Pancreatic cancer impacts around 10,500 people in the UK each year, making it the 10th most common cancer.
While anyone can be diagnosed, older people are most heavily affected with 45% of those diagnosed aged 75 and over.
The pancreas is an organ at the top of your abdomen which helps digest food and make hormones such as insulin.
Many pancreatic cancers are linked to your lifestyle, but other risk factors include:
- History of pancreatic cancer in the family
- You’re already living with chronic pancreatitis. (About 70% of cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to heaving drinking over a prolonged period of time)
- Smoking – around 20% of cases are caused by smoking
- Red meat – there is some evidence of a link between red meat and an increased risk.
Some suggestions on how to lower your risk include:
- Try to lose weight
- Cut down on red and processed meats
- Try to reduce alcohol intake
- Try to quit smoking.
Signs to look out for:
Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t have obvious symptoms, but some can include:
- Abdominal or back pain
- Yellowing of the whites of your eyes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes to your stools.
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to be checked by your GP immediately. It’s also important to note that some of these symptoms are common and can be caused by other conditions, however, it is still vital to see your GP.
The treatment you have will depend on where the cancer is, whether it has spread, the type of pancreatic cancer it is, if it can be removed and/or general health and fitness.
Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and management of symptoms.
Remember, we are here to support you throughout your journey with cancer. Find out more about ways we could help you here.