Elder Care in New Canaan, CT
The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach which is responsible for the production of digestive substances, insulin, and endocrine hormones. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about this particularly aggressive form of cancer, its risk factors, and what you can do to help your aging loved ones manage the illness if it occurs within your elder care journey.
Some things that you should know about pancreatic cancer include:
- Nearly 50,000 Americans will receive a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer each year, and more than 40000 with the diagnosis will die.
- This cancer, unlike many others, affects men and women equally.
- The onset of pancreatic cancer is almost always after the age of 45.
- Pancreatic cancer is not among the most common cancers, but because of its aggressive spreading and tendency to have no or very subtle symptoms in the early to moderate stages, it is a highly dangerous diagnosis.
- 95 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are due to pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
- Several other forms of pancreatic cancer exist, including adenosquamous carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, giant cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and acinar cell carcinoma.
- Some types of pancreatic cancer lead to cancerous tumors called islet cell tumors or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Though the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown, some research has indicated that there is a link between age, family, and race. Like many other forms of cancer, smoking seems to increase the risk for developing this disease.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer tend not to show up until the disease is already at an advanced stage and many people mistake their cancer symptoms for signs of other health concerns or illnesses, leading them to not seek out medical attention until they have excluded other concerns, putting them at a further stage of the disease when they get help.
The symptoms of the disease vary depending on the exactly location and type of cancer, but some of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
- Abdominal pain, particularly in the upper abdominal region. Most people describe this type of pain as a dull ache and often includes radiating pain that moves toward the back. More than 80 percent of those people with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis experience this symptom.
- Uncomfortable swelling or bloating in the stomach area
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sudden loss of appetite or sense of fullness early in meals
- Yellow coloration of the skin known as jaundice
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dark urine and pale-colored stools
- Elevated blood sugar
As the cause of pancreatic cancer is not fully known, there are no verified ways to prevent the development of the cancer. Living a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough physical activity, however, supports overall health and wellbeing, improving the body's defenses so that it is better prepared to handle pancreatic cancer should it develop.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in New Canaan, CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Stamford, CT at 203-661-6969.