Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous types of cancer for both men and women. The disease results when cells in the pancreas start to grow out of control. Part of what makes pancreatic cancer so harmful is its ability to spread quickly to neighboring organs. Since the symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t reveal themselves in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until it reaches an advanced stage. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the warning signs of pancreatic cancer and undergo regular screening appointments.
The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 53,670 people (27,970 men and 25,700 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the US. Additionally, just over 43,000 Americans will die of pancreatic cancer, making it the fourth most deadly form of cancer for both men and women.
As with any type of cancer, understanding the potential risk factors of pancreatic cancer is important in order to help minimize your personal risk. These include chronic inflammation of the pancreas, diabetes, a family history of pancreatic cancer, a BRCA2 gene mutation, smoking, obesity, and advanced age. In fact, the majority of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed in patients over age 65.
Preventing pancreatic cancer entirely may be impossible, but there are certainly steps you can take to help reduce your personal chances of developing the disease. Smokers should quit smoking immediately or seek help if needed in order to stop. Exercising, eating right, and maintaining a stable, healthy body can go a long way towards decreasing your personal pancreatic cancer risk. If you have a personal history of pancreatic cancer or BRCA2 gene mutations, consider meeting with one of our healthcare providers to discuss what you can do to help cut down your risk.
Remember, whether you have a heightened risk or not, it’s important to receive regular check-ups and pancreatic cancer screenings, especially as you age. In order to receive the best possible treatment for pancreatic cancer, should it ever occur, it is extremely important to catch it while in its early stages. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Abraham Family Medicine today. Our office is located in Snellville, not far from Grayson.