved one is affected by this disease, we want you to know you are not a statistic and you are not alone,” DaCosta said. “Your outcome and personal journey do not depend upon these statistics – you are your own person with your own situation. However, for society as a whole, it’s important to understand these statistics and realize we need to do all we can to improve the situation for Black Americans and for anyone else who may be fighting.”

Project Purple is dedicated to improving outcomes for everyone facing pancreatic cancer, whether by funding research or improving individual experiences via our patient financial aid program. This program is designed to assist with medical and everyday living expenses so patients can focus on the fight. Since inception, we have paid over $650,000 in patient aid, helping more than 1,000 families. If you are battling pancreatic cancer and are in need of patient financial aid, please visit the patient aid page on our website and apply for assistance. 

While research and patient aid are critical to our mission, we also focus on sharing stories of hope and inspiration. Our weekly Project Purple Podcast often features guests who are surviving and fighting pancreatic cancer. We have had many wonderful episodes with African-American guests and would love to have more Black representation on the show to amplify your voices. If you are a survivor or fighter who would like to join us for an episode, please email

Regardless of your race, it is important to know the signs and risk factors of pancreatic cancer. Project Purple welcomes everyone to join the mission in finding a cure for the disease. For information on how you can support the cause, visit

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