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Understanding the tragic truths of Pancreatic cancer

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 6:49 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) -In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates 57,600 people (30,400 men and 27,200 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Around 81% of people diagnosed will die of pancreatic cancer.

The number of pancreatic cancer-related related deaths increases each year. Cancer statistics illustrate trends over time, so researchers can assess changes in the risk of developing and succumbing from specific cancers as well as cancer overall.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. It ranks in the top five leading causes of death in both men and women. Pancreatic cancer is slightly more common in men than in women. It accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all the deaths.

The chance of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer varies from person to person due to different risk factors. Some risk factors for pancreatic cancer are tobacco use, obesity, diabetes, and chronic pancreatitis.

Raising awareness about pancreatic cancer allows people who may fall into the risk category to be screened sooner than later.

New technology show scientists the gene changes found in pancreas cells which cause them to transition to cancer since pancreatic cancer develops over years. Scientists are able to monitor those changes in the pancreas at its various stages. Researchers use the information collected to develop tests from detecting gene-changes in pancreatic pre-cancerous conditions.

There are new therapies available to treat pancreatic cancer such as targeted therapy, ablation or embolization therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, and pain control.

As of January 2019, there were an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. The number of cancer survivors is projected to increase to 22.2 million by 2030. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 10,050 new cancer cases and about 3,520 deaths in Nebraska alone.

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