Hearing the word cancer from a doctor just about always results in some kind of anxiety from the patient. There are dozens of types of cancer. Some forms of cancer are worse than others. Some can be treated with simple procedures, while there are others that have no known treatment.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer related deaths in the United States. For most people, the prognosis of pancreatic cancer is less than excellent.
One and five year survival rates of the disease are 25%, and 6%, respectively. However, as with most types of cancers, staying vigilant, looking for the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be key to increasing the chance of survival.
Some of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be hard to see, especially at first, since many times, symptoms for pancreatic cancer do not develop in the early stages of the disease.
However, common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include pain in the upper abdomen that will often radiate to the individual’s back. Someone experiencing the symptoms of pancreatic cancer may also experience a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), diabetes, and sometimes depression.
Since many of these signs of pancreatic cancer are not prevalent until the later stages of the disease, an annual physical may be warranted for older individuals. This will allow individuals who are not experiencing the signs of pancreatic cancer to receive important check ups on the health of his or her pancreas.
Although pancreatic cancer is not extraordinarily common, there are a number of risk factors associated with the disease. For individuals who fit into one, or multiple risk factors listed below, it can be very important to watch for the pancreatic cancer symptoms that have been previously listed.
Pancreatic cancer may have a genetic link, so those with family members who have experienced pancreatic cancer should pay attention to any symptoms for pancreatic cancer that they may be experiencing.
Age is also a factor with pancreatic cancer; pancreatic cancer in those younger than forty is very rare. For obese individuals, smokers, those with diabetes, those with gingivitis and those who have experienced chronic pancreatitis, paying close attention to any pancreatic cancer symptoms is very important for catching the disease early before it can metastasize.
For individuals who are entering their fifties and sixties, there is no established guidelines for helping to prevent pancreatic cancer. However, as it has been noted in the previous paragraph, smoking may be a risk factor for developing the disease.
Therefore, it is important for individuals to refrain from smoking. Additionally, the American Cancer Society has a number of other recommendations for preventing pancreatic cancer.
Maintaining a healthy weight, and ingesting fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats can be a great way to avoid not only pancreatic cancer, but a number of other cancers as well. Some studies have also found that those who consume larger quantities of Vitamin D have a significantly lower rate of pancreatic cancer than others.
Although there is no cure yet, there are several treatments for pancreatic cancer. Surgery to remove localized cancer cells is a possible treatment that doctors may recommend.
However, since many cases of pancreatic cancer are not identified until after the disease is in its later stages, it may have metastasized to other parts of the body. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are also commonly utilized in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The extent to which each of these treatments is utilized depends on the severity of the disease in its current state.