Pancreatic cancer accounts for almost three percent of all cancers and is considered deadly due to its low survival rate. The disease at its early stages rarely shows any symptoms, and there are no specific screening tools to identify pancreatic cancer. Even after undergoing surgery, 30% of pancreatic cancer still goes undetected, leaving a possibility for the cancer to recur five years after surgery.
Here’s information about the rising rates of pancreatic cancer:
- Pancreatic cancer was the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S.
- Currently, pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, and even with the rising survival rates, it’s expected to become the second leading cause.
- The incidence of pancreatic cancer has risen by approximately 0.5% each year for more than a decade. This is according to the National Cancer Institute.
- The rise in mortality rank of pancreatic cancer can be partly explained by the advances in treating other cancer types particularly prostate, breast and colon cancer. Immunotherapy has still not worked for pancreatic and liver cancer.
- Over three-quarters of new pancreatic cancer patients are aged between 55 and 84 years old, meaning that the aging population is the main contributor.
- Smoking is the most significant contributor to the development of pancreatic cancer. Even though smoking rates have dropped in the U.S., it will be 30 to 40 years before we experience a proportionate drop in the rates of pancreatic cancer.
- The increase in type 2 diabetes and obesity have contributed to the rise in pancreatic cancer. According to Robert A. Wolf, MD, obesity has overtaken smoking as the primary cause of the increase in pancreatic cancer.
- Pancreatic tumors metastasize quickly unlike many other cancers which can be cured if detected early. Liquid biopsies and precision medicines are hot areas of oncology, but pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat effectively.
- Some doctors believe that patients will be helped by precision medicine therapies, especially the 10% who have hereditary pancreatic cancer. The current blood tests cannot specify though.
- Prevention can combat the rising rates of pancreatic cancer. According to some doctors, 30% of pancreatic cancer can be prevented by better diets, more exercise, no smoking and cutting back on obesity.
For some years, research has focused on understanding the appropriate balance of good bacteria within the intestinal tract. Links between the onset of disease and gut dysbiosis are getting established with the hope of developing therapeutic interventions to halt the progression of the disease. Investigators have released data to describe how bacteria population in the pancreas increases largely in patients with pancreatic cancer to be dominated by species that block the immune system from attacking tumor cells.
Findings from a new study indicated that:
- Removing bacteria from the pancreas and gut by treating mice with antibiotics reprogrammed immune cells and slowed the cancer growth to identify cancer cells.
- Oral antibiotics increased the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, a form of immunotherapy that had failed in the clinical trials of pancreatic cancer before to produce a strong antitumor shift in immunity.
- Bacteria change the immune environment around the cancer cells to allow them to grow faster in some patients than others even when they have the same genetics.
- In patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) – cancer that turns fatal within two years – pathogenic gut bacteria moves to the pancreas through the pancreatic duct.
- Once in the pancreas, the abnormal microbiome releases cellular components that shut down the immune system to promote the growth of cancer.
The research was carried out to understand the immune suppression in pancreatic cancer and its reversal. Ongoing studies are meant to confirm the species of bacteria that can shut down the immune reaction to cancer cells and set the stage for new diagnostic tests that are bacteria-based, a combination of immunotherapy and antibiotics, and maybe for probiotics that prevent cancer in patients who are high-risk.
Although rare, pancreatic cancer is soon going to be the second largest cause of cancer deaths. Right now, pancreatic cancer is becoming more common. The rising rank in pancreatic cancer mortality reflects the advances in battling other malignancies. Proper screening and treatment have helped patients with other cancers like prostate, breast, and colon cancer to live long lives. Innovations like immunotherapy have unfortunately not worked well for pancreatic cancer. More than three-quarters of pancreatic cancer patients are between 55 and 84 years old.
Smokers face more than twice the risk of pancreatic cancer than non-smokers. The increasing rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity the new villains in the risk of pancreatic cancer and many other cancers. The reasons for these risks include:
- Low-level chronic inflammation
- Excessive insulin
- Too much hormones and growth factors released by fat tissue
- Metabolic abnormalities
The facts about pancreatic cancer are:
- Even if blood tests could detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage, its treatment will still need to be improved.
- Pancreatic tumors metastasize quickly.
- Five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer have increased from 6 to 9% in recent years.
- Pancreatic cancer is preventable by cutting back on obesity, having a better diet, no smoking, and more exercise.
Researchers keep looking for early signs of pancreatic cancer in the tissue or the blood of people of 50 years of age and above who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The challenge is to find precise enough biomarkers to avoid emotional and costly false negatives and positives. The quest for blood tests for cancer (liquid biopsies) is one of the hottest areas in oncology. The tests reported have very bad specificity.
Pancreatic cancer is ranked fourth in causing cancer deaths in America. Research shows that of all patients detected with this disease, only 6 percent will survive for five years, and those who are diagnosed with advanced cancer of the pancreas will not live for more than a year.
