Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland that’s part of the digestive system. As is the case with all cancers, the early pancreatic cancer is picked up, the greater the effectiveness of treatment. It is therefore imperative to act on any warning signs as soon they emerge.
Unfortunately, a tumour in the pancreas does not usually cause any symptoms in the early stages, which can make it difficult to diagnose, according to the NHS.
There are a number or reporting warning signs, however.
One symptom to watch out for is pain in the back or stomach area that is often worse when lying down, says the health body.
According to Cancer Research UK, the pain may be slightly alleviated when sitting up.
“It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be caused by many different conditions and are not usually the result of cancer,” says the NHS.
But you should contact a GP if you’re concerned or these symptoms start suddenly, advises the health body.
It is important to note that you may also develop symptoms of diabetes if you have pancreatic cancer.
As the NHS explains, this is because the tumour can stop the pancreas producing insulin as it normally would.
Am I at risk?
According to Cancer Research UK, doctors don’t know what causes most pancreatic cancers, but there are some factors that may increase your risk of developing it.
One risk factor you cannot change is age, with almost half of all new cases diagnosed in people aged 75 and over, notes the charity.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that may increase your risk of developing cancer, however.
The gravest risk factor is smoking.
A large Cancer Research UK study looking at lifestyle factors found that nearly one in three pancreatic cancers may be linked to smoking.
Research has shown that exposure to second hand smoke doesn’t increase your risk of pancreatic cancer, however.
Another unhealthy lifestyle habit that may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer is long term heavy drinking.
Research has found the risk to be higher in people who drink more than six units of alcohol a day compared to those who drink less than six units.
Published at Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:55:00 +0000