November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

When many hear pancreatic cancer, they may think of the well known people who have had it, like Patrick Swayze and Randy Pausch. These gentlemen are just two of the thousands of people who have had pancreatic cancer in the past decade and, sadly, lost their battles. The American Cancer Society estimates that the lifetime risk of having pancreatic cancer is 1 in 72, which makes this a cause worth everyone’s attention.

Purple Ribbon Antenna Topper

What’s the most frightening about this particular form of cancer is that it is very difficult to detect.  Many times, symptoms do not appear until the cancer is in a later stage and may have metastasized.

What’s most encouraging about people with pancreatic cancer is their will, strength, and effort to fight.  They may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have them.  And it is this energy that scientists use to research new detection and possible prevention methods.

Even though detection of pancreatic cancer is difficult, The American Cancer Society lists some symptoms to watch for:

  • Jaundice (a yellow color of the eyes and skin)
  • Pain in the belly area (abdomen) or in the middle of the back
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive problems
  • Swollen gallbladder
  • Blood clots
  • Diabetes or Diabetic-like symptoms

So I thank both Patrick Swayze and Randy Pausch for not only putting a very public face to pancreatic cancer, but also for showing that your attitude towards cancer and life has a lot to do with living longer.

For more information about pancreatic cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society website.

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