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Pancreatic cancer – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, July 12, 2018 by

Pancreatic cancer is known as the “silent disease” as it is hard to detect during its early stage. Symptoms of this condition do not immediately appear until the case actually worsens or the tumor grows too big. Since it’s normally detected late, pancreatic cancer can quickly spread and damage nearby organs.

Most of the time when patients are diagnosed with this disease, it has become too hard to treat. Experts are yet to identify the exact cause of this health condition

Known risk factors and symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Although the main cause of pancreatic cancer is not yet identified, there are certain risk factors that increase the possibility of developing the disease, these include:

  • Age – Older adults, commonly those aged 55 and up, are more at risk of developing the disease.
  • Gender – There are more reported cases of men being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Race – It appears that black men are more likely to develop it more than other races.
  • Smoking – Smokers are two or three more likely to develop it.
  • Weight and diet – Eating too many fatty foods increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in both men and women.
  • Diabetes – Previous studies have shown that diabetic people are more prone to developing the disease.
  • Family history – Having family members who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer also increased the chance of developing it.

Meanwhile, the symptoms are associated with pancreatic cancer:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back
  • A decrease or loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Depression
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice

Body systems affected by pancreatic cancer

The possible complications of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Severe weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme pain
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Metastasis – Since it’s often diagnosed at a later stage, most cases have already metastasized by then. This means cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver and the lungs.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent pancreatic cancer

Aside from cutting out fatty foods, to prevent or relieve the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, healthcare experts recommend the following:

  • Folic acid – While experts are not sure supplements can help combat pancreatic cancer, folic acid in food was found to help reduce the risk of developing it. It can be sourced from green leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, rice, and pasta.
  • IP-6
  • Lycopene
  • Melatonin – it can influence pancreatic cancerogenesis. Food, such as barley, nuts, grapes, flax, and sunflower seeds are rich in melatonin.
  • Triphala – It is an ayurvedic combination of dried fruits and is known as one of the most effective traditional medical systems.
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin D

Treatments, management options for pancreatic cancer

According to research, an extract of Nigella sativa called thymoquinone can help treat pancreatic cancer by blocking the growth and killing the cancerous cells. Meanwhile, many medical experts suggested that prevention is better for this disease.

To reduce the risk of getting pancreatic cancer, the following changes in lifestyle are advised:

  • Cessation of smoking – Smoking doubles the risk of this health condition.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight – Obese or overweight people are more likely to develop the disease.
  • Eating a healthy diet – A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is recommended to ensure that the body gets the proper nutrients it needs to fight off illnesses.

Where to learn more


Pancreatic cancer is a silent disease that is normally detected once the condition gets worse. It can quickly spread through the body and can be hard to treat. Older people are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer as well as black men; people who smoke; are diabetic; and have a family history of the disease.

Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back, a decrease or loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, depression, new-onset diabetes, blood clots, fatigue, and jaundice.

In the event that the condition was not treated immediately, cancer can metastasize. To prevent it, healthcare providers recommend a higher intake of folic acid, IP-6, lycopene, melatonin, Triphala, vitamin D, and garlic.

In addition, reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer can be done my quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and choosing a healthy diet.

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