Over the years, we’ve been chipping away at the cancer fear factor.
We don’t yet have a surefire cure, of course. But many forms of the disease are more treatable and beatable than ever. We’ve even found certain cancers may not need any treatment in some cases.
But there’s still one form of this disease that can send a chill down anyone’s spine, even your doctor’s. Because it’s close to a death sentence.
It’s pancreatic cancer. And if it’s found early enough, it can actually be very treatable. The trouble is this disease is rarely detected early. And by the time pancreatic cancer IS diagnosed, it’s often too advanced to beat.
But that may finally be about to change. As new research reveals what could be a critical red flag for the disease. It could help us detect pancreatic cancer sooner than ever, giving patients a real chance of dodging death.
And this warning sign is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to miss.
Research linked gallstones to pancreatic cancer
The numbers are grim. Pancreatic cancer makes up about three percent of all cancer cases. But the disease accounts for about seven percent of all cancer deaths.
Pancreatic cancer claims nearly 1,000 American lives every week. And the five-year survival rate is a dismal 11 percent.
But spotting the disease early can QUADRUPLE those survival odds. And the new study, presented at this year’s Digestive Disease Week, shows how you can get that opportunity.
It’s all about focusing on a seemingly unrelated condition: gallstones. Patients who develop pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) are SIX TIMES more likely to have had gallstones in the previous year.
Scientists aren’t entirely sure why there’s a strong link between gallbladder disease and pancreatic cancer. But they suspect inflammation may be the common underlying factor.
No one wants to battle painful gallstones, of course. But if you ever do, it should be seen as a golden opportunity to screen for pancreatic cancer. In fact, it could potentially help you spot this killer up to one year earlier than it would have been detected otherwise.
And that can buy you precious time in the fight against the disease.
What to do if you’ve had gallstones
Unlike some other forms of cancer, there’s no routine screening program for detecting pancreatic cancer.
But the team behind the new study believes their findings may lead to gallstone patients getting endoscopic ultrasounds that could help spot the disease early.
If you’ve already had gallstones, talk to your doctor about your own risk factors and ask if an ultrasound might be the right move for you. You can encourage them to read the new study if they haven’t seen it yet.
Gallstones aren’t the only factor you can watch for. Sharp docs know other warning signs that could indicate you’re at risk for pancreatic cancer. But unfortunately, they’re the kinds of things many patients never mention to their doctor.
For example, did you know a change in your POOP could be an early sign? Not a temporary change, of course, as all kinds of issues – especially your food choices – can alter your stool from one day to another.
But lasting changes such as loose and smelly movements full of “floaters” could indicate an issue with the digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas, including a potential tumor.
I’ve got more on that and four more key warning signs of pancreatic cancer in my earlier report here.
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