Pancreatic Cancer Q&A
Q. Who is likely to develop pancreatic cancer?
A. Most cases occur after age 60. Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop pancreatic cancer, and it's more common in men than women. African-Americans tend to get this cancer more often than individuals from other ethnic groups. People with diabetes also have a greater risk, as do those with a history of chronic pancreatitis-a chronic inflammation of the pancreas. Plus, having a member of your immediate family with a history of pancreatic, colorectal or ovarian cancer increases your own chances of developing it.
Q. Should I be screened for pancreatic cancer?
A. Health experts don't currently recommend routine screening. People who suspect they're at risk should discuss screening with their doctor.
Q. What are the symptoms?
A. Early pancreatic cancer frequently goes undetected because there often are no noticeable signs. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
- Pain in the middle or upper abdomen or
- Yellowed skin and eyes
- Weakness or fatigue
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
A. Take these steps to lower your risk:
- If you smoke, quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit your consumption of pork, red meat and processed meat-such as lunch meat, sausage and bacon.
- Avoid cooking meats at high temperatures. Doing so can help reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals that are formed in high temperature cooking.
- Include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.