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World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2017
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World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2017: Demand Better. For Patients. For Survival

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Highlights:

  • The World Pancreatic Cancer Day is being celebrated on November 16, 2017, with the theme: “Demand Better. For Patients. For Survival.”
  • The day stresses the need for better diagnostic methods for the early detection of pancreatic cancer
  • Early detection could improve outcomes for patients with the cancer

The World Pancreatic Cancer Day, a global initiative by the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, is being celebrated on November 16, 2017, with the theme: "Demand Better. For Patients. For Survival."

The poor survival outcome of pancreatic cancer has brought forth the necessity for better diagnostic options to detect cancer early. The importance of early diagnosis is exemplified by the fact that people who are diagnosed at an early stage when the tumor can be surgically removed tend to live for five or more years. Unfortunately, currently, there are no screening tests available for the early diagnosis. The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition has therefore raised a demand for better measures to fight the cancer, beginning with better diagnostic methods for early detection.

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In the absence of appropriate screening tests, it is important for all individuals to be aware of the early signs and symptoms and risk factors so that diagnostic tests can be carried out at the earliest.

The symptoms that should raise a suspicion of pancreatic cancer include the following:
  • Pain in the abdomen or mid back
  • Unexplained weight loss, which is a symptom of most cancers
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Appearance of jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Presence of indigestion
  • Changes in the stool

The above symptoms, however, are quite vague and could suggest several other benign conditions as well. If the symptoms are persistent and worsen with time, you may want to get yourself tested for pancreatic cancer.
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Suggested risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
  • Smoking - People who smoke are twice at a risk of pancreatic cancer as compared to those who did not smoke
  • A family history of pancreatic cancer or any other cancer. Some genetic disorders that can give rise to pancreatic cancer include Lynch syndrome, familial pancreatitis and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome
  • The presence of chronic or hereditary pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas
  • The presence of diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Occupational exposure to certain chemicals
  • Older age
Thus, the risk for pancreatic cancer can be reduced to some extent by maintaining a normal weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol intake, or exposure to cancer-promoting chemicals.

Purple is the color for the World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2017 - wear purple and pledge your support for the World Pancreatic Cancer Day. You could also increase awareness among your family, friends and community members about the deadly cancer.

About Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that has dual functions. It secretes pancreatic juice that helps in the digestion of food in the intestine. It also secretes insulin and glucagon, two hormones that help to control the blood glucose levels. Most cancers arise from the cells associated with the secretion of the pancreatic enzymes, while the cells that secrete hormones are associated with only 5% cancers called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not known. Diagnosis is based on imaging tests like a CT scan, and examination of a biopsy sample obtained through an endoscopic procedure or through the skin. Operable cancers are treated with a surgical procedure called Whipple's procedure, followed by chemotherapy. Advanced cases are treated with chemotherapy and sometimes additional radiotherapy.

Pancreatic Cancer Statistics

  • Every day, more than 1000 people all over the world are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
  • An estimated 418,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the year 2020
  • The chances of survival from the cancer are very low, with a five-year survival rate of 2 to 9 percent.

Reference:

  1. World Pancreatic Cancer Day - (http://www.worldpancreaticcancerday.org/)

Source: Medindia

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