7 Surprising Ways to Lower Your Risk
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March 17, 2017
By Adriadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor




Pancreatic cancer is perhaps the most "overlooked" cancer in
America today. In the course of the year, certain months have
been designated to raise awareness of other cancers such as
breast cancer. Today, pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause
of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and is expected
to be the 2nd leading cause of death by 2030. But public
awareness of the alarming rise in the incidence of pancreatic
cancer trails far behind our awareness of other cancers.

Pancreatic cancer is bucking the trend among cancer deaths. All
other cancers -- breast, lung, colorectum and prostate -- have
seen their rates trend downward over the past 20 years.
Pancreatic cancer rates, on the other hand, are increasing.

Within a year of being diagnosed, most people with pancreatic
cancer will die, according to the American Cancer Society. A full
94% will be dead within 5 years.

One of the reasons that pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that
often it is not caught until it has spread beyond the pancreas.
Why is pancreatic cancer so stealthy? Why are there often no
symptoms for pancreatic cancer until it is too late?  

The reason is that pancreatic cancer often has no symptoms.   
Cancer of the pancreas can start either in the top or the tail of
the pancreas.

If you're lucky, and we say "lucky" only in a relative sense, the
cancer will start in the top end of the pancreas, the growing
tumor will block the pathway of bile, causing a build-up of bile
in your body. As a result, your eyes will become yellow and  
jaundiced, according to the American Cancer Society.  Your
urine may also turn dark yellow or brown, which of course will
give you clues that something is very wrong.  So, count
yourself "lucky" if your pancreatic tumor starts at the top of
the pancreas.  These tumors tend to be small and the
symptoms of jaundice will give you at least a head start on
fighting the cancer.

On the other hand, the cancer  could start  at the tail end of the
pancreas. These tumors will not obstruct the flow of bile, and  
no jaundiced eyes or dark urine symptoms will  give you any
clue that you have pancreatic cancer.  With these tail-end
pancreatic cancers, there are no symptoms until the cancer has
spread outside the pancreas, which signifcantly lowers survival
rates.


So, who is the most likely to get pancreatic cancer? If you’re
young, don’t worry too much. The median age of those
stricken with pancreatic cancer is 71, according to experts at
the Harvard Medical School. If there were cases in your family,
you can also relax. Pancreatic cancer does have a genetic
aspect, with family cases accounting only  for 5-15% of total
cases. Men are more likely to be hit by the disease than women,
and African-Americans more than whites, and whites more than
Asians.


Now, for some good news. While pancreatic cancer is hard to
detect and quick to spread, there are many ways you can
prevent it before it becomes a real problem. Read on to find
out.































1.
Cut Down on Meat, Forget Grilling and Don’t Overcook It
 

We all love a good barbeque. Well, not all of us (I don’t include
myself in that group), but evidently too many of us do.

In a diet and health cohort study of 537,302 individuals
between 50-71 years old who completed baseline dietary data
(1995-1996), 323,913 of those people filled out a meat
cooking module six months after the baseline.

After a five-year follow up, there were 836 incident pancreatic
cancer cases (555 men, 281 women).

Meat cooked at high temperatures were associated with a
mutagen called "heterocyclic acids" also called "heterocyclic
amines", which pose a 29% risk of cancer, for both men and
women.

Barbequeing meat and grilling meat unleashes high levels of
these deadly heterocyclic amine compounds.

Wrap your mind around this --- open flame grilling is not your
friend.

The general conclusions that Dr. Rachael Z. Stolzenberg-
Solomon and colleagues drew in their 2007 analysis of the NIH-
AARP report were that the following kinds of meat put you at
risk fro pancreatic cancer and the more you have of these
meats, the higher your risk:

  • total meat,

  • red meat, and

  • high temperature cooked meat

All these are strongly linked with pancreatic cancer among men.

Recall that African Americans are at a higher risk for pancreatic
cancer than white Americans. A 2004 study from Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory found that "African-American
males were estimated to consume nearly twofold and
approximately 35 to 40% " of these dangerous heterocyclic
amines than whites at any age group.

Another statistic that connects the dots between grilling and
pancreatic cancer is this. Hawaii, home of the signature,
traditional open flame roasted pig grilling feast called a "luau",
has the highest incidence of pancreatic cancer in the nation,
according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Deaths from pancreatic cancer in Hawaii are far too common.
Just last year, Congressman Mark Takai of Hawaii
passed away
from pancreatic cancer at the age of 49
, just 9 months after his
diagnosis.


So, starting from today, if you want to lower your risk for
pancreatic cancer, you will start looking at barbecue or grilled
meat as a rare, rare and dangerous treat.  


