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Pancreatic Cancer: Risk Factors, Symptoms, And Prevention

The pancreas is positioned at the back of the abdomen, whose glands secrete pancreatic enzymes, insulin, and hormones. The pancreas has both exocrine and endocrine glands. Exocrine glands produce the enzymes that aid in the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Endocrine glands are cells that secrete glucagon and insulin for the management of blood sugar.Therefore, pancreatic cancer is described as exocrine pancreatic cancer or endocrine pancreatic cancer, depending on the affected functions.

Risk Factors

Some factors that may put one at a higher risk of having pancreatic cancer include:

 Genetic factors- this includes specific genetic syndromes and hereditary genes

 Sex- men are more affected by pancreatic cancer than women

 Exposure to particular dyes, chemicals, and pesticides

 Age- persons above 60 years are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer

 Lifestyle factors such as smoking, heavy alcohol intake, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity contribute to higher risk


Pancreatic cancer is rarely detected at its initial stages as it does not exhibit symptoms until it reaches its advanced stage. Some of the symptoms include:

 Jaundice- This is marked by yellowing of the eyes and skin, darkened urine, itchy skin, light-colored or greasy stool

 Back or abdominal pain

 Loss of weight and lack of appetite

 Nausea and bouts of vomiting

 Deep vein thrombosis

 Enlargement of the liver or gallbladder

It is crucial for you to visit your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms to eliminate the possibility of pancreatic cancer or conduct further tests that may be life-saving.


While pancreatic cancer has a reputation of being silent cancer, there are a few actions that may help keep it away, such as quitting smoking, maintaining healthy body weight, and having a healthy diet rich in grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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