November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2020 are:
- -About 57,600 people (30,400 men and 27,200 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
- -About 47,050 people (24,640 men and 22,410 women) will die of pancreatic cancer.
- -Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths.
- -It is slightly more common in men than in women.
Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent pancreatic cancer. Some risk factors such as age, gender, race, and family history can’t be controlled. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk:
Smoking is the most important avoidable risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Quitting smoking helps lower risk. If you smoke and want help quitting, please talk to your health care provider or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
Watch your diet, body weight, and physical activity
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight might help lower your risk. Getting regular physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and may also reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer risk. Processed and red meats and sugary drinks may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends following a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Avoid alcohol use
Heavy alcohol use has been tied to pancreatic cancer in some studies. Heavy alcohol use can also lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, which is known to increase pancreatic cancer risk. It’s best not to drink alcohol. If you do drink, you should have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.
Limit exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace
Avoiding workplace exposure to certain chemicals may reduce your risk for pancreatic cancer.