Beloved “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 2019. Now he’s turning his fight against the often deadly disease into a chance to advocate for more awareness. Trebek recently joined with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition to create a public service announcement (PSA) to encourage people to learn more about pancreatic cancer. In the PSA, Trebek urges viewers to find out more about the risks and the symptoms of the disease. Knowing more about them can help you to notice changes in your aging relative that could lead to an earlier diagnosis, which increases the chances of successful treatment.
Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer
The pancreas is an organ that is shaped like a pear lying on its side. It’s about 6 inches long and lies behind the lower part of the stomach. Though it’s a small organ, when something goes wrong, it can mean big problems. Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest types of cancer with a 5-year survival rate of just 9 percent.
What causes some people to get pancreatic cancer isn’t known. However, experts have identified some things that make it more likely for your aging relative to get the disease. Some of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer are:
- Family history of pancreatic cancer.
- Being over the age of 65.
According to the Mayo Clinic, having diabetes for many years combined with smoking and not eating a healthy diet increases the risk of getting pancreatic cancer more than any single risk factor.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Often, people don’t experience symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer until the disease has advanced. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Pain in the abdomen or in the middle of the back caused by the tumor pressing on nearby nerves and organs.
- Gas and bloating caused by digestive problems or the build up of fluid in the abdomen.
- Lack of appetite or weight loss that was not intended.
- New diagnosis of diabetes.
- Jaundice, with is the yellowing of skin and eyes.
If your older family member is experiencing any of these symptoms or other concerning signs, they should see a doctor and talk to them about their risks for pancreatic cancer.
When an older adult is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a senior care provider can help them during treatment. A senior care provider can offer transportation to and from medical appointments, including chemotherapy or radiation. Senior care providers can also remind the older adult to take any medications prescribed by the doctor. In addition, senior care can assist with keeping your older family member comfortable at home by allowing them to rest while taking care of cleaning the house, making meals and snacks, and bringing the older adult things they need throughout the day.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF SUMMERLIN. 702-800-4616.