Take Action Against Pancreatic Cancer

Posted Thursday, May 24, 2018

Did You Know? Pancreatic Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

Smoking is Responsible for 20-30% of Pancreatic Cancers

Over 53,000 People are Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer Each Year

The pancreas is a gland responsible for producing enzymes that help with digestion, as well as producing the hormones used to regulate blood sugar. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine cancers. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), or islet cell tumors, are less common but typically have a better prognosis.

Please read the following summary to understand the risks, symptoms and treatment options for pancreatic cancer.

01 | Know Your Risk

No one understands the underlying causes of pancreatic cancer. And although the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk:

  • Smoking: According to a study from the European Journal of Cancer, smoking can increase your likeliness of cancer by 20%.
  • Diabetes: pancreatic cancer is more likely to develop in people with long-standing diabetes.
  • Obesity: there is a 20% higher incidence of pancreatic cancer in those who are overweight.
  • Race: Pancreatic cancer affects African Americans at a higher rate than other races.
  • Gender: Men are at a slightly higher risk to be affected by pancreatic cancer than women.

02 | Signs and Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer may cause only vague and unexplained symptoms. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice, including dark urine, light-colored or greasy stools and itchy skin
  • Belly or back pain
  • Weight loss and poor appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gallbladder or liver enlargement
  • Blood clots
  • Fatty tissue abnormalities
  • Diabetes

03 | Treatment Options

Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the patient’s general health and the disease stage. Staging is the process doctors use to describe the cancer’s size and location.

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Ablation or embolization
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy and other drugs

While there is no regular screening for pancreatic cancer, it is important to discuss with patients if there is an increased risk. 

To learn more about pancreatic cancer, including early detection, diagnosis and staging, please visit: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer.html

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