Pancreatic cancer rarely gains the publicity it should. Despite the fact pancreatic cancer makes up just 3% of all types of cancer diagnosed every year, it is the fourth leading