November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month; know the signs and symptoms

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a time when we focus increased attention on the disease — the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Dr Sue Mitra

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Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease rarely detected at an early stage.

It is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.

It is estimated that more than 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by the end of this year, and more than 48,000 people will die of it.

The exact causes of pancreatic cancer are still not yet well understood.

Factors that increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer include diabetes, smoking, chronically inflamed pancreas, family history of genetic disorders that can increase cancer risk, family history of pancreatic cancer, and older age.

Additional factors that may increase risk include consuming a diet high in red or processed meats and obesity.

Dr. Mitra’s previous three columns:

Dr Sue Mitra

Pancreatic cancer begins in the pancreas — an organ in the abdomen that lies behind the lower portion of the stomach.

The pancreas has two primary functions: It makes digestive enzymes such as amylase and lipase; And it also produces hormones, such as insulin, that control how our bodies store and utilize glucose — sugar that is the body’s primary source of energy.

There are two forms of pancreatic cancer: exocrine and endocrine.