Pancreatic cancer on the rise in the U.S.

While usually deadly, there are preventative steps you can take

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The number of people being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has been rising over the past decade, and more focus is being brought to the issue with November being Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the American Cancer Society an estimated 46,420 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and about 39,590 will die from it.

Since the survival rate for pancreatic cancer is so low, it is critical to try and catch it early. There are three methods for screening patients for pancreatic cancer, including-endoscopic ultrasound, MRI, and the tumor marker.

Dr. Zubeena Mateen, Director of Oncology at Holyoke Medical Center, told 22News that it’s important to look at what preventative measures can be taken.

“In general, it’s a disease of older patients, but recently we’ve seen even younger patients, up to the age of 50, who have presented with it. And other risk factors include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity; so some of those are risk factors that we can do something about,” Mateen said.

In general, you should start screenings at 40 years old, but ten years earlier if you have a family history.

Click here for a listing of oncology programs and services provided by Holyoke Medical Center.

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