The American Cancer Society defines pancreatic cancer as, “a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas.” It was predicted that 2019 saw a 2% rise in pancreatic cancer rates as more than 56,700 Americans would be diagnosed with the disease. Among them, was popular game show host Alex Trebek whose diagnosis raised global awareness.
Trebek’s diagnosis and death this this week frightened his fans as pancreatic cancer has statistically had such grim outcomes. According to Cancer.net, “Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to diagnose. This is because there are no specific, cost-effective screening tests that can easily and reliably find early stage pancreatic cancer in people with no symptoms. This means it is often not found until later stages when the cancer can no longer be removed with surgery and has spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body.”
For people with increased family risk for pancreatic cancer, there is genetic testing available. This test does not look for the cancer itself, but for the gene that pre-disposes one to the cancer. There are other risk factors for pancreatic cancer that one should be aware of:
- Tobacco use
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace.
- Age – Goes up with age with almost all patients diagnosed over the age of 45.
- Gender – Men are slightly more at risk than women.
- Race – African Americans are slightly more at risk than whites.
- Diet – Diets that are high in red and processed meats and low in fruits and vegetables.
- Lack of physical activity
- Alcohol use.
To schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider at any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, you may visit our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.