November is pancreatic cancer awareness month and yesterday was #pancreaticawarenessday2017.
Pancreatic Cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK but awareness groups say that there is not enough knowledge about the disease. I for one am totally in the dark about pancreatic cancer so I’ve done some research which will hopefully be helpful for you too.
What is pancreatic cancer?
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. Just going back to basics – the pancreas is located just above the intestines.
www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/ has lots of information about pancreatic cancer. This information has been found on their website:
“Pancreatic cancers are divided into two main groups.
- Exocrine cancers start in the exocrine cells. These cells make enzymes. About 95 out of 100 pancreatic cancers (95%) are exocrine tumours.
- Endocrine cancers (also called neuroendocrine tumours or NETs) start in endocrine cells. These cells produce hormones. Less than 5 in 100 (5%) of all pancreatic cancers are neuroendocrine tumours….
Signs and symptoms.
Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. This can make it hard to diagnose early. But as the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms. These will depend on the type of pancreatic cancer and where it is in the pancreas. The symptoms and how bad they are can vary for each person.
It’s important to remember that symptoms described here can be caused by more common things, such as indigestion or heartburn. They can also be caused by conditions such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean that someone has pancreatic cancer. But if you have any symptoms that you’re worried about it’s important that you see your GP….
Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a “silent cancer” because it is thought that the early symptoms can be vague and unrecognised. Pancreatic cancer symptoms however can present themselves early in many cases. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:”
Pancreatic cancer is not common in younger people statistically but it still happens. Please be vigilant and be aware of any of these symptoms. Please contact your GP in the first instance if you have any worries.