November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, November 1, 2019
 
This November, we’re raising awareness of the warning signs and risks for pancreatic cancer, often called the “world’s toughest cancer.” Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., killing more people than breast cancer. It’s the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate of just 9 percent.
 
“Pancreatic cancer is very difficult to diagnose but monitoring for potential symptoms can help us detect the cancer at an earlier and potentially curable stage,” says Pippa Newell, MD of The Oregon Clinic Gastrointestinal & Minimally Invasive Surgery.
 

What is pancreatic cancer?

The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that manages digestion and regulates blood sugar. Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells in pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor.
 

Are there any symptoms?

Pancreatic cancer often goes undetected because the symptoms are extremely vague and can be confused with other issues. However, some symptoms can include: abdominal or back pain, weight loss, loss of appetite and nausea. 
 

 

What causes pancreatic cancer?

Although exact causes aren’t yet known, there are certain risk factors that might increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer. Among the risk factors are obesity, gallstones and pancreatitis, as well as: smoking, frequent use of alcohol and family history.