The following is the news that no one wants to hear, even when it's happening to someone besides ourselves or our family
Patrick Swayze Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer (from FoxNews.com)
Pancreatic Cancer strikes fear into anyone who hears about it. The mortality statistics are not an exaggertion. However, there is hope. With awareness of the risk factors and symptoms, it is possible to treat it and long-term survival is possible.
The link below is to the Pancreatic Cancer webpage of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, which according to US News & World Report, is the Number 1 cancer center in the USA.
Pancreatic Cancer Research & Treatment Information from M. D. Anderson
The key risk factors for pancreatic cancer are the following:
- History of tobacco use
- Family history of colon or pancreatic cancer, or certain lymphomas
- Age over 50
- The disease occurs slightly more frequently in men than in women
Symptoms are generally vague and disregarded as "not that serious". If you have any of the above risk factors, please do not ignore the following symptoms if they persist. See your doctor regularly and discuss options for testing or scanning.
Jaundice If the bile duct becomes blocked, the level of bilirubin in blood rises, causing noticeably yellow skin and eyes. Jaundice is present in about 50% of pancreatic cancer cases.
Change of color in urine and stool urine may turn orange or the color of iced tea. Stool may turn yellow or reddish, or become grey or chalky-white. These are also symptoms of a blocked bile duct.
Pain occurs when a pancreatic tumor presses against or infiltrates nearby nerves. Typical pancreatic pain is dull, fairly constant and mostly localized to the mid and upper back and the upper abdomen. Sometimes the pain starts in the abdomen and radiates to the back or shoulder.
Indigestion (especially with fatty foods), lack of appetite, nausea, weight loss: these symptoms may occur when a pancreatic tumor presses against the stomach and small intestine.
Sudden-onset diabetes or a sudden change in blood-sugar control in diabetics: Diabetes may be an early symptom of pancreatic cancer as well as a risk factor. The exact association between diabetes and pancreatic cancer is still being studied.
More information is available at the above link, including survivor stories and links to research news. Also visit the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, which was the charity sponsored by Sopranos star Vincent Pastore on The Celebrity Apprentice.
I wish Mr. Swayze only the best and a successful treatment plan. I pray no one reading this blog has to face this disease. But if you do, there is hope and there are resources available to you.