By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. Survivorship rates are so low because the cancer is often only detected when it is too late. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to take notice of anything that could indicate the existence of a tumor in the pancreas.
It has long been thought that Type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer are connected. But researchers have always found it difficult to determine which was the cause and which was the effect. Did Type 2 diabetes sufferers develop pancreatic cancer? Or did pancreatic cancer cause Type 2 diabetes? But new research, covered in this article, suggests that Type 2 diabetes may actually be an indication of pancreatic cancer.
What is the study and what did it show?
Research carried out by the University of Southern California showed that diabetes was associated with a 200% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer developing in African Americans and Latinos. Type 2 diabetes specifically was associated with a 2.3 times greater risk of pancreatic cancer than long-standing diabetes.
This would suggest that recent onset diabetes is a manifestation of developing pancreatic cancer. Or, in layman’s terms, type 2 diabetes is indeed an indication of pancreatic cancer. The relationship between diabetes and cancer is unique to pancreatic cancer and is not seen in breast, prostate or colorectal forms of the disease.
Why does pancreatic cancer have such a low survival rate?
One of the reasons the findings in this study are so important is because pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancers. Five-year survival rates currently stand at just 5%. This is primarily because pancreatic cancer is hard to catch early on. It displays almost no symptoms, which means the vast majority of sufferers are diagnosed at a late stage.
What are the indications of pancreatic cancer?
Despite it being one of the hardest cancers to spot, there are several other symptoms that may suggest the presence of pancreatic cancer. These include:
- Back or upper abdomen pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Increased tiredness
- Higher blood sugar levels
- A pronounced change in bowel habits
- Nausea and vomiting
What causes pancreatic cancer?
At the moment we don’t know exactly what causes pancreatic cancer. But scientists have found several risk factors that make a person more susceptible to the disease than others. It is more common in the elderly, with the majority of cases found in those over the age of 75. It is also incredibly uncommon in people under 40. The following lifestyle choices can also increase your likelihood of developing the disease:
- Excessive, long-term alcohol consumption
- Being obese or having low activity levels
Some forms of pancreatic cancer have been found to run in families. This is typically an inherited gene that causes a number of cancers to develop. Your risk of pancreatic cancer is higher if you have:
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
- Lynch syndrome
- Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome
If you think you may have pancreatic cancer, speak to one of our doctors today.
About the Author
Dr. Thomas is the founder and CEO of Causenta Wellness, and the Causenta Cancer Treatment Center in Arizona. From working with NFL, MLB, MMA, World Class athletes and even the White House, his reputation of personalized medicine and cutting-edge technologies has put him on the map, caring for some of the most powerful people in the world, making him one of the most sought-after healthcare professionals of all time.