5 LifeStyle Changes That Reduce Pancreatic Cancer Risk

2012-01-05 | |
Last updated: 2012-01-05

Ongoing public education has increased our awareness of the risks of cancer but this awareness might lead us to believe that more and more of us are at risk to die from the disease. Fortunately, this is not the case and over the past 30 years the percentage of people who develop cancer and die as a result has decreased in first world nations. However, in developing nations, cancers due to lifestyle are taking an increasing number of lives.

It is not that those in the first world are generally making better lifestyle choices, but instead, people living in first world nations generally have a better chance of surviving such cancers due to their health care systems. That said, there is one form of cancer related to unhealthy lifestyle choices that has an unfortunate “equalizing” effect. In the case of pancreatic cancer, the lack of effective treatments means that both those in the first world and developing nations face similarly low survival rates.

Although detection of prostate cancer is improving, meaning earlier identification of the disease and earlier access to treatment, the disease is still detected in the advanced stages in most cases. As well, the resilience of this cancer to treatment means prevention is very important. While prevention is always the best approach to managing illness, prevention becomes fundamental for conditions where treatment will fail for most people affected.

How Many People Will Die From Pancreatic Cancer?

Around the world, pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death. This is because more than 95% of people who develop the disease will die within 5 years. Globally, the disease accounts for 2% of all new cancer diagnoses. In the US, the disease took approximately 38 thousand lives in 2011. In the UK, the number was around 8 thousand in 2008. In both countries, this means that about 1 in 8000 people die from the disease annually.

Who Is Most At Risk To Develop Pancreatic Cancer?

Like most cancers, pancreatic cancer is primarily associated with advancing age. It is rare in people younger than 40 and increases in risk as people age. Men have traditionally had a greater risk of developing the disease but women and men in many first world countries now have approximately the same risk.

Race is another contributing factor and people of African descent have as much as much as a 40 to 50% higher risk of developing the disease than either people of Asian or Hispanic descent. Caucasian men also have a 20% higher risk of developing the condition than men with an Asian or Hispanic background.

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Category: Disease Information, Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Medical Research

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