A new survey commissioned by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) has found that 83% of US adults are unaware of the signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases that has no standard early detection test and limited treatment options.
As the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States the problem is serious and sadly getting worse. Pancreatic Cancer is expected to the second spot in the next few years due largely to a lack of knowledge with the public at large.
One important finding of the report highlighted the fact that older adults who are at the highest risk are even less likely to know about the early signs/symptoms. As much as 90% of some age brackets were unaware of even the basic symptoms.
How serious is this problem?
The five-year survival rate is just 11%. The disease is typically diagnosed late on in patients and has spread to ther organs. This makes early treatment even more critical as life saving surgery can still be an option.
With no standard early detection test, it is important to recognize the common signs and symptoms, especially for those individuals with a family history and other risk factors of the disease. This may lead to earlier diagnosis, providing more treatment options such as surgery.
The survey was conducted in October 2022 by an independent research company. They interviewed over 1,000 people to determine if U.S. adults were aware of the signs and symptoms. Another key finding was that fewer than half identified the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer— abdominal or back pain, weight loss/loss of appetite, and digestive problems.
Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, November 17, and PanCAN is attempting to spread the word and help educate the public about these and other common symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), a change in stool (oily or watery) and new onset diabetes.
PanCAN have provided a simple one page conversation guide which is certainly worth downloading.
Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of PanCAN said,
“Pancreatic cancer symptoms are vague and can be confused with many other abdominal or gastrointestinal issues. Understanding these symptoms along with certain risk factors and your own family history can provide confidence. We know it can be difficult speaking to your doctor about pancreatic cancer, so we want to empower everyone to be their best health advocate with this new tool.”
Long term investment in research.
PanCAN leads the way in accelerating progress for this disease by funding leading-edge research that is getting us closer to new discoveries. In the past two decades, PanCAN has invested $174 million in clinical research. This past year alone, PanCAN awarded more than $10.5 million in grants as part of the largest-ever, single year total research investment of $25 million.
The overall research investment includes funding more than 200 grants cumulatively to scientists across the country and large-scale research initiatives such as PanCAN’s Precision Promise℠ clinical trial, which seeks to accelerate the approval of new treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients and PanCAN’s Early Detection Initiative, with a goal of developing a strategy to diagnose pancreatic cancer early when surgery is still possible.
What can you do to get involved?
People can support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network by visiting pancan.org. They can also participate in a free, virtual event today, on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (Nov. 17), when survivors, caregivers, and researchers will bring to life some of the incredible stories about the impact pancreatic cancer research and PanCAN has made on their lives.
You can also register for free today at PanCAN.
More about the Symptoms:
The following is a more detailed breakdown of warning signs that may indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer:
1. Jaundice: This is when the skin and whites of the eyes take on a yellowish hue. It can be a sign that the pancreas is not functioning properly.
2. Abdominal pain: Pancreatic cancer can cause pain in the abdomen or back. This pain is often described as a dull ache that gets worse over time.
3. Weight loss: Cancer cells can cause weight loss by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This can lead to fatigue and weakness.
4. Nausea and vomiting: Pancreatic cancer can cause digestive problems. It may also damage the nerves that tell the brain about sickness, causing nausea or vomiting.
5. Jaundice: The yellowing of the skin and eyes is a sign of jaundice.
6. Numbness or tingling: Some people with pancreatic cancer have numbness in their hands and feet.
7. Painless jaundice: Pancreatic cancer can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes, but without any other symptoms.
8. Weight loss: This is one of the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer. In some cases, it can be mild.
9. Swollen abdomen: A swollen abdomen can be caused by a buildup of fluid in the abdomen (ascites). It can also be caused by a tumor.
10. Back pain: This symptom is sometimes caused by a tumor in the pancreas pressing against the spinal cord, nerves, or other nearby organs. It can also be caused by cancer spreading elsewhere in the body.
11. Fever: This symptom is usually caused by cancer spreading elsewhere in the body.
12. Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms are usually caused by cancer that has spread to nearby organs, such as the liver or stomach.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) leads the way in accelerating critical progress for pancreatic cancer patients. PanCAN takes bold action by funding life-saving research, providing personalized patient services and creating a community of supporters and volunteers who will stop at nothing to create a world in which all pancreatic cancer patients will thrive.
If you experience and or a combination then it is worth speaking to your doctor as soon as possible. All medical information provided in this article is from established sources but we are only reporting the news and you should take professional advice if you have concerns.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, THX News & Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.