Cancer is devastating in all its forms, but most experts consider pancreatic cancer to be the worst of the worst. Over 200,000 diagnoses are made each year globally, and of all the cancers it has the lowest survival rate over a five year period. This is partly because when diagnosed it has often reached an advanced level. Furthermore, screening for this cancer is not defined well with the exception of certain groups of people who are high risk or who have specific genetic disorders. Below are some tips for preventing this silent killer.
Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
Those who are overweight are susceptible to developing this cancer, particularly as they age. Studies indicate that excessive body fat raises one’s risk between twenty and fifty percent when compared to people that have a BMI (body mass index) which is normal. Additionally, a higher body weight causes other issues such as excessive inflammation, along with hormonal disruption. Those who are overweight appear to be more vulnerable to carcinogens, and are less able to resist them. A connection has also been found between weight and insulin resistance. Those who have greater concentrations of insulin in their blood may promote the growth of tumors.
Lower Your Intake Of Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol is another major risk factor in the prevalence of pancreatic cancer. Those that drink heavily increase their susceptibility to this disease, largely due to the mutational increase that occurs in their genes. Every type of alcoholic beverage will become cancerogenic when drunk excessively and as such drinkers are advised to keep their consumption moderate. Those who limit themselves to one drink each day are unlikely to develop pancreatic cancer, whereas those who consume six drinks or more within twenty four hours for years have a higher likelihood of contracting it. The greatest risk factor is among those who have had chronic pancreatitis.
Engage In Physical Fitness Regularly
Statistically, physical fitness has been found to dramatically lower one’s chances of developing cancer of the pancreas. Specifically, this risk reduction ranges from twelve to thirty seven percent. A number of studies have been made to determine exactly why physical fitness seems to decrease both PDA (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas) and other forms of cancer. The results of these studies have found that those who exercise regularly lower their glucose levels, as well as the harmful triglycerols within their bodies, which in turn shields them from type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, those who exercise usually maintain a healthy body weight, which further lowers their insulin resistance.
Increase Your Usage of Statins
Tests have indicated that an increased statin bioavailability can substantially lower one’s chances of contracting pancreatic cancer. A statin is a type of medication which will reduce one’s lipids. They’ve also shown positive results against cardiovascular disease. Research shows that those who used statins for more than twelve months reduced their risk of developing PDA by over thirty percent, with those using statins for ten years lowering their risk by fifty percent.
Get Preventive Pancreatic Surgery
One method of avoiding PDA is through a procedure called preemptive surgery. This operation is minimally invasive and has seen increased demand among some patients due to the protection it provides from malignant growth as well as precancerous lesions. In particular, the mucinous cystic neoplasia is at great risk of developing malignancy, and this form of surgery is highly recommended to avoid it.
Get Screening If You’re Fifty Years Of Age Or Older
Pancreatic screening is advised for those who are fifty years of age or older, particularly for those who are predisposed to this condition. The earlier pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, the greater likelihood one has in overcoming it. A number of technologies have been developed to help doctors detect the disease as soon as possible, including CT, or computerized tomography, and MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging.
Computerized tomography has proven highly effective when applied to the abdomen. After inspecting this area most doctors will also perform an endoscopic cholangiopancreatography. Both MRI and ultrasound which is endoscopic are exceptionally accurate when it comes to detecting malignancy. Once malignancy is identified, additional procedures can be performed, such as FNA, or fine needle aspiration, which will allow a tissue to be collected which can then be evaluated.
Stop Smoking And Using Tobacco
One of the greatest preventive measures one can take to lower their risk of contracting cancer of the pancreas is to quit smoking and using tobacco. Studies indicate that cigarettes and tobacco account for between twenty five and thirty percent of all pancreatic cancer cases. Those who stop smoking for five years will lower their PDA risk by about the same amount as most people within the population.
Additional Facts Regarding Pancreatic Cancer
The majority of cancers involving the pancreas are PDA, or pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. This variant is considered the most severe, with about sixty percent of patients succumbing within three months. Thirty percent have been found to live up to a year after diagnoses, and with radiation, surgery or chemotherapy may be able to prolong their lives another five years. There is a relationship between this form of cancer and type 2 Diabetes, with diabetics having an increased chance of developing cancer either in the liver or pancreas.
Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors in the development of this cancer. Another is cardiovascular disease. Both are modifiable to a large extent. Studies show that roughly 34 percent of the population in the United States is obese. In Europe, PDA cases were highest among males who live in the Baltic region. Worldwide, Latin America has been found to have the lowest rates. Research has also indicated that some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing this form of cancer. Those who smoke also have a greater risk of developing this disease, along with those that use tobacco. Aging is also positively correlated with a risk in developing pancreatic cancer, as many diagnoses are made in individuals that are between the ages of sixty and eighty.