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Pancreatic Cancer: Know Your Family, Know Your Risk

 

September 1, 2017

Early detection can significantly impact pancreatic cancer survival rates

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, with a mere 29% one-year survival rate. In 2016, pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the country.

The time frame between diagnosis and death is often short. Only 7% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years. This is very small compared to prostate cancer or breast cancer, where more than 90% of patients survive for five years after diagnosis.

"Most people are unaware of how deadly pancreatic cancer is," says Jim Rolfe, president of Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. "These chilling statistics can serve as an eye-opener that motivates people to learn more about their risks and contact their health care professional."

Early detection can significantly impact survival rates. The five-year survival rate approaches 25% if cancers are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes.

Family history is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. When you know more about your genetics and which members of your family have been affected by pancreatic cancer, you can better manage your own health.

The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation has introduced a new series of online tools. Visit KnowMyRisk.org to download a worksheet and access other helpful tools to explore your family history and become your own health advocate.

If you learn you have a history of pancreatic cancer in multiple family members, you should consider meeting with a genetic counselor to assess your risk. From there, the counselor and your doctor can decide on a course of action.

Visit KnowMyRisk.org to learn more.

 

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