2.
Stay at a Healthy Weight


This is a good tip for anyone, but it is especially key in cancer
prevention, according to the American Cancer Society. They
recommend that you achieve this goal with a healthy diet. It is
recommended to consume moderate portions and lots of plant
food (2.5 cups of veggies and fruits daily), and eat whole grain
bread, pastas, and cereals instead of refined products.

Choose fish, poultry, and beans over red meat.

Whatever you do, stay active, people.  Choose to walk when it
is safe to do so. Choose to climb the stairs.  Dust off that old
bike.  And as one of my favorite songs says, "I Hope You
Dance".  


3.
Quit Smoking Right Now


Give up the nicotine. Along with meat, smoking is one of the
top established risk factors for pancreatic cancer.

Cigarette smoking doubles your risk for pancreatic cancer.

In 2014, Dr. A. Schulte from the Q1MR Berghofer Research
Institute in Brisbane, Australia analyzed data from the
Queensland pancreatic cancer study. There were 705 cancer
patients examined and 711 controls.

Dr. Schulte and colleagues discovered that compared to people
who had never smoked, current smokers had an increased risk
of pancreatic cancer.

How much you smoke doesn’t seem to matter as much as the
fact that you do smoke.

The researchers also found that the smoking duration and time
since quitting had a bigger impact on the likelihood of
pancreatic cancer than smoking intensity.

In any case, if you have an oral fixation, pick up a healthier
habit, like chewing gum maybe.


4.
Consider MicroRNA Treatment to Inhibit Pancreatic Cancer


This is a new, fancy way of checking ahead of time what’s
going on.

If you suspect that you are in the beginning stages of
pancreatic cancer or know that you are, you can get a doctor
to perform what is called "MiRNA expression profiling" on you.

This process involves nanoparticle delivery of oligonucleotides
or treatment with natural agents to modulate the expression of
the microRNA treatment and inhibit pancreatic cancer growth
and progression, according to a 2016 report by Dr. Y. Li, from
Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.


5.
Eat a Mediterranean Diet


What’s a Mediterranean diet? Basically, this type of diet is low
in saturated fat, high in vegetables, fish and heart0-healthy oils
such as olive oil.

One definition is: 3-9 servings of vegetables per day, a half to
two servings of fruit, 1-13 servings of cereal, and up to 8
servings of olive oil.

Basically, get lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

In a 2013 report, Dr. Cristina C. Bosetti at the Istituto di
Ricerche farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy analyzed
data from case-control studies conducted in Italy between
1983 and 2008.

This examination included 362, 326 pancreatic cancer cases.
Bosetti and her colleagues found that following a
Mediterranean diet  lowers your risk of pancreatic cancer,
regardless of your age, sex, weight, alcohol consumption,
smoking, or diabetes.

Besides its health benefits, a Mediterranean diet also happens
to be delicious.  Make a game of sampling different kinds of
vegetables each month.  Try endives, artichokes, experiment
with kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, red peppers, orange
peppers, yellow peppers, okra, turnip, collard and mustard
greens.  


6.
Easy on the Alcohol, Step Away from That Bottle


Drinking a little is a nice treat, and can even be good for your
heart, in the case of red wine.

However, if you find yourself boozing it up hard every night,
know that you are putting yourself at risk for multiple diseases,
including pancreatic cancer.

A 2016 study conducted by Dr. Fang Huay and colleagues at
the Anhui Provincial Hospital in Hefei City, China, analyzed
electronic databases including Pubmed, Ovid, embase, and the
Cochrane Library, up to August 2015. Their analysis included
19 prospective studies from 4, 211, 129 people.

The researchers found that drinking a little alcohol will not raise
your risk for pancreatic cancer. How low is "low"? The study
was not clear on this point. But a look at some of the European
studies underlying the report from China showed that "low"
consumption is considered less than 1 drink or less per day.

So, low to moderate alcohol intake is not significantly
associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, but that a high
intake generally was. Liquor seemed to be particularly harmful,
in comparison to other drinks.

The botoom line is,  if you are drinking every night, and more
than one drink, scale back, and try to drink only a few times a
week, or just socially.


7.
Get Diabetes and Pancreatitis Under Control...They Lead to
Pancreatic Cancer



According to experts at
Johns Hopkins University, diabetes and
pancreatitis are two of the main diseases that lead to pancreatic
cancer.

Generally, if you have long-standing adult-onset diabetes, you
are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Similarly, if your pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is
chronic, it is much more likely to lead to cancer.

That being said, if you have either of these conditions,
regardless of if they are serious or not, make sure to take very
good care of yourself to avoid future complications.  





























































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