Yesterday began the month of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time I tend to dwell a lot on my journey so far. Little did I know at my initial diagnosis in September 2017 that the Doctors only gave me 6 to 9 months to live. I have to say a huge thank you to my Doctors for not telling me, as I tend to think that if I knew that, I might also have put a time limit on myself.
Globally, Pancreatic Cancer is the deadliest of all the major cancers with a 5-year survival rate of only 8%.
I was asked recently, why I thought the survival rate was still so low compared to other cancers. My answer, without thinking; was simply there aren’t enough survivors left to fight for better awareness. Most Pancreatic Cancer diagnoses are made too late.
For the month of November around the world, it’s time to become aware of the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer. If Pancreatic Cancer is detected early enough it does not need to be a terminal diagnosis. I think, it’s so sad that most often (well 92% of the time) it is a terminal diagnosis.
The problem we have is that the symptoms are vague and a lot of GP’s or ourselves, pass them off as something else. So, take a minute to read the following 10 symptoms:
- Loss of Appetite – you may feel full after only a few bites of food.
- Fatigue – when you believe you should not be.
- Abdominal Pain – pancreatic pain can happen anywhere in the abdominal region, but more often focused at the mid-portion of the abdomen and can radiate to the back.
- Changes in Bowl Movements – odd-smelling bowel movements that could be pale in colour and tend to float.
- Weight Loss – when you not trying to lose weight
- Early Onset Diabetes – with no family history or other reasons.
- Jaundice – Where the eyes, nails an skin become visibly yellow.
- Itchy Skin – could be caused by switching laundry detergent or an allergic reaction or by chemicals released by the bile ducts.
- Enlarged Gallbladder – bile ducts can become blocked and cause gallbladder problems.
- Change in Taste – Changes in the taste of some foods, tobacco and alcohol.
Please remember, that not one of these is a definite symptom, They could lead to another prognosis, but if you find your suffering from 2 or more, please get yourself checked for Pancreatic Cancer as well as anything else your GP suggests. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. This is your life, and we only have one.