While nobody wants to get sick, least of all with cancer, the reality is that not all cancers are the same, and as such, some come with more inherent risks than others. Among those, is pancreatic cancer.
In its early stages, pancreatic cancer causes a tumor on the, you guessed it, pancreas, which is a large gland in the digestive system. The problem is though that in these early stages it usually doesn’t usually present any symptoms, that is until the disease starts to spread.
At present, doctors are not exactly sure what causes pancreatic cancer, but it is believed that there are several factors that have the potential to put you at risk. These include:
Age – people over the age of fifty are more likely to develop the condition
Smoking – the charity said around 30 per cent of people affected by pancreatic cancer are smokers
A history of health conditions – experts suggest diabetes and stomach ulcers could increase pancreatic cancer risk
Alcohol – regularly drinking more than the recommended daily allowance of alcohol can increase risk
Diet – eating red meat, fat, and sugar is believe to be linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer
Body weight and physical activity – being overweight or obese is the single biggest cause of preventable cancer in the UK after smoking and is linked to 13 types of cancer including pancreatic cancer
Previous cancer – people who have previously had cancer could be at greater risk
Family history of pancreatic cancer – up to ten percent of pancreatic cancer cases could be linked to genetics
Dr. Áine McCarthy, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information officer, has previously told Express.co.uk why survival rates are so low.
“There are a number of reasons survival is low among pancreatic cancer patients,” she said.
“For example, because the disease is generally very fast-growing, patients are often diagnosed at a late stage when their cancer is more likely to have spread and be harder to treat.
“Late stage diagnosis also makes it difficult for scientists to study the disease in the early stages, meaning we don’t know as much about the underlying biology of pancreatic cancer as we do about other cancers.
“This has resulted in a lack of new treatments being developed for the disease in recent decades, and survival has remained virtually unchanged.”
“Because the disease is so aggressive, patients may receive no treatment at all or if they are given an option it will be for just one line of treatment, so it’s essential that the most suitable treatment is identified quickly,” says Professor Andrew Biankin of the University of Glasgow.