November is #PancreaticCancerAwareness month and we’ll be sharing information all month long on the symptoms and treatments of this deadly disease to keep you aware and educated. Our goal is to prevent late stage diagnosis which we feel is the best way to beat cancer.
WHAT IS THE PANCREAS?
The pancreas is an organ that is about 6 inches long. It’s located deep in your belly between your stomach and backbone in the upper part of your abdomen. Your liver, intestine, spleen and stomach surround your pancreas.
The pancreas makes pancreatic juices. These juices contain enzymes that help break down and digest food. The juices flow through a system of ducts leading to the main pancreatic duct. The pancreatic juices flow through the main duct to the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.
The pancreas is also a gland that makes insulin and other hormones. These hormones enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. They help the body use or store the energy that comes from food. For example, insulin helps control the amount of sugar in the blood.
Pancreatic cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the pancreas, which often begins in the pancreatic ducts. The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is still largely unknown, but certain factors are known to increase the risk. They include increasing age, male gender, cigarette smoking, high fat diet, diabetes, and a family history of the disease in close relatives.
- In 2019 an estimated 56,770 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S., and more than 45,750 will die from the disease.
- Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States surpassing breast cancer. It is expected to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related death in the US by the year 2020, surpassing colorectal cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially for more than 40 years.
- Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. For all stages combined, 91% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five years of diagnosis – only 9% will survive more than five years.
Stay tuned for more blogs which will include information on Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment.
Source: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, The Pancreas, http://pancreatic.org/pancreatic-cancer/about-the-pancreas/the-pancreas
Source: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Pancreatic Cancer Facts, http://pancreatic.org/pancreatic-cancer/pancreatic-cancer-facts