November Month of Awareness for Pancreatic Cancer

November 11, 2022

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Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with a 5-year survival rate of only 8-9%.

World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month was established in 2007 to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and its symptoms. The month-long campaign takes place every November and aims to educate people about the disease, its risk factors, and how to diagnose it early.

November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is a global campaign to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer. The main goal of these November awareness campaigns is to promote and improve the care of pancreatic cancer patients around the world.

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer. The incidence and mortality rates are on the rise, especially in the United States.

This pancreatic cancer month gives a chance to learn more about this often underdiagnosed disease. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer please know that there is hope! With early detection and treatment, the prognosis is good for most patients.

Pancreatic Awareness

The pancreas is a pear-shaped organ that sits in the upper abdomen.

It makes enzymes that help digest food, and hormones to control blood sugar levels. It also helps produce insulin, which controls how quickly we absorb sugar from our blood into our cells.

How do you Get a Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer has associated with,

  • Old age
  • Family history (genetics)
  • Male (gender)
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic trauma
  • Hereditary polyposis

The most common cause of pancreatic cancer is smoking tobacco products or being exposed to asbestos fibers. Smoking is the leading cause of pancreatic cancer and it has been found to increase the risk by up to 20%.

The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age and a family history of pancreatic cancer or other digestive cancers like colon and rectal cancers.

Pancreatic cancer is more common in males than females, with a ratio of 1.5:1. The lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer in males is about 5.5 in 105, while it's about 4 in 105 for females.

Complications of Pancreatic Cancer

When pancreatic cells become cancerous, they can form tumors that block off important ducts in the pancreas or begin to leak fluid into nearby organs, causing them to swell up or become infected.

Pancreatic cancer can lead to several complications such as.

  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Liver failure
  • Sepsis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation in the pancreas that can lead to death if not treated immediately. 

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a condition where there are high levels of sugar in the bloodstream due to a lack of insulin.

Liver failure occurs when there is no longer enough functioning liver tissue or when it has been severely damaged by disease or injury. 

Sepsis occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream, which leads to organ dysfunction and even death.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect early because it often does not produce any symptoms until it has already metastasized. 

These symptoms include,

  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain

If there are no symptoms, then pancreatic cancer can be detected through a blood test or imaging scan.

#world pancreatic cancer day 2022 is on November 17th

#pancreatic cancer ribbons: Purple color

How soon death comes?

  • Pancreatic cancer is the fourth deadliest type of cancer in the USA.
  • Pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate because it is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage when it is difficult to treat.
  • People usually die within the first 6 months following diagnosis as cancer has advanced already in the body.

Diagnosis of Pancreas Cancer

  • Pancreatic cancer is also known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
  • Pancreatic cancer is a disease that is difficult to diagnose and as a result, it is often not detected until the disease has progressed.
  • Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed when the patient has symptoms.
  • Several pancreatic cancer markers can help physicians diagnose pancreatic cancers earlier on.
  • Pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed by looking for certain markers in the blood and from an abdominal ultrasound.

CA 19-9

CA19-9 is a pancreatic cancer diagnosis marker. It is a tumor marker that can help doctors to determine if there is pancreatic cancer in the patient.

The CA19-9 level will be increased in patients with pancreatic cancer. The higher the level of CA19-9, the more severe and aggressive pancreatic cancer will be.

CEA

The most common other pancreatic cancer marker is the CEA (Carcino Embryonic Antigen). CEA levels are elevated when there’s an increase in cell growth or tumor size in the pancreas. 

Abdominal Scans

An Ultrasound scan of the abdomen, CT scan, or MRI may be ordered to look at the pancreas and surrounding organs to see if there is any evidence of a tumor or other abnormalities.

Red Alarms!

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease that has few treatment options, but it is important to know the signs and symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention and tell your doctor about your concerns.

Early detection can improve the survival rates for patients, and it is imperative to have an early diagnostic test to detect pancreatic cancer at its earliest stages.

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