Every November people around the world come together to raise awareness about Pancreatic Cancer. At Texas Emergency Care, we’re here to help you learn more and know the signs of symptoms so you can be on the look out for this difficult to diagnose disease.
In 2021, about 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and more than 48,220 will die from the disease. Pancreatic cancer is currently the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US after lung and colon.
Pancreatic Cancer is a silent force, often because once it’s detected the cancer has already spread to other organs. It is difficult to catch in its early stages when it is easier to treat. Often, the first symptoms that present themselves are abdominal pain and nausea. These two symptoms can be present in any number of illnesses or disorders, so providers often do not test for pancreatic cancer first. Once these symptoms are present, however, the cancer has typically already reached Stage 4.
What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often vague, and may at first appear to be associated with other less serious conditions.
- Stomach Pain
- Mid-Back Pain
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Jaundice (yellowish eyes or skin)
- Loss of Appetite, Nausea
- Changes in Stool
- New Onset Diabetes
Why Is Pancreatic Cancer Hard to Find?
The pancreas is located deep in the abdomen, so doctors usually cannot see or feel the tumor during a physical exam. Also, pancreatic cancer symptoms are not always obvious and usually develop over time. Doctors may use several tests to make a diagnosis. But, there is no standard test to diagnose pancreatic cancer. This makes diagnosis even more complicated.
How Is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?
A pancreatic tumor can only be seen on an imaging study such as a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). Then, the doctor gets a sample of the tumor tissue to figure out the exact diagnosis.
Back in 2011 the 5-year pancreatic cancer survival rate was just 3%. Fast forward to 2021 and that statistic has increased to nearly 10% – proving that raising awareness works! Texas Emergency Care Center would like to honor those affected by pancreatic cancer by shining a light on this disease. Join us as we elevate our voices to raise awareness during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month during the month of November.