As we know, the difficulty of detecting pancreatic cancer early enough causes a high mortality rate. With that in mind, let’s look at warning signs of pancreatic cancer.


Be Alert for Early Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

Yesterday, the New York Times published a terrific article on this topic by Jane E.  Brody:

Although pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare cancer, it is on track to become the country’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2040. Currently, it accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers and 7 percent of cancer deaths. Overall, only one person in 10 diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survives five years. A cure is almost always a lucky accident, when the cancer is detected at an early, symptom-free stage during an unrelated abdominal scan or surgery and the tumor can be surgically removed.

Some Highlights from the Article

  • Risk factors — Smoking doubles the risk and accounts for about a quarter of all cases. Being obese, gaining excess weight as an adult, and carrying extra weight around the waist, even if not otherwise very overweight, also increase one’s risk. 
  • Diabetes as an early warning sign — An early cancer in the pancreas doesn’t produce a lesion that can be felt. And it rarely causes symptoms that might prompt a definitive medical work-up. UNTIL it  escapes the confines of the pancreas and spreads elsewhere. But scientists are studying one possible early warning sign: a link between pancreatic cancer and newly developed Type 2 diabetes. Some research suggests that the recent development of Type 2 diabetes may herald the existence of cancer hidden in this organ.
  • New developments in cancer research For several examples of research results as to early detection,  click the image to read the full article.
Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer
Art by Lilli Carré


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