Located in the abdomen, the pancreas is partly between the spine and stomach and partly in the curve of the small intestine. As a result, small tumors cannot be felt and symptoms manifest when the tumor is big enough to affect surrounding organs.
Here’s why pancreatic cancer incidences are rising:
• Pancreatic cancer is stealthy in nature. Many people with pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until the cancer has advanced and that’s why a majority of them die within a short time after diagnosis.
• Since pancreatic cancer is usually too advanced when diagnosed, many of the patients are not eligible for surgery as a treatment. This minimizes the chances of survival.
• Increased tobacco use – Men have a higher likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer compared to women because of smoking.
• Race – African Americans have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer which may be contributed by high smoking rates and diabetes.
• Even when pancreatic cancer is detected early, it is extremely aggressive. In fact, it has been noted that 70% of patients with pancreatic cancer who've been successfully operated on can suffer a relapse.
When a patient undergoes surgery, a large part of the pancreas is removed. The insulin-producing parts of the pancreas are the ones left in the body, meaning that the patient gets to survive with the small portion of their pancreas. Most of the people who die from pancreatic cancer die after the disease has spread to and destroyed the liver.
The Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer.
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