Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly of all types of cancer with a 5-year survival rate at about 5-10 percent. Most patients with pancreatic cancer usually die at the end of the first year.
Why pancreatic cancer is deadly?
Late detection of Pancreatic cancer is a reason why pancreatic cancer is deadly. There are no obvious early symptoms like pains, fever and weight loss. When people feel something wrong, pancreatic cancer might already be advanced and has a poor prognosis.
The pancreas is located inside the abdomen and behind the stomach and intestines, which can make surgery tricky. The radical surgery can affect many important organs around the pancreas and high-risk complications cause patients to death. Chemotherapy, as the main treatment in various kinds of cancer, is no longer effective against pancreatic cancer.
A lack of new treatments is another important reason. There are no emerging treatments for pancreatic cancer in recent years, such as targeted therapy and immunotherapy, two of which have been available to greatly improve the survival rate of lung cancer.
Due to the low cure rate and limited treatments, ways to prevent pancreatic cancer is important. Preventative surgery to reduce the cancer risk, though applicable to the breast, ovarian, colon cancers, can not be used in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, what we can rely on is to change bad living habits to reduce the risk of getting pancreatic cancer.
Preventative risk factors you shall avoid
There are several preventative risk factors that you shall avoid to prevent pancreatic cancer.
Smoking is another risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Carcinogens in a cigarette can pass through the mouth, stomach and duodenum into the pancreas, causing damage in the pancreas and leading to pancreatic cancer.
Long-term drinking can cause chronic or acute pancreatic injury and pancreatic inflammation, leading to pancreatic cancer. It was reported that heavy drinkers were 1.46 times more likely to get pancreatic cancer than non-drinkers.
Chronic pancreatitis, which is common in patients with gallstones, can badly evolve into pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer usually occurs after 10-20 years of chronic pancreatitis.
Diabetes, accompanied by abnormal glucose metabolism and hyperinsulinemia, can lead to damage in the pancreas, increasing the chance of getting pancreatic cancer.
Overweight people are at risk of getting pancreatic cancer, and they are 1.55 times more likely to get pancreatic cancer than normal people.
Early detection can largely improve the prognosis. If you are in families at high risk of pancreatic cancer or aged over 40 with one or several risk factors, you are advised to have annual screening tests.