ABOUT PANCREATIC CANCER
Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest 5-year survival rate of any cancer in the world at 9.3%. It is a horrific disease that is typically diagnosed late. The location of the pancreas, deep in the abdomen, makes it extremely difficult to treat. Additionally, this cancer is rarely found prior to spreading to local blood vessels or organs. Most patients diagnosed do not survive the first year after diagnosis. One of the main reasons for a lack of funding and awareness is because Pancreatic Cancer accounts for just 3.2% of all cases of cancer each year. Each year approximately 55,000 people are newly diagnosed and approximately 45,000 will die. This is why the Kingsbury Open has continued to raise awareness and funding since 2015. We hope to make a difference in our community, one person at a time and donate all proceeds to Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research and Treatment at the University of Colorado.
To read more about risk factors, signs, symptoms, staging and current treatment options, visit CANCER.ORG HERE
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
Pancreatic cancer is a silent killer. We don’t see the symptoms in the early stages because it’s like they’re not even there. When symptoms like change in the color of the urine occur, it’s understandable to mistake that it happens due to a change in diet, or that you may have drank less water than usual. But these are signs that you should not ignore because it’s better to nip it in the bud when you go to a doctor to find out if our symptoms have any underlying dangerous causes.
Here are some of the symptoms that you can look out for and consult a doctor if even one or more of these things happen.
1. You have yellowing or itchy skin
One of the first signs of pancreatic cancer is the fact that you start seeing changes happening to your body that generally happen to a person suffering from jaundice. Your eyes and skin start to take on a yellowish hue due to the increase of bilirubin which gets converted into bile. Its role is essentially breaking down fats and exiting your body through your stool. The problem arises when it can’t come out and so it builds up inside the body. This causes the color change and if that weren’t enough, it causes the skin to be irritated and you have the need to scratch. Look for brown colored urine as well since it’s a result of this build-up. This is the best time to go consult a doctor as it’s one of the first symptoms to show up.
2. You feel unusually nauseated
Your hormones and enzymes that the pancreas releases is designed to make the digestion process smooth. But when the tumor in the pancreas starts to take effect, more serious problems arise. The hormones and enzymes that are released, create an acid that helps in the digestion of food. When you’re hungry and you feel and hear that growling of your stomach, that’s the acid trying to find food to digest. If you have cancer, the acid builds up and blocks one end of the stomach making it difficult for the food to pass through. That’s when you start to feel sick in the stomach and this results in feeling nauseous, causing you to want to vomit.
3. You are losing weight rapidly
When you keep feeling nauseous and are constantly vomiting, your appetite starts to fall drastically. With not enough intake of nutrients that you’d get from your food, you start to feel weak and when your body can’t process the right carbohydrates and fats, you start to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. A side effect of losing that weight is that when the cancer is under control, you could rapidly gain weight since it wasn’t lost by the burning of fats but rather due to water and nutrient loss.
4. You have severe diarrhea
In a very rare strain of pancreatic cancer, there is a tumor called the VIPoma tumor. It causes the release of certain hormones which then, in turn, release water into the digestive tract. Normal digestion happens when just enough water goes into the intestines to digest the food.
The hormone that is tricked by the tumor into releasing water then starts to send more water than required to the intestines to break down the food after having gone through the other processes. As a result, you start to experience severe diarrhea which could later cause more health complications apart from the cancer itself.
5. You have extreme belly or back pain
Generally, back and belly pain can have a multitude of causes from period cramps to excessive lifting of heavy stuff to even having slept incorrectly. But when you’re already facing nausea and weight loss, it is better to double check whether this pain is rooted in the fact that a tumor is growing in the pancreas.
The bigger the tumor grows in the pancreas, the more pressure it puts on other organs surrounding it. When the organs are stressed, it puts pressure on the lungs, stomach and worse, the spine. It will press against the nerves and even small movements will feel like fire burning inside your body.
6. You have diabetes
With the growth of the tumor, the pancreas is unable to produce as much insulin as the body requires to be able to break down and release the sugar into the bloodstream. Even if sugar is released into the blood, there is not enough insulin to keep the sugar from increasing and when you have high blood sugar, your need to urinate will also increase. You will also feel increasingly hungry and thirsty.
We are aware that the body undergoes many changes due to the environment, weather, food, intake of certain substances, and even how much sleep we get. Sometimes the symptoms we see that come from that change can be attributed to something simple and in our control. But sometimes we run out of luck and they become warning signs for something more dangerous.
It’s important to keep track of all the changes in your body and even if one of these symptoms turn up, a doctor has to be consulted. Prevention is better than cure and in the case of pancreatic cancer, recognition in the early stage is much better than searching for a cure after it has reached the point of no return.
Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
PANCREATIC CANCER FACTS, STATISTICS AND EFFORTS
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
By 2020 it is projected pancreatic cancer will rise to the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer that continues to have a 5-year relative survival rate in the single digits, at just 9.3 percent.
Pancreatic cancer will strike more than 55,000 Americans this year, 74% of whom will die within a year of diagnosis.
While overall cancer incidence and death rates are declining, the incidence of and death rate for pancreatic cancer have been increasing.
The number of new pancreatic cancer cases is projected to increase by 55% over the next 20 years.
There are currently no broadly accepted early detection tools.
Effective pancreatic cancer treatments remain limited but stand to improve with the incorporation of biologically targeted therapy.
Wings of Hope Research Updates: