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Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
November 11, 2019
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer occurs within the tissues of the pancreas, which is a vital endocrine organ located behind the stomach. The pancreas plays an essential role in digestion by producing enzymes that the body needs to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
The pancreas also produces two important hormones: glucagon and insulin. These hormones are responsible for controlling glucose (sugar) metabolism. Insulin helps cells metabolize glucose to make energy and glucagon helps raise glucose levels when they are too low.
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:
– Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back
– Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
– New-onset diabetes
– Blood clots
– Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
The cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. This type of cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin to grow within the pancreas and form tumors.
Normally, healthy cells grow and die in moderate numbers. In the case of cancer, there is an increased amount of abnormal cell production, and these cells eventually take over the healthy cells.
While doctors and researchers don’t know what causes the changes in the cells, they do know some common factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing this type of cancer.
The two most significant risk factors are inherited gene mutations and acquired gene mutations. Genes control the way cells acts, so changes to those genes may lead to cancer.
Factors that may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer include:
– Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
– Family history of genetic syndromes that can increase cancer risk, including a BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome and familial atypical mole-malignant melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome
– Family history of pancreatic cancer
– Older age, as most people are diagnosed after age 65
A large study demonstrated that the combination of smoking, long-standing diabetes and a poor diet increases the risk of pancreatic cancer beyond the risk of any one of these factors alone.
You may reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer if you:
– Stop smoking. If you smoke, try to stop. Talk to your doctor about strategies to help you stop, including support groups, medications and nicotine replacement therapy. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
– Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain it. If you need to lose weight, aim for a slow, steady weight loss — 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Combine daily exercise with a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains with smaller portions to help you lose weight.
– Choose a healthy diet. A diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains may help reduce your risk of cancer.
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Mahalagang Paalala: Anumang uri ng food supplement ay hindi gaot at hindi maaaring gamiting panggamot sa anumang uri ng sakit.
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