Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is an annual designation observed in November. Sadly, my father succumbed to this horrible form of cancer in 2015.
The designation this month, and for that matter, any month, acts and helps spread the word about the dangers of pancreatic cancer. This is the time of year that most people speak up about this disease, and one of the main goals is to raise funds for early diagnosis research.
The unfortunate truth is pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all different types of cancer. Only 3 to 5% of those diagnosed survive for up to five years. Survival rates for most other kinds of cancer have gone up over the last 40 years, but not for this disease. That’s why this month, it’s so important to play your part by using your voice, donating, or getting involved with organizations that support pancreatic cancer research.
Since early diagnosis is so important with this kind of cancer, it’s important that we take advantage of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, so that eventually it becomes more talked about all year round. Pancreatic cancer affects both men and women and is the seventh most common cancer death around the world.
Given the survival rate for victims of pancreatic cancer, early detection is more important than ever before. Also, it’s is critical to understanding the symptoms of the disease.
“If you have two or more first-degree relatives who have had pancreatic cancer, a first-degree relative who developed pancreatic cancer before the age of 50, or an inherited genetic syndrome associated with pancreatic cancer, you may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” according to the the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan). The organization “strongly recommends consulting with a genetic counselor to determine your risk and eligibility for a screening program.”
Recognizing the symptoms is vitally important. They include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness and skin rash. Additional symptoms include digestive problems, jaundice, changes in stools, blood clots and diabetes.
Help is available. Please visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to learn more. What you know about pancreatic cancer today might help you or a loved one with the disease tomorrow.
That’s my take, what’s yours?