November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, during which time the public is encouraged to help raise awareness by “waging hope.” Many people take action by urging elected officials to increase research funding, participating in events and activities, or connecting with others through caregiver and survivor support groups.
Pancreatic cancer quick facts
Here’s why it’s so important to spread the word about this deadly cancer:
- Pancreatic cancer is now the third leading cause of cancer deaths in America
- It has the lowest five-year survival rate of any major cancer at just eight percent
- More people will die of pancreatic cancer than breast cancer in 2016
A difficult diagnosis
Pancreatic cancer can be very difficult to diagnose, due to the location of the pancreas. Deep in the body, part of the pancreas sits between the stomach and the spine. The other part is nested in the curve of the first part of the small intestine. This makes detecting pancreatic tumors by touch impossible.
Know your pancreatic cancer risk factors
Knowing if you’re at risk for pancreatic cancer is critically important. Risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Family history. If your mother, father or sibling has had pancreatic cancer, your chances of developing the disease are two to three times greater.
- Diabetes. If you have had diabetes for five years or longer, pancreatic cancer is more likely to occur.
- Diet. A diet high in red or processed meat is thought to increase the risk for pancreatic cancer, whereas a diet high in fruits and vegetables is thought to decrease your risk.
- Smoking. The risk for developing pancreatic cancer is about twice as high among smokers compared to those who have never smoked.
- Obesity. The American Cancer Society states that those who suffer from obesity are about 20 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
- Race or ethnicity. African Americans are more likely than Asians, Hispanics or Caucasians to develop pancreatic cancer.
World-class cancer care in South Texas
Hope for overcoming cancer begins with having immediate access to the most advanced cancer care backed by a team with a deep commitment to your individual needs. Right here in San Antonio, and across eight convenient locations in South Texas, the START Center for Cancer Care provides leading-edge testing, treatments and access to Phase I clinical trials. Our responsive care includes rapid testing and results through our on-site clinical laboratory and pharmacy services.
To learn more about the leading edge cancer care in your backyard, schedule an appointment by calling 210-593-5700 or click here to find a location near you.