When pancreatic cancer is detected early, it’s more treatable. But, therein lies the problem — it’s very difficult to detect early. Pancreatic cancer often has no symptoms until it is advanced and has spread to other organs in the body, making early diagnosis very challenging.
But, there’s one way to zero in on your risk for developing pancreatic cancer and the ability to catch the disease in its earlier stages: It’s if you have a family history of the disease.
“If you have family members with pancreatic cancer or certain genetic mutations linked to pancreatic cancer, your risk may be higher and regular screening may be something to consider,” Dr. Alexander Itskovich, a hepatobiliary surgeon and the medical director of the Statesir Cancer Center at CentraState, said.
Who is at high risk for pancreatic cancer?
Smoking, diabetes, obesity, pancreatitis and older age can increase your risk for pancreatic cancer. But, this risk may be magnified if:
- You have a family history of pancreatic cancer, especially in a parent or sibling, more than one relative, or a relative diagnosed before age 50 — and especially if other types of cancer run in the family;
- You or a family member has a BRCA gene mutation. This mutation is linked to breast, ovarian, pancreatic and other types of cancer;
- You or a family member has certain other genetically linked syndromes.
“Early detection is important for any type of cancer, and now there is an option for pancreatic screenings for these high-risk individuals,” Itskovich said. “Patients who don’t know their genetic backgrounds may be referred for genetic testing to determine if they would benefit from the screening.”
For more information about the Pancreatic Cancer Screening, go to centrastatecancercenter.com/pancreatic-cancer-screenings or call 855-411-2262.