Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month? Pancreatic cancer is a disease that affects the pancreas, a small organ located behind the stomach that helps the body digest food and produce insulin. When someone has pancreatic cancer, the cells in their pancreas begin to grow out of control.Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Ribbon
As one of the deadliest forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer’s survival rate is only about 9%. This means that for every 100 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, only nine will survive five years or longer.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Although there are several risk factors for pancreatic cancer -including smoking, diabetes, and family history- there are often no early warning signs or symptoms. By the time symptoms do appear, the disease has often progressed to a late stage and is more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include:
  • Pain in the abdomen or back
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Changes in stool
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor right away so they can rule out other potential causes and begin treatment if necessary.


Because pancreatic cancer can be difficult to detect, there is no one definitive test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer. To achieve the most accurate results, Doctors may use a combination of blood tests, imaging tests, biopsies, and endoscopies to make a diagnosis.
Once pancreatic cancer has been diagnosed, treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy. The type of treatment used will depend on several factors such as the stage of the disease, the patient’s overall health, and their personal preferences.
One way to prevent pancreatic cancer is by spreading awareness and educating yourself on the disease. Reaching out to a physician if you have concerns, reading informative articles like this, and making sure your family and friends know about the disease are also great ways to get started with prevention.
There are several minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures that can help treat the primary tumors including isolated pancreatic perfusion and irreversible electroporation (IRE). Liver directed therapies such as Y90 radioembolization and ablation can help treat hepatic metastasis.
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