Sex And The City Star Willie Garson's Cause Of Death Explained

Actor Willie Garson has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57, according to The New York Times. The cheeky and dimpled smirk Garson displayed through many of his memorable characters won audiences over. Before he became Carrie Bradshaw's best friend on "Sex and the City" as the iconic and witty Stanford Blatch, the actor made a slew of appearances on the shows including, "Twin Peaks," "Friends," "The X-Files," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and more.

The actor's recent passing was made public by his son, Nathan Garson, on Instagram. "I love you so much papa," he wrote. Adding, "Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much. I'm so proud of you. I will always love you, but I think it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You'll always be with me."

The cast and crew knew he was sick

The announcement of Garson's passing came as a surprise to the masses, as his cancer diagnosis wasn't made public before his death. In addition, he was in full work mode acting as Stanford Blatch on the "Sex and the City" spin-off, "And Just Like That," at the time of his death. According to the show's executive producer, Michael Patrick King, those on set knew he was sick, The Guardian reported. 

"The Sex and the City family has lost one of its own. Our amazing Willie Garson," King told The Guardian. "His spirit and his dedication to his craft was present every day filming And Just Like That. He was there — giving us his all — even while he was sick. His multitude of gifts as an actor and person will be missed by everyone. In this sad, dark moment we are comforted by our memory of his joy and light."

The details over how long the actor battled pancreatic cancer are unclear, though People reported that it was a "short illness."

Pancreatic cancer makes up 3% of all cancer forms

Garson wasn't alone in his diagnosis. According to Cancer.Net, an estimated 60,430 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021. This specific type accounts for 3% of all forms of cancers, and the general 5-year survival rate is only 10%. However, patients who have recently been diagnosed shouldn't rely on this statistic. They will most likely get a more accurate estimate of survival when their medical team is able to determine their stage of cancer.

As stated by the Mayo Clinic, pancreatic cancer is often deadly because it can go undetected. The disease doesn't reveal any symptoms until it has progressed and spread to other organs. If you are unsure of where your pancreas is or what it does, you are not alone. The pancreas is located in the digestive system. Its jobs are to release enzymes that help with the digestion process and produce hormones that help with your blood sugar regulation.

Look out for yellow eyes and unexplained weight loss

Signs of underlying health issues can be easy to notice, but it's not always simple to determine their cause. The National Health Service notes the symptoms to look out for with pancreatic cancer are yellow eyes, long bouts of diarrhea, and feeling feverish and or shaky. Perhaps one of the most common symptoms attributed to this disease is sudden and unexplained weight loss.

"Pancreatic cancer is notorious for signaling weight loss," said Dr. Mary Mulcahy, a professor of hematology and oncology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The tumor cell secretes a cell-signaling protein — cachexin — that causes profound weight loss. It's not isolated to pancreatic cancer but this type of cancer is notorious for that."

If you have any of these symptoms, don't panic. Make an appointment with your doctor so you can get a full examination. If your doctor suspects pancreatic cancer, he or she might ask for a blood and urine sample and examine your stomach. You may also be referred to a specialist for further testing.

There are ways to lower your risk of getting pancreatic cancer

Like with most cancers, it's hard to pinpoint exactly why some individuals are more susceptible to the disease than others. The Mayo Clinic states that you could be at a higher risk for developing this type of cancer if you are a smoker, have diabetes, have a family history of pancreatic cancer, or if you are obese. Your age could also be a factor, as most patients diagnosed with this disease are over 65.

Treatment for this type of cancer depends on how far it has progressed, and what your medical team feels is best. The kind of treatment Garson was receiving has not been revealed. Cancer.Net notes that treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, target therapy, and immune therapy. "Only 20% are diagnosed early enough to be able to have an operation," Dr. Mulcahy told Northwestern University. "And of those who have an operation, only 30% are cured of the disease."

Willie Garson reminded us all to be kind to each other

Cancer.Net states that pancreatic cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women and the tenth most common cancer in men. It is unknown if Garson knew whether he would succumb to the disease. However, the last message Garson wrote on his Twitter shows he continued to try and inspire others to be better and more understanding individuals. "BE KIND TO EACH OTHER......ALWAYS. LOVE TO ALL. APRROACH KINDNESS," he tweeted.

Overall, the actor appeared in more than 300 television episodes and more than 70 films during his long and successful career, according to The New York Times. Garson may have lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, but his beloved characters are cemented in history. They will stick around for us to view whenever we start to miss the beloved actor's cheeky and dimpled smirk, whether it be on "Sex and the City" or "Twin Peaks."