GET THE FACTS
The pancreas is located behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It plays an important role in digestion by producing enzymes that break down food in the intestines. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels by producing hormones such as insulin and glucagon.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT PANCREATIC CANCER?
Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer. The cause of most cases is unknown. There are no early detection methods available at this time, which limits treatment options.
Leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States
have the highest incidence rate
Five year survival rate
We CANNOT Change
The vast majority of cases of pancreatic cancer occur in individuals aged 65 years and older.
Black men and women have a greater likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer than other racial groups. The reason for this is not entirely clear but thought related to diet, diabetes rates, obesity and smoking.
Men are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF
In many cases, there are no symptoms in pancreatic cancer until its late stages. The following is a list of symptoms that could indicate pancreatic cancer, but many other conditions can present with similar symptoms.
Upper abdominal pain that may extend to the middle or upper back
Weight loss/loss of appetite
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Nausea and vomiting
*IF YOU EXHIBIT ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR PHYSICIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
We CAN Change
Smokers are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than nonsmokers. Smoking is the single greatest risk factor, associated with almost one-third of all cases of pancreatic cancer.
Diets high in animal fats and low in fruits and vegetables are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
Multiple large studies have shown that people diagnosed with diabetes are at significantly increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
People who drink 9 or more alcoholic drinks every day are at increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Multiple large studies have shown that people who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) 30 or greater, are at increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer.
Whipple procedure offers the best chance for survival but most pancreatic cancer cases are not diagnosed early enough for surgical intervention.
Offered but not considered curative.
Needed to advance treatment options.
REFERENCES: MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); Pancreatic Cancer; [updated 2017 Jul 13; reviewed 2016 July 15; cited 2017 July 19]; and Ryan, David P. Patient Education: Pancreatic Cancer (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2017