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The Reason Why Pancreatic Cancer is Considered a Lethal Disease

Author: Hollie Williams
by Hollie Williams
Posted: Oct 19, 2018
pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer ranks third in cancer-causing deaths in the United States. The lifetime risk of developing it is about 1 in 65 for women and 1 in 63 for men. Experts estimate that about 95% of the people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die from the disease. The main reason the disease is deadly is that there are no symptoms during early stages when the tumor is most treatable. Pancreatic cancer is discovered at advanced stages when it starts showing signs of jaundice and abdominal pain. Up to now, no general screening tools have been developed. Pancreatic cancer is known to have a low profile compared to the other diseases, but its rates are rising much faster.

Here are the pancreatic cancer challenges that make it so deadly:

  • Pancreatic cancer has no early screening tests. The disease can only be detected once symptoms start to show.
  • There is no cure for pancreatic cancer. The very nature of the disease makes it difficult to study. The disease does not act like the other cancers, and that's why the treatment approaches used for other cancers do not work the same way on the pancreas tumors.
  • Pancreatic cancer doesn’t have a lot of survivors who can advocate to
fight against the disease because many patients die within a short time of diagnosis.

  • The rapid spread of pancreatic cancer makes it difficult to find and retain patients for clinical trials and other studies that can help researchers explore more about the disease.
  • The disease is traumatizing to the patients and their families. There’s barely time to absorb the diagnosis before the patient succumbs to the disease.
  • It's a little bit of a Catch-22 with pancreatic cancer, and it's challenging for scientists and clinicians who study it. The disease has been underfunded and understudied because of the sense of futility. Now it's only hope and optimism that physicians can offer their patients.

Pancreatic cancer decreases blood supply in the body instead of increasing it. It is also difficult to clinically stage the disease. Even if it’s caught early, pancreatic cancer requires a very complicated surgery known as Whipple procedure which is not foolproof because patients end up developing metastatic disease. Researchers and scientists are still building on hope to develop diagnostic and treatment techniques and methods for dealing with pancreatic cancer cases.

About Author

The Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer.
About the Author

The Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer.

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Author: Hollie Williams

Hollie Williams

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United States

Member since: Dec 24, 2017
Total live articles: 8

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