Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. Unfortunately, it’s most often diagnosed in its advanced stages, meaning it’s important to know what to watch out for. Although your regular physician can help you make the right lifestyle changes to prevent certain types of cancer, here’s what to know about how you can prevent pancreatic cancer and what to know about its symptoms.
Your pancreas plays an important role in producing insulin to maintain your blood sugar levels and digestion. Because the symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be vague and associated with many other illnesses, it’s extremely difficult to screen in the early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, it’s estimated that about 57,600 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2020. This means that it accounts for about 3% of all cancers.
We’re still learning what causes pancreatic cancer in some people, but some studies have suggested that a combination of risk factors increases your chances rather than single factors alone. This includes a combination of smoking, poor diet, and long-standing diabetes. This means that the appropriate lifestyle changes for these factors can reduce your chances. Along with this, certain genetic conditions or a family history of pancreatic, cancer can increase your risk.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer don’t often appear until it’s in its advanced stages. Additionally, it can be difficult to determine whether your symptoms are a result of pancreatic cancer or something else, so you should speak with your regular physician about your symptoms if you’re in an at-risk group. The symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include:
- New-onset diabetes
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Pain in the upper abdomen and lower back
- Blood clots
- Pancreatitis, or chronic inflammation of the pancreas
These symptoms don’t necessarily result in pancreatic cancer, but it’s extremely important to talk with your regular physician if you think you’re at risk. Your regular physician can perform a screening and determine your best steps in reducing your risks and living a healthy lifestyle.
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Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!