Pancreatic Cancer

1425 words 6 pages
Pancreatic Cancer
"Cancer of the pancreas is a genetic disease that is the fifth most common cause of death in both men and women. Pancreatic cancer affects approximately 28,000 Americans each year, or five out of 100,000 people" (Mayo Clinic, 1998). According to physicians at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, "pancreatic cancer is the challenge of the twenty-first century." So, where exactly is the pancreas located in our bodies, and what does it do? The pancreas is a gland found behind the stomach that is shaped somewhat like a fish. The pancreas is about six inches long and less than two inches wide, and it extends across the abdomen. The pancreas consists of two separate glands inside the same organ, the exocrine gland and the
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What causes pancreatic cancer, and how can it be prevented? Although the cause for pancreatic cancer cannot be determined, several risk factors have been linked to the disease. The risk of this cancer goes up with age. Almost all patients are older than fifty. The risk is more common to men having this cancer more often than women. Race wise, African Americans are more likely to have this cancer than whites. The risk of this cancer is higher among smokers. Heavy smoking raises the risk two to three times. About three out of ten cases of pancreatic cancer are thought to be caused by smoking. A diet high in meats and fat may raise the risk of this cancer. Eating more fruits and vegetables seems to offer some protection. Being obese might also increase the risk. Pancreatic cancer is also more common in people with this disease. Some chemicals such as certain bug sprays, dyes, or gasoline products may raise the risk of this cancer if exposed to on an everyday basis. Cancer of the pancreas seems to run in some families. Changes in DNA that increase the risk for certain other cancers also increase the risk of this cancer. Having too much stomach acid or having bacteria called H. pylori in the stomach may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. So, can this harmful disease be prevented? There is no sure way to prevent cancer of the pancreas at this time. For now, the best advice is


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