risk factors and warning signs

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult malignant diseases to treat and with an extremely high mortality rate because it is often diagnosed in advanced stages. It is a condition found especially in the elderly, according to statistics, the average age of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is 72 years.

Unfortunately, annually, more than 200,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed worldwide, with a mortality rate of 98%. Over 80% of patients are diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease and only 15% – 20% are eligible for surgery at the time of diagnosis. Even after surgery, the prognosis of pancreatic cancer patients is extremely poor: only between 10% and 30% of those operated on survive 5 years.

Although the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, there are a number of risk factors that increase the risk of this disease:

  • Smoking. the chances of pancreatic cancer in smokers are 2-3 times higher than in non-smokers.
  • Age. In approximately 70% of cases, pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in people over 60 years of age.
  • Food rich in fats. A diet rich in fat and meat can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Chronic pancreatitis. Long-term inflammation of the pancreas has been associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Diabetes. Both type 1 (insulin-dependent) and type 2 (insulin-independent, adult) diabetes can be associated with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
  • Antecedents in the family. People who have cases of pancreatic cancer in their family present a high risk of developing this disease.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals. Exposure to pesticides, industrial dyes and other chemicals can increase the chance of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer symptoms

Most of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are not specific, that is, they can also be found in other diseases. That is why it is particularly important that those who present the following manifestations, immediately see a doctor:

1. You have diabetes that came on suddenly, without signs. 40% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer were diagnosed with diabetes 1-2 years before discovering their malignant disease. And scientists are of the opinion that diabetes is caused in some cases by the presence of a tumor in the body that remained undetected. Of course, diabetes is a fairly common condition, many of the diabetics not being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. However, this remains an indicator, the suspected cases being those of sudden-onset diabetes, in people who do not have this disease in their family history.

2. Yellow coloring of the eyes and skin. Even the smallest pancreatic tumor can block the bile duct in the gallbladder, causing jaundice.

3. Itching on the skin, palms and soles. A lesser known side effect of jaundice is itching in the palms and soles. This is a skin reaction to bilirubin, the yellow-brown substance from the liver that causes yellowing of the skin.

4. Lack of appetite. Six to eight months before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, patients involved in an Italian study reported a sudden decrease in appetite and a tendency to feel full after eating very little.

5. Change in taste. In the same Italian study, some of the patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer declared that they suddenly lost their taste for coffee, wine and cigarettes. In addition, the smell of coffee and alcohol makes them nauseous.

6. Heartburn. No cramps, no pain, but the burning that radiates to the dorsal area. The discomfort disappears when you lean forward.

7. Enlarged gallbladder. Blockage of the bile outlet channel causes accumulation in the bladder and therefore its volume increase.

8. Light-colored, greasy, very foul-smelling stools. If a pancreatic tumor prevents digestive enzymes from entering the intestines, the result is the inability of the body to digest fatty foods. This is an early symptom, often neglected.

9. Blackish stools. On the other hand, bleeding in the upper intestines causes this symptom.

10. Sudden and unexplained weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily a symptom of the spread of cancer to the liver, but occurs as a result of the disruption of pancreatic enzyme activity.

The information presented in this website is informative and does not replace the medical diagnosis or the product leaflet. Any decision regarding your health should only be made after consulting your doctor.

Source: DoctorulZilei by www.doctorulzilei.ro.

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