What is pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow and divide to form a tumour in the pancreas, a large gland located in the abdomen that aids in digestion, according to the NHS.

The most common type of pancreatic cancer is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and it usually extremely difficult to detect, leading it to be known as the silent killer.

Causes of pancreatic cancer are not fully understand, however, there are certain known factors that increase the risk of developing the disease.

Age is the largest factor, as pancreatic cancer mainly affects people aged 50 to 80 and around half of all new cases are diagnosed in people aged 75 or over.

Weight is also linked to pancreatic cancer, as is smoking and a history of health conditions such as diabetes, or chronic pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas).

In Europe, pancreatic cancer is the fourth-deadliest cancer and patients affected with pancreatic cancer lose 98 per cent of their healthy life expectancy at the point of diagnosis, according to Pancreatic Cancer Europe.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat because a tumour in the pancreas often does not result in symptoms – meaning it is often not diagnosed until it is too late.

According to the NHS and PancreaticCancer.org, the first symptom of pancreatic cancer is typically pain in the back or stomach, which can be worse when eating.

Weight loss and loss of appetite are also symptoms of the disease, as well as changes in stool, pancreatitis, and nausea.

Culled from Independent News


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