Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer and has been primarily because it is often found late. There have been no means of detecting it early enough to allow time for intervention to save lives. According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is predicted that 50,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year with only 7% likely to survive for five years. It is very often insidious and fatal.
It is strongly linked to cigarette-smoking; likely due to the nicotine which is a known cancer-causing agent. In fact, it is found high numbers of cigarette smokers. It has also been strongly linked to diabetes; likely related to the role of the pancreas in the control of diabetes. With type-1 diabetes, there are no beta cells functioning in the pancreas to release insulin for blood sugar control in the body. With type-2 diabetes, there are some functioning beta cells. Tumors called bezoars are found on the pancreas. Consider also the fact that many artificial sweeteners have a warning on their packaging stating that they have been known to cause cancer in laboratory test animals. The development of pancreatic cancer itself may arise from a combination of the two: cigarette-smoking and diabetes. Also, diabetes is an illness which tends to have high numbers among African-Americans; even gestational diabetes which is found during pregnancy. Research continues.
However, the same NIH article gives an array of hope for early detection. It highlights the results of a recent research study which found and tested fluid-filled sacs called exosomes released by cells. They tested both normal cells and cells with cancer. They found a substance marker called GPC-1 common to the cancer cells which was noted to be in high numbers in late pancreatic cancer and lower numbers in early pancreatic cancer. In one instance, this marker was detected in pancreatic cancer when no tumors were noted on imaging.
This is ground-breaking! Pancreatic cancer has been found so late that no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical intervention was even feasible. Researchers note in the article that having such an early means of finding pancreatic cancer can lead to having more time to treat with more treatment options.
Mauldin Publishing & Literacy House will keep you posted of any updates on this huge punch in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Stay tuned also to the Official Website of D.M. Blake for the next upcoming issue of her AfricAm Health Focus News Journal; which provides up-to-date health information on a personalized level.
In the meantime, stay well. Avoid cigarette smoking. Even if you do smoke tobacco, it is never too late to quit. The beneficial effects on the body begin to take shape as soon as you quit! In fact, the lungs can regenerate themselves if you quit timely, but it will take the same amount of time that you have smoked. They are only beyond repair after twenty years. There is hope!
In addition, stay active, exercise, and keep a healthy diet low in fat, salt, and concentrated sweets with plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and water. These actions alone keep your weight under control. Weight is the number one predisposing factor in the development of diabetes. Exercise actually helps to control blood sugar because the blood sugar is used during uptake at the muscle level during the exercise.
Let us celebrate the newly found hope of early detection of pancreatic cancer by packing our own punch in the fight against the disease. Join the fight against pancreatic cancer yourself on an individual level. Follow all of these healthy tips to stay well! The fight against pancreatic cancer goes on!
D.M. Blake, a.k.a. Dana Morris-Blake, is a Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse, and Medical/Legal Consultant with 22 years of experience in healthcare in a variety of fields including medical/surgical acute care, long term care/geriatrics, primary care, disease management, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, public health, and employee health. She is in private practice as the sole Family Nurse Practitioner and Director of Beckett-Graves Health & Wellness, a Nurse-Practitioner-run family practice providing primary care. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Mauldin Publishing & Literacy House, the publisher of her quarterly AfricAm Health Focus News Journal.