Pancreatic cancer: a difficult opponent



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RENO, Nev (KOLO) "Now, normally, the prognosis for that is not very encouraging, but I'm going to fight that, and I'm going to continue working," Alex Trebek said in a recorded announcement.

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The accomplished professional, "Jeopardy!" The host Alex Trebek only had positive thoughts to grab for his fans when he announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Cancer is less common, accounting for just over three percent of all cancers diagnosed each year. But it is the third most deadly form of cancer. This is because it is an aggressive cancer and when symptoms appear, the symptoms progress.

"It's mainly the fact that it's aggressive cancer and has often caused metastasis," says Dr. Kelsey West, family physician at the UNR School of Med Family Medicine Center. .

The pancreas helps us digest food and releases hormones that regulate blood sugar levels in our body. Because of its location, deep within our abdomen, tumors are not felt easily.

There is no screening for this type of cancer and, if detected at an early stage, it is operated on and can be followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

This cancer can be hereditary and there are tests to see if the gene is present. But most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer do not have a family history.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice, back pain, vomiting, loss of appetite and discoloration of the urine. The median age of diagnosis is 70 years and affects both men and women.

About 8.5% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive after five years.

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