Page 18 - Scene Magazine 46-01 January 2021
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  Health Scene
   Pancreatic Cancer Awareness – A Preventative Discussion with a Bronson Specialist
• Dark urine
• Light-colored or greasy stools
• Itchy skin
• Pain in the abdomen or back
• Unexplained weight loss, poor appe-
 ed 47,050 additional people lost their life to this disease in 2020. Dr. Timothy Cox, medical oncologist at Bronson Oncology & Hematology Specialists, offers the fol- lowing advice to help identify pancreatic cancer before it aggressively spreads to other areas of the body.
increasing in children and adolescents
No screening tests or exams are suggested for those at average risk for pancreatic cancer. If you are at an increased risk due to family history and specific genetic syn- dromes, your doctor can run tests to look for these inherited conditions. If you are considering genetic testing, the American Cancer Society strongly recommends talking with your primary care provider or a genetic counselor before getting tested. It’s important to understand what the
What is pancreatic cancer? Pancre- atic cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer. The pancreas is an organ located deep within in the abdomen. It helps with digestion, and produces hormones, includ- ing insulin.
atitis is the long-term inflammation of the pancreas. This is a condition that can develop if you smoke or consume heavy amounts of alcohol.
Slightly more common in men than women, the American Cancer Society found pancreatic cancer accounts for about three percent of all cancers in the US, and about seven percent of all cancer deaths in the US. Although cases are not incredibly common, it is often caught late, resulting in a higher death rate. Annually, an estimated 57,600 Americans are diag- nosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer treatment options:
What are some risk factors? The av- erage risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about one in 64. Although it can affect anybody, there are some risk factors that can increase your chance of developing the disease.
• Smoking: Smoking is the greatest
Additionally, certain inherited genetic syndromes are thought to be linked to pancreatic cancer, including the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (also related to breast and ovarian cancer), the p16/CDKN2A gene (often associated with skin and eye melanomas), and the STK11 gene (also linked with polyps in the digestive tract and several other cancers).
Quit the habit. If you’re a smoker, breaking the habit now is important. Bronson respiratory therapists are avail- able for one-on-one smoking cessation support and information. To learn more about these services in Battle Creek, call (269) 245-8438.
Last year, longtime host of Jeopardy, Alex Trebek, lost his life to pancreatic cancer. He was not alone. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimat-
tite, nausea and/or vomiting
 The American Cancer Society found pancreatic cancer accounts for about three percent of all cancers in the U.S., and about seven percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.
  risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer. In fact, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is twice as high for smokers compared to non-smokers. It is estimated that about 25 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are caused from cigarette smoking. Cigar smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco can also increase your risk.
What are the signs of pancreatic cancer? The pancreas is located deep inside your abdomen and is covered by other organs, like the stomach and intes- tines. Because of this, tumors cannot be seen or felt by your doctor during routine physical exams. People usually have little to no symptoms until the cancer has become very large or has spread to other organs. Because of this, it is very import- ant to look out for specific warning signs. Though these warning signs are often related to other medical conditions. You should talk to your primary care provider immediately if you experience:
“What an amazing team! It makes my heart happy.” After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Stacey’s father chose Bronson Cancer Center in Battle Creek for his chemotherapy treatment. You can read about their experience with his cancer treatment team at https://www. team-it-makes-my-heart-happy.
• Obesity or carrying excess weight around the waistline: If you have a BMI over 30, you are at a 20 percent increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Additionally, carrying extra weight in your abdomen, even if you are not considered overweight or obese, may also put you at an increased risk.
If you receive a pancreatic cancer diag- nosis and choose to pursue a treatment plan, state-of-the-art care isn’t far away. Bronson Cancer Center in Battle Creek is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and has been recognized nationally for patient safety. The center offers the latest in technology and medicine to help you get back to the life you love. Ask your primary care provider for a referral. Learn more about cancer care services
• Type 2 diabetes: Though the reason is not yet known, pancreatic cancer is more common in people with type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is
• Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin): This is the first warning sign most people notice with pancreatic cancer!
in southwest Michigan at bronsonhealth. com/cancer.
as obesity in these age groups also rises. • Chronic pancreatitis: Chronic pancre-
• Workplace exposure: Heavy exposure to certain chemicals used in the dry cleaning and metalworking industries may raise the risk of developing pancre- atic cancer.
tests can − and can’t − tell you, and what results might mean.
In addition to the lifestyle risk factors listed above, there are also risk factors that cannot be changed. Pancreatic cancer is slightly more common in men and in African Americans. Almost all pancreatic cancer diagnosis are in people over age 45, and the average age of diagnosis is 70 years old.
Catching pancreatic cancer as early as possible is crucial, as survival rates in- crease when it hasn’t aggressively spread to other organs. Depending on prognosis, the type of pancreatic cancer and your own personal decisions, pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery, chemo- therapy, and/or radiation treatment.
Pancreatic cancer screening options:
Nationally recognized cancer care –

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