*Many people may have heard about lung cancer, breast cancer, or even cervical cancer because it is well publicized in the media. Well, I am here to bring awareness to you about pancreatic cancer which kills thousands yearly. While you can find a lump at the doctor for breast cancer, pancreatic cancer goes undetected for many years. As shown in the image, the pancreas is approximately 6 inches and is located behind the stomach at the rear of the abdomen. The enzymes from the pancreas aids the digestive system along with helping to keep blood sugar level balanced.
Often times by the time someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer it is so bad that not even surgery can help. Pancreatic cancer affects every race. Actor, Patrick Swayze, best known for his role in Dirty Dancing passed away from pancreatic cancer. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, reportedly, was recently diagnosed with the same disease, although she has yet to admit that it’s true.
Having overcome many obstacles in my life and experiencing things some people won’t in a lifetime, the one that stands out to me is when I took care of my aunt, during her chemotherapy fight against pancreatic cancer. The raw emotions and the memories created during the last days of my aunt’s hospice care required me to become quickly educated in transitions the body goes through during end of life. My aunt passed away during cancer awareness month and it is because of this experience that I am lead to empower the community about this terminal disease.
You are at an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer if you smoke, are diabetic, maintain an unhealthy diet, obese, have liver problems, and/or have a family history. Let’s look at some of the risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer. First, fast food restaurants are everywhere on every corner. No wonder the children and adults are obese. “A study showed that if you drank over 2 sodas per week, you double your risk of getting Pancreatic Cancer”. Dr. Oz Pancreatic Risk Factor. Retrieved July 31, 2011 from http://healthybodydaily.com/dr-oz-cancer/dr-oz-risk-factors-for-pancreatic-cancer
Second, smoking is responsible for up to 30% of pancreatic cancer and “20% may be associated with dietary factors. Only 5-10% are hereditary in nature”. Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD, Pancreatic Cancer. (2011, February 6). Pancreatic Cancer. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/280605-overview#aw2aab6b2b3aa
If you don’t want to be part of the statistic, then quit smoking, lose weight, and eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and reduce fat in your diet by avoiding things like processed meats ie. bacon and bologna.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms may include pain in the upper part of your abdomen that may be felt in your back, jaundice, and losing weight. There are other conditions that may cause the above symptoms so the best thing to do is to see your doctor.
Possible treatments for pancreatic cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, alternative medicine/treatment, and clinical trials. “Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on the stage and location of the cancer as well as on your age, overall health and personal preferences.” Pancreatic Cancer (2011). Retrieved July 31, 2011 from http://www.bing.com/health/article/mayo-125967/Pancreatic-cancer?q=pancreatic+cancer+symptoms#symptoms
Dr Diane Simeone, the President of the American Pancreatic Association, and Dr Elizabeth Jaffee, founder of the Pancreas Cancer Vaccine and Director of Translational Research at Johns Hopkins University are playing a part in spreading the word about the potential vaccine to help combat the cancer during the cancer treatment process. Dr. Bert Vogelstein of John Hopkins is hard at work trying to develop a test to detect the disease before an individual has symptoms. Also, Dr. Ralph Hruban from John Hopkins is working on identifying hereditary causes for the disease.
Until we find a cure for this horrific disease, you can participate in the NFPTR registry by completing a questionnaire at http://pathology.jhu.edu/pancreas/nfptr/who.php
There are many events held worldwide to bring awareness about pancreatic cancer but the following upcoming event during cancer awareness month is expected to draw an enormous crowd from across the nation:
Saturday, October 29, 2011, Mini Fashion Show & VIP After Party to be held at the Mirage Lounge at Quality Inn Sawgrass Conference Center, 1711 N. University Drive, Plantation, Florida. Purchase your tickets or vendor tables at http://www.wornbyacelebrity.com/id73.html
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