• Early detection is the key to improving pancreatic cancer survival rates

With a 5-year relative survival rate of only 10%, pancreatic cancer is known as the world’s toughest cancer. Most pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed at stage 4, which is why survival rates for this disease are so low. There is still little known about the causes of pancreatic cancer and there are currently no effective screening tests for the disease.

Challenges arise in the early detection of this cancer, in part, because of its location deep within the abdomen. People with pancreatic cancer may not experience symptoms, or the symptoms are vague and similar to other illnesses.

Senior woman embraces her senior husband who is sick in the hospital.

Know Your Risks

There are still many unknowns about what causes pancreatic cancer and how to prevent it, however, there are some known and possible risks that could be a factor in developing pancreatic cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of pancreatic cancer
  • Certain genetic conditions
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Drinking alcohol

Signs and Symptoms

The signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer may not be noticeable in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear as the tumour grows and causes changes in the body. The symptoms can be confusing to both patients and healthcare providers because they are vague and non-specific and occur much more commonly with other conditions.

Man in hospital gown sitting on hospital bed is comforted by male doctor.

If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, we urge you to speak to your doctor immediately and reference pancreatic cancer:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or back
  • Jaundice
  • Changes in stool colour
  • Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss
  • Late onset diabetes
  • Nausea and vomiting/digestive issues
  • Fatigue
  • Skin itch
  • Diarrhea and constipation

Increasing awareness about pancreatic cancer is vital for Canadians to take control of their health and advocate for themselves effectively. Through investments in research, education and patient empowerment, we can see survival rates improve for this disease.

Learn more about Pancreatic Cancer Canada and early detection of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Canada