Key Information About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer refers to tumors that start in the cells of the pancreas. It is also known as exocrine cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the 12th most commonly occurring cancer in men and the 11th most commonly occurring cancer in women. There were 460,000 new cases in 2018.
Some estimates predict that by 2020, pancreatic cancer will become the second leading cause of death.
Diets high in meats, cholesterol, fried foods and nitrosamines may increase pancreatic cancer risk.
Most gene mutations related to pancreatic cancer occur after a person is born, rather than having been inherited.
These acquired gene mutations sometimes result from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. One of the main drivers behind pancreatic cancer is the KRAS oncogene.
Obesity, smoking, old age, pancreatitis and diabetes are other risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
There may be no symptoms during the early stages of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms during the later stages of the disease include pain in the abdomen, nausea, weight loss, yellow skin, fatigue, pain in the middle back, yellow eyes, loss of appetite and dark urine.
It is important that you discuss your treatment goals with your healthcare team and know all of your options at every stage of the disease.
One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.
Generally if the cancer is localized, surgical treatment, by resection or removal of the tumor, can be pursued.
This means that the cancer has not spread to any blood vessels, distant lymph nodes or other organs, such as the liver or lung.
The majority of chemotherapies for pancreatic cancer are given as an out-patient, however this depends on the type of chemotherapy prescribed. It is sometimes possible to have chemotherapy at home.
Radiotherapy is not used as often as surgery or chemotherapy. You may have radiotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer that has not spread, but cannot be removed by surgery. In this case, you might have it with chemotherapy (called chemoradiation).
We have established first- and second-line agents for pancreatic cancer, but the third-line setting is pretty wide open. SM-88, being a drug that is well tolerated, may fit into the third-line space to hopefully improve survival.— Marcus Smith Noel, MD
Here are some ways to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer:
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Maintain your BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Reduce exposure to cancer causing chemicals like benzene.
Have you tested your home for chemicals?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Srikanth R