Dr Oz did a segment called The Cancer Doctors Fear Most: Pancreatic Cancer. Doctor Oz said that, as a doctor, not many things scare him, but Pancreatic Cancer is an exception because it grows silently for decades and when you find out about it, it is often too late. The good news is that there may just be a miracle – a Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine. Plus, learn about Pancreatic Cancer Warning Signs and Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors. Please help us spread the word and save lives by sending this article to all of your friends and family members! Also, do nor forget to read about what Dr Oz called the #1 Risk Factor for Pancreatic Cancer.
Dr Oz: Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine & Statistics
Dr Oz said that the pancreas produces insulin to regulate blood sugar, and less than 5% of people who are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer are alive 5 years after they receive their diagnosis. Usually Pancreatic Cancer is caught only after it has spread to other organs. The good news is that Pancreatic Tumors grow slowly and do not turn deadly for 10-20 years, which really opens the door up for early diagnosis. Dr Oz was joined by two doctors who are at the front line of Pancreatic Cancer: Dr Diane Simeone, the President of the American Pancreatic Association, and Dr Elizabeth Jaffee, founder of the Pancreas Cancer Vaccine and Director of Translational Research at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Oz: Why Does Pancreatic Cancer Kill So Quickly?
The reason that Pancreatic Cancer kills so quickly after being diagnosed is because there is no good early detection test like the colonoscopy or the mammogram. The Pancreas is difficult to get at, so usually people get diagnosed when it is too late. They are currently working on a blood test that will allow early stage detection of Pancreatic Cancer.
Dr Oz: Why is Pancreatic Cancer Harder to Screen For Than Other Cancer?
Pancreatic Cancer is harder to screen for because it grows silently inside of us and there are often no symptoms. Many patients are not amenable to treatment, and only 15% of patients are candidates for surgical treatment of Pancreatic Cancer. Dr Oz said that the fact that it is a slow growing cancer actually gives us a lot of hope, because if we can detect it early, we can make it preventable or at least treatable.
Dr Oz: Pancreatic Cancer Life Expectancy After Diagnosis
The life expectancy of a person who is diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer can be just weeks according to Dr Jaffee, but it can be 3-6 months if you are in an advanced stage, or even a few years if you are eligible to undergo surgery. This is why it is so critical that everyone learn the warning signs of Pancreatic Cancer:
Dr Oz: Pancreatic Cancer Warning Signs
1. Unexplained upper abdominal pain that radiates to your back. This is often caused by the tumor compressing structures around it.
2. Jaundice is when your body, the skin around your eyes, and even under your tongue, turns a yellow-ish color. Jaundice is caused by the bile being blocked off.
3. Pale Stool – if your poop looks like white clay, it is a big tip off that you have no bile in your poop.
4. Dark Urine – when your urine looks like dark tea or cola, that means you have bile coming out through your kidneys. Dr Oz said the darker your urine, the more blocked off your bile is.
Dr Oz: Pancreatic Cancer Screening Tests
Dr Oz asked when do screening tests make sense and what Pancreatic Cancer Screening Tests should we look for. The problem is that abdominal pain can be caused by other problems like reflux, so it is hard to know whether you should ask to be screened if you just have this problem. Dr Jaffee’s uncle passed away from Pancreatic Cancer after being diagnosed in 1986 and ever since then she has dedicated her life to finding ways to prevent and treat Pancreatic Cancer. Dr Jaffee developed a ground breaking Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine that is like a flu shot, but it is for treatment rather than prevention. A person will go through surgery, them chemotherapy, and then use the Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine. They have tested the vaccine on 100 patients and some patients have been cancer free for over 12 years. Right now, the Pancreatic Cancer Vaccine is available at John Hopkins University but, over the next couple of months, Jaffee hopes that it will be available in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Ohio – but it is still in the testing stages. Dr Oz asked if there will be vaccines like this for other types of cancer, and she said that a similar method is being tested for Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Melanoma, and Colon Cancer. Dr Oz said that we can all help prevent cancer right now by minimizing as many of the following Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors as possible:
Dr Oz: Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors
1. Smoking – the chemicals from smoking can get absorbed into your blood stream and increase your risk of getting Pancreatic Cancer.
2. Family History – 10% of patients who get Pancreatic Cancer have a family history of it. If you have a family history, you should talk to your doctor about doing a Pancreatic Cancer Screening Test 10 years before the youngest member of your family was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.
3. Race – African Americans are at an increased risk, which could be environmental or it may be associated with Vitamin D Deficiency, Diabetes, or more subtle genetic changes that we do not yet fully understand.
4. Soda Drinkers – doctors think that the sugar in soda may be the culprit here. A study showed that if you drank over 2 sodas per week, you double your risk of getting Pancreatic Cancer.