Shaped like a fish or elongated pear, the pancreas is an organ that sits just behind the stomach. Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas. The American Cancer Society estimates that pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths. Unfortunately, this type of cancer is very difficult to find in the early stages. Because the pancreas is deep inside the body, early tumors cannot be seen or felt by your health care provider during routine physical exams. Most people usually have no symptoms until the cancer grows or spreads to other organs. That is why it is so important to screen for pancreatic cancer early on. UNI Urgent Care can help you understand the signs and symptoms, assist you in deciding if screening is necessary and can also help you prevent pancreatic cancer altogether.
Common risk factors include family history, age, race, and gender. Typically people who may be at higher risk of pancreatic cancer have a family history of the disease as well as a family history of inherited genetic disease. The American Cancer Society has found that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer goes up as people age, and the average age at the time of diagnosis is 70 years old. Additionally, African Americans are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than Caucasians. Men are also somewhat more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women and Diabetes puts people at higher risks. If one or many of these factors apply to you, stop by a UNI Urgent Care location to make plans for early screening and prevention.
Contributing Factors & Prevention
While we cannot change the above risks, research shows that we can work to limit other factors that could contribute to pancreatic cancer. Tobacco use, weight, and exposure to chemicals can all contribute to cancer. With about 25% of pancreatic cancers caused by cigarette smoking, avoiding tobacco can reduce your risk significantly. Obese people (BMI of 30 or more) are about 20% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Eating well and keeping your body at a healthy weight will not only reduce pancreatic cancer risk, but it will also enable your body to be able to fight many other types of cancers and diseases as well. There is no time like the present for UNI Urgent Care to assist you in making a realistic and effective health plan for avoiding pancreatic cancer!*
*American Cancer Society