5 Things You Need To Know About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, with only 7% of patients surviving for five years after diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important that people who are at risk for this disease take steps to reduce their risk before it gets out of control. I’ve put together a list of five things everyone should know about pancreatic cancer:
We have a long way to go.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States and it’s often diagnosed at a late stage. About half of all patients with pancreatic cancer are dead within five years after diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer doesn’t always have symptoms when it starts, so many people aren’t aware that they have it until it’s already advanced and hard to treat. If you’re over 40 years old, it’s important to get your doctor-recommended screening tests for early detection (like blood work or an endoscopy) once a year.
Family history matters.
Your family history is very important in determining your risk of pancreatic cancer. This can include:
- A family history of pancreatic cancer
- A family history of diabetes
- A family history of pancreatitis
- A family history of pancreatic cysts
- A family history of gallstones or gallbladder disease (cholelithiasis)
If you have a parent or sibling who has any of these conditions, your risk may be increased. The same is true if you have more than one close relative with one or more of these conditions, as they are likely to be inherited.
Changes in diet and lifestyle are important.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Stay physically active.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products, and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than two per day for men and one per day for women (a standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounce of 80-proof distilled spirits).
There are several forms of pancreatic cancer, each with its own treatment needs.
Pancreatic cancer is a very serious disease, and there are many different types. Each type of pancreatic cancer has its own treatment needs, so it’s important to know what kind you have.
If the doctor thinks that you might have pancreatic cancer, he or she may order a PET scan to look for tumors in your body. A PET scan uses radioactive sugar (a tracer) to make cancer cells glow. Doctors can then see where the tracer glows most brightly on the PET image and use this information to decide if you might need more tests or treatment.
There’s no single test for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to detect because the symptoms are subtle and easily mistaken for something else. There is no single test that can definitively diagnose pancreatic cancer, but physicians will often use a combination of imaging studies, blood tests and other diagnostic procedures to determine if you have the disease. Imaging tests can help identify tumors in the pancreas, while blood tests can indicate whether your body is producing elevated levels of substances associated with cancer (specifically CA 19-9). A biopsy may also be performed if there is any question about whether or not you have this type of tumor.
A CT scan can be used to diagnose most types of pancreatic cancer and locate suspicious areas within the organ using cross-sectional x-rays at different angles through your abdomen or pelvis. These scans allow doctors to rule out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms before moving forward with more invasive testing methods such as endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). A PET scan uses radioactive tracers injected into your veins so they cross over into tissue where they attach themselves; this process allows physicians to see whether or not certain areas are actively metabolizing glucose – something that occurs during tumor cell growth – making them ideal for diagnosing malignant masses in organs like yours!
Early detection is critical for survival.
Early detection is critical for survival. If you are concerned about your health, talk to your doctor about screening tests that can help find pancreatic cancer early.
In most cases, it’s only after pancreatic cancer has spread that treatment becomes ineffective or not possible at all. Pancreatic cancer often spreads (or metastasizes) to other organs before it is diagnosed and treated. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated after finding a lump in your pancreas or experiencing any of these symptoms, the better chance you have of surviving the disease long term.
Treatment can be difficult and painful, and often leads to side effects like nausea and problems maintaining weight.
Treatment for pancreatic cancer can be difficult, and often leads to side effects like nausea and problems maintaining weight. Some of the most common treatments include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these therapies.
If you’re being treated for pancreatic cancer, it’s important that you know what your treatment options are—and how each option can affect you physically. For example:
- Surgery: If you’re diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at an early stage (when there are few or no symptoms), surgery might be an option to remove tumors in your pancreas. The goal is to remove all of the cancerous tissue so that it won’t grow back or spread elsewhere in the body. After surgery, some people experience pain because they have major nerve endings near their pancreas that are damaged during surgery. Other people may have trouble eating because their swallowing muscles were affected by damage from radiation therapy or surgery.”
Be aware of your family health history, keep up with regular health checkups, and be mindful of the kinds of food you put in your body.
If you’re worried about developing pancreatic cancer, it’s important to understand the things that could increase your risk. One of the biggest factors is family history. If a close relative has had this disease, your risk is higher than if no one in your family has had it. Keep an eye out for other conditions that can be related to pancreatic cancer, such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
Be sure to go in for regular checkups with your doctor so they can monitor any signs of trouble early on. This way, treatment can start sooner if necessary and keep the process from becoming more complicated later on down the road (and hopefully prevent its occurrence altogether). You should also consider eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables—that’s good advice no matter what!
Lastly: don’t smoke or become obese! If you already have either condition (or both), quitting smoking will help you live longer overall while keeping those pounds off will reduce stress on our bodies by making them perform better under pressure when faced with physical exertion like running away from hungry bears while carrying heavy supplies across dangerous terrain during an apocalyptic event…
Pancreatic cancer is an incredibly difficult disease to live with. It affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year, and it’s getting worse. But there are things that you can do to stay healthy and protect yourself from this horrible illness. We know there’s no single test or screening that can prevent all cases of pancreatic cancer, but taking care of your body and family history are two important steps towards preventing this disease in yourself or loved ones.