Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and tomorrow, November 21, more than 80 healthcare organizations in 30 countries will come together to shine a light on the devastating impact of this disease. The annual one-day campaign is an initiative of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition (WPCC) and Connected Health in Wexford is joining the efforts to raise awareness and educate the public on risk factors, symptoms, tests and treatments available.
“With a five-year survival rate in the single digits, pancreatic cancer is one of the world’s deadliest cancers,” Betty Rich, CEO of Connected Health commented. “Now is the time to get the word out to help increase early detection and provide better treatment and quality of life to those affected by this awful disease.”
When it comes to any cancer, Connected Health prioritizes prevention to reduce risk. That means maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen and communicating early and often with your physician when symptoms appear or won’t go away. Treatment is more successful when any cancer is caught early.
To help raise awareness and connect the dots between pancreatic cancer risk factors and symptoms, Connected Health is sharing the top 10 risk factors and 8 symptoms to watch.
Top 10 Risk Factors:
- Inherited genetic mutations
- Family history of pancreatic cancer
- Family history of other cancers
- Pancreatitis (chronic and hereditary)
- Race/ethnicity (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews have a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer)
- Age (Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are over the age of 60.)
- Diet (While more research is needed, a diet high in red and processed meats may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. A diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk.
Symptoms to Watch:
- Abdominal and mid-back pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Change in stool
- New-onset diabetes
- Digestive problems
- Loss of appetite
- Mood Change
Every day more than 1,200 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and most at a later stage because the symptoms can be vague and only slightly bothersome. Connected Health urges consumers to listen to their bodies when something seems off or a symptom hasn’t subsided and be your own advocate with your healthcare provider.
“I can’t stress enough how important that one-on-one relationship is with your primary care physician when you are concerned about cancer,” Rich added. “Our physician is available 24/7 to speak with and address our members concerns. That kind of access can save lives.”
Connected Health offers a Pancreatic Cancer Screening for members and non-members alike that includes two blood tests, a meeting with the physician to discuss results and recommendations for reducing risks or follow up testing if needed.