I didn’t know anything about pancreatic cancer until my friend Rose lost her dad. He was diagnosed on March 2015 and died July 2015.
In her own words “I lost my my dad three months ago to Pancreatic cancer, he was diagnosed with carcinoma of the pancreas that was metastatic in March 2015. We had the first session of chemotherapy in May. He became really weak and his body couldn’t take the drugs, he was getting thinner by the day. We decided to travel for an option for surgery but the Dr said that the cancer has spread to a lot of organs in his body and said he can only do a palliative chemotherapy if his body can take it. We came back to Nigeria and he was still too weak for chemotherapy and the fear of losing him to chemotherapy was tormenting us everyday. We opted for other ways of fighting cancer, which didn’t work. My dad died on 4th July 2015. As tears roll, I seek peace to stop the pain, I pray for God to grant you peace as in the bosom of the Lord.” Amen
According to the American Cancer Society, Pancreatic Cancer is the number “4” cancer killer in the U.S, and the only one that does not have a known cure. The lack of early detection methods and research continues to slow progress towards a cure. There is no known cure for this deadly disease and over 42,400 people – 116 + per day are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year.
It’s the deadliest cancer out there and the death rates are still rising, claiming more than 95 percent of those diagnosed in five years.
In the last 5 years more than 210,000 people have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and over 92% of those individuals have passed away during the first year of their diagnosis. While only 5% of those living past the first year live to the fifth year and 3% of those will succumb to the disease sometime beyond that point.
Pancreatic Cancer is one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially over the last 25 years. Those that make it past the first year have been known to live significantly longer today than those diagnosed before 2006. In Africa people die every day from pancreatic cancer without knowing knowing the cause of the death or wrong diagnosis.
“To date, we have no promising treatment for pancreatic cancer. Prevention remains, therefore, the only possibility
The location, type and stage of the tumor can determine the type of symptoms a patient may experience. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer aren’t very noticeable in the early stages so most patients have advanced disease by the time it becomes noticeable. Commons symptoms that could lead to a diagnosis are jaundice, stomach and/or back pain, diabetes, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, blood clots, fatigue, digestive difficulties and depression.
Who is most susceptible?
People over age 60 are most susceptible to developing pancreatic cancer. Individuals between 35-45 years of age that consume large amounts of alcohol for many years have also been known for developing the disease. African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews have higher incidences of pancreatic cancer. Smoking causes approximately 25% of all cases while other factors such as a family history of pancreatic cancer, diabetes, and people considered clinically obese and the lack of physical activity can increase the risk acquiring the disease.
How can you reduce the risk of acquiring pancreatic cancer?
There are certain lifestyle changes that you can make to minimize the risk of acquiring pancreatic cancer. The most obvious change would be for individuals most susceptible to the disease to receive medical examinations on a regular basis. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can also reduce the risk of acquiring the disease.
Early detection is essential for treatment of the cancer, and effective screening increases chances of finding cancerous cells while they are treatable. There is no standard test for pancreatic cancer so anyone experiencing the symptoms mentioned above should ask the doctor to perform CT scan, MRI or specialized ultrasound checking for the disease.
As November is world pancreatic month awareness, let us spread the word. We could be saving a lot of lives by doing that.
My heart is with those who are currently fighting this disease and I pray that God gives their families the strength to take care of them.
I pray for Rose and her family, that God should comfort them and give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Rest in perfect peace, Rose’s dad.
Please guys share this anyway you can. Your facebook’s page, Twitter, blogs etc. I need it to reach a wider audience to create this awareness.
Image source : instagram @ronex14