Thursday, January 21, 2010

Early Detection For Pancreatic Cancer

As some of you may know my father passed away in June of '08 from pancreatic cancer.  Like most patients it was diagnosed too late and he lived only a year from his diagnosis.  And that was longer than they predicted when the docs gave him 8 months.  He didn't go see a doctor until he was unable to eat due to vomiting and couldn't keep any food down.  The culprit was a tumor on his pancreas that  had already attached to the bottom of his stomach preventing food from passing on through hence the vomiting.  He suffered for years and years with abdomen pain, gas pain and pain in the mid back.  All chocked up to digestive issues.  He just about lived on alka seltzer.  Who knows if these could have been signs of something worse.  That is the thing about pancreatic cancer. . . it has symptoms that can be mistaken for something else.  It is one of the most deadly cancers with only 2 % of patients surviving 5 years.

I read an article in USA Today about a new test for early detection of pancreatic cancer. It is an experimental test which detects a protein found in pancreatic tumors.  The article also said that early detection is not enough.  Only 20 percent of patients with early detection survive.  Although I think this is promising news I feel that there needs to be more talk about prevention.  More discussion about lifestyle choices that can put you at risk for this type of cancer.  

My father was a heavy smoker and an alcoholic.  These have been listed as risk factors for pancreatic cancer.  Even celebrities who have come out about having this disease such as Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon were admittedly heavy drinkers and smokers.  I am not saying that these are the causes however I think that when we talk about prevention these particular lifestyle choices which can cause a myriad of health issues should be considered more closely with regard to this type of cancer.  

Check out the article here. . . 

What do you think of this news?  Do you believe in lifestyle choices putting someone at risk for cancer?  Have you lost someone from this deadly cancer?  


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting post. Since I was 20 (as I think I've mentioned before) I've had numerous breast biopsies and surgeries as a result of having
reoccurring tumors. Every 6 months I'd have to check in with my surgeon and at the very least get an MRI, if not a biopsy and surgery. That being said...

I've officially completed an ENTIRE YEAR with no changes, and I'm beyond excited about it. I find it interesting that the year is happens is also the year I became a vegetarian. Do I know for a fact that this is the reason? No. Could it be a coincidence? Of course, but with my history I'm perfectly fine continuing on this route, esp if it means I may not need to worry about this anymore.

Just a thought.


Cathy Bueti said...

Hillary, thanks for sharing. I find it interesting that since you became a vegetarian you made it a whole year without any changes. I say...continue on with whatever you are doing! It may well be working and if nothing else it will keep you healthy and I am sure you feel better.

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