DETROIT — Henry Ford Health System says a $20 million gift will help launch a center to develop new methods to detect pancreatic cancer earlier.

The Detroit-based health system announced Monday that the gift for the Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center is from an individual donor who requested anonymity. It will help establish partnerships between Henry Ford Health System and leading organizations .

The health system’s President and CEO Wright Lassiter III says in a statement it’s “a crucial step in advancing pancreatic cancer research with the goal of increasing survivorship for patients diagnosed with this terrible disease.”

Health system officials note that many people with pancreatic cancer don’t experience symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.