Awareness About Pancreatic Cancer is Growing, Survey Says

According to a story from PR Newswire, a recent survey suggests that a greater number of U.S. citizens know about the existence of pancreatic cancer than ever before. This survey was first commissioned by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). The measure was first conducted by Russell Research this past December, and was meant to test awareness of the nonprofit organization itself and pancreatic cancer as a whole.
As the name suggests, pancreatic cancer originates in the pancreas, a glandular organ that is located behind the stomach. Pancreatic cancer is considered one of the most dangerous cancers because it does not develop symptoms in its early stages. This means that the cancer is often discovered once it has already reached an advanced stage and has begun to metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body. By this point, it is very difficult to treat, and the five year survival rate stands at an abysmal five percent. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include jaundice, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. A small percentage of patients will also develop depression. Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, tobacco smoking, a diet high in processed red meat, and some genetic factors. To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

In the survey, participants were asked to name the first five cancers of which they could think. A total of 24 percent of respondents mentioned pancreatic cancer in their answer, and increase from 19 percent when they survey was conducted a year before. The CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Julie Fleshman, was encouraged by the news. Greater awareness suggests that more people understand the risk factors and warning signs and are more likely to know how to seek specialized treatment. This all will contribute towards improving outcomes for patients; PanCAN hopes to double the survival rate by 2020.

The greatest improvements were seen among young female participants and in people that lived in the Northeast region of the country. Ultimately, improved awareness can only be a good thing for improving treatment effectiveness for pancreatic cancer. Hopefully, awareness will continue to increase as researchers search for new ways to combat this dangerous cancer.

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