Therefore, there is a dire need for extensive research and development with regards to pancreatic cancer. Finding a cure for pancreatic cancer has not been given the importance it deserves even when various foundations have been set up all over Texas and the United States as a whole.
Foundations for pancreatic cancer have devoted funds for research projects hoping to bring an evolution in finding a cure or early detection method. The many noteworthy scientific findings and discoveries of this deadly disease have not yielded much; there is still a lot to be done.
Investing in research is important because:
- It can help to find a test that will necessitate early detection of pancreatic cancer.
- It can pave the way for more effective, long-term treatments.
- It can help find a cure for pancreatic cancer.
- Presently, researchers and scientists are studying the growth and genetic code of pancreatic cancer. Findings have revealed that cancer grows slowly and gradually and that it instantly affects the pancreas itself.
Any funds received are dedicated to developing advanced and progressive diagnostic tests that are sensitive enough to identify and distinguish the changes in the pancreas early enough.
Money, time and effort are being spent to enhance new methods and techniques for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Vaccines are developed to help boost the immunity of patients to help them fight against pancreatic cancer. Improved drugs are being developed to help shrink the tumors, and injections that target the cancerous cells are being availed to patients.
The public, doctors, politicians and all other stakeholders are encouraged to volunteer and donate towards fighting to end pancreatic cancer. By donating, you will give a pancreatic cancer patient a chance to fight against this disease.
Pancreatic cancer is considered deadly due to its low survival rate. Cancer of the pancreas rarely shows any symptoms at its early stages when it is treatable. There are no specific tools for screening it. Often, when a patient undergoes surgery, 30% of the pancreatic cancer goes undetected, leaving only a small subset to be removed. It can recur five years after surgery.
The risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer include smoking, consumption of alcohol, type 2 diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and obesity. Individuals aged over 50 years are at a higher risk. Tumors are common in smokers than nonsmokers. Only 5% of patients develop pancreatic cancer because of the genetic factor. A poor diet full of red and processed meat and obesity are other factors that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer because the pancreas produces more insulin.
The pancreas has three main parts, the head which produces digestive juices, the neck and body, and then the tail which produces insulin. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer begin to show:
- When the tumor is in the head of the pancreas, which affects the exocrine function and the patient shows symptoms of jaundice. About 95% of malignant tumors of the pancreas are adenocarcinomas and occur in the head where there is the first segment of the small intestine.
- They might also show the onset of diabetes if the tumor is placed in the tail of the pancreas.
- The jaundice is accompanied by body itchiness which results from bile salt crystals deposit under the skin.
- Because the tumor in the head of the pancreas obstructs the flow of the stomach contents into the small intestine, the patient may experience vomiting.
If pancreatic cancer is detected and the patient is referred for curative surgery, they undergo a procedure called Whipple, which removes the head of the pancreas, the first part of the duodenum, the gallbladder, and the bile duct. Surgery is done when the cancer is confined to the head of the pancreas. Other treatment procedures include total pancreatectomy, distal pancreatectomy, chemo, and radiation therapy for advanced stages of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most alarming and insidious types of cancer. The disease only presents symptoms during its later stages and makes it difficult to detect. Even after its detection, getting effective treatment becomes hard because it is often too late. As the third most dangerous cancer type, pancreatic cancer kills more than 90% of patients in less than five years, causing more mortality than breast cancer.
More than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year. The Texas Pancreatic Cancer Association Network has managed to save lives by undertaking a multipronged approach towards dealing with the disease and making sure that the people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive. The networks work tirelessly with patients and their families to ensure that they live healthy lives.
For them to ensure that they can prevent many deaths from pancreatic cancer, the association networks play several significant roles as follows:
- They use multiple fronts to approach the issue: The association networks invest in clinical initiatives and research as well as services geared towards patients and legal aid. The association networks community receives financial aid from a nationwide net of support. The funding is used to improve the quality of life for patients at present and in future increase the rate of survival as much as possible.
- They function systematically: Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer need to get the best treatment and improve their quality of life. Research is the only way this can happen. For research to take place and bring successful findings, a scientific community must be involved.
Pancreatic cancer awareness needs to be spread around the world to increase the knowledge of the disease and get funds to help in the search for a cure. The pancreatic cancer associations are doing this, but it also requires everyone’s participation.
The symptoms of cancer vary depending on the placement of the tumor in the body. But, one thing is sure, never ignore back pain because it is one of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. In its early stages, pancreatic cancer symptoms do not show. Some signs begin to show as the disease progresses. Although symptoms are not a confirmation that one has pancreatic cancer, it is advisable to see a General Practitioner to eliminate any doubts or worries.
Here are the signs and symptoms that could indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer:
- Pain in the back or upper abdomen: This is one of the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer. The pain starts as discomfort in the tummy area that spreads to the back. People feel the pain in different ways; it may begin as mild pain before it becomes more constant as time passes. After lying down or after eating, one may feel worse pain, which eases when they sit forward. The tummy area becomes tender.
- Indigestion and unexplained loss of weight are other early signs of pancreatic cancer. A progression of cancer may lead to vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and changed bowel habits.
- There’s loss of appetite and fatigue.
- New onset of diabetes in people over 50 years of age
- Jaundice: Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. If one realizes they have jaundice, or that the other symptoms named above are not improving after four weeks of showing up, they should immediately see a doctor.
Many other diseases and health conditions can cause similar signs and symptoms other than cancer. It is imperative that one seeks professional advice and confirmation from physicians if they experience any of the signs above. Furthermore, the exact cause of pancreatic cancer has not been confirmed. However, you can lower the risk of the disease by reducing alcohol and red meat intake. The chances of developing pancreatic cancer increase when a person gets older.
With recent studies linking gum disease to other illnesses that may occur, it can be highly beneficial to brush your teeth at least two times a day. One of these diseases is Pancreatic Cancer, and the maintenance of oral hygiene can ensure that your risk of getting the disease could be reduced.
- Gum disease connected with cancer of the mouth: Swedish research scientists have stated that gum disease is clearly associated with not only mouth cancer, but numerous other types of cancers in the body as well. If you manage to catch the presence of periodontitis as soon as possible, you can reduce the risk of getting other cancers in the future.
- These bacteria aid in the damaging of tissues, similar to that seen in cancer: Thanks to the sheer capability of the bacteria found in periodontitis to be highly virulent, they can spread throughout the body from the mouth. This may manifest as the mouth is inflamed, and due to this, the bacteria can pervade the rest of the body, all the way to the pancreas. Apart from it being vital to practice good oral hygiene, it can make a difference to your total health. Gum disease symptoms include bleeding when brushed, and bad smelling breath. It can also lead to damaging your jawbone, as well as an eventual loss of teeth.
- More than ten thousand diagnoses of pancreatic cancer pop up each year: There are more than ten thousand cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year. The disease manifests itself by pains in the stomach region or the back. Sudden weight-loss is also a symptom. The most prominent sign is when the eyes and the person’s skin turn yellow.
Columbia University recently received a 3-year grant to sponsor a single-phase clinical experiment of a precise medicinal approach to help in treating metastasized pancreatic cancer. The current treatments that are prominently used attack the mutated DNA which is assumed to drive the tumor growth in patients. This is mostly effective in patients who suffer from the commonest types of pancreatic cancer, and for those with less seen cancer types, it is not that effective.
- Reduced effectiveness of older treatment can be seen: In the case of pancreatic duct carcinomas, only fifteen percent of patients get benefits from conventional methods of treatment, and the others will either not show a response or show a relapse, due to the cancer showing drug resistance.
- New method studies the RNA instead of the DNA of the cancer cell: Due to older approaches towards treating the disease proving ineffectual, research scientists plan to conduct studies of the tissue specific copies of DNA of cancer cells, called the RNA, instead of analyzing the DNA. This should provide a better image, with better accuracy of the various genetic factors inside a tumor which promote it continuously surviving. The patients, depending on this analysis, can be given personalized treatment.
- More effective treatment by matching drugs with patient’s case: Going by the results of preliminary tests of the above method, the research scientists have managed to match one or more drugs to patients in eighty five percent of cases. This treatment is useful in identifying the different drugs which can reverse the actions of some hidden cancer targets. One of these is known as a master regulating protein which is responsible for giving cancer cells immunity from typical cancer treatments.
The grant is also being utilized for the funding of a preclinical study of patients of pancreatic ductal carcinoma, and developing an individualized drug treatment plan for them.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most insidious and alarming types of cancer. Since it doesn’t manifest any symptoms until its later stages, detection of it can prove extremely difficult. Even when it is detected, it is often too late and it may be hard to get effective treatment.
Pancreatic cancer is the third most dangerous type of cancer. It kills more that ninety percent of the patients it inflicts in less than 5 years and is even more mortality causing than breast cancer. More than fifty thousand Americans are diagnosed with the disease every single year.
Texas pancreatic cancer association networks manage to save a great deal of lives with the work they do. They have undertaken a multipronged approach towards dealing with pancreatic cancer and ensuring that the people it afflicts survive. They have been working tirelessly to help patients and their loved ones live healthy lives.
- They approach the issue on multiple fronts: To make sure that they can prevent as many fatalities as possible, these association networks play several important roles. These include investing in research and clinical initiatives, as well as legal aid and services geared towards patients. A nationwide net of support, aids their community financially and otherwise. Their ultimate aim is to improve quality of life for the patient both today, as well as in the future, and increase the survival rate as much as possible.
- They function in a systematic manner: The patients afflicted by pancreatic cancer need and ought to get good treatment, and thus improve their lives. This can only happen when there is research. Research in turn needs a good scientific community to thrive.
Awareness of pancreatic cancer should spread everywhere to raise the knowledge of the disease, as well as to obtain contributions to help cure it. The pancreatic cancer associations also do this.