Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. The five-year survival rate is only 8%. This is due to a number of factors:
- The tumor often grows rapidly and has already spread by the time of diagnosis. In more than half of patients, metastases to the liver, lungs, or other organs already exist at the time of diagnosis.
- It is difficult to operate on a tumor. The pancreas is located deep in the abdomen, making it difficult to completely remove the tumor.
- There is currently no effective treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Current treatments can slow tumor growth, but they cannot cure the tumor.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms are often vague and may be caused by other conditions. The most common symptoms are:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the abdomen, back, or shoulder
- Change in stool
If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor. Your GP can examine you and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist.
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. These factors are:
- age. Pancreatic cancer is more common in middle-aged and older people.
- Smoking. Smoking increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by about 20%.
- overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by approximately 20%.
- Diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of pancreatic cancer by about 50%.
- Family history. If you have a family member with pancreatic cancer, you are also at increased risk.
There are no proven ways to prevent pancreatic cancer. It is important to avoid risk factors such as smoking, obesity and diabetes.HLN
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