Pancreatic cancer starts in the pancreas, which sits behind the stomach. It spreads very fast but is not easily detected in its early stages since the pancreas is covered by the stomach. This cancer comes with a few symptoms which may easily be mistaken for something else such as fatigue, depression, new-onset diabetes, pain in the upper abdomen radiating to the back, unintended weight loss and jaundice. Many patients live a short time after diagnosis since it will most likely be discovered at an advanced stage.
Both treatment and detection statistics and information are barely scratching the surface. While a lot of resources are dedicated to cancer research, very little goes to pancreatic cancer. Here is why more funding is necessary:
- Early detection of any cancer sets the stage for better treatment outcomes. Pancreatic cancer patients usually discover it by accident since the symptoms are neither pronounced in the early stages nor unique to the disease. Research so far shows that pancreatic cancer causes changes to the pancreas early on. Further research would provide insight into how to tap into this to make early detection possible. There are currently no specific diagnostic tests for pancreatic cancer.
- Finding pancreatic cancer at an advanced stage limits the treatment options. Surgery is usually not a viable option for many patients since it would be highly invasive owing to the location of the pancreas. Research is looking to develop laparoscopic alternatives for surgery to reduce complications and recovery time.
- Researchers are looking into new treatment methods for pancreatic cancer to shrink tumors and possibly explicitly target cancer cells. Vaccines to improve the body’s immunity would also be great.
Research would bring so many useful treatments to those diagnosed and would help fight this disease that is silently affecting the world’s population. Funding pancreatic cancer research is a worthwhile cause to get involved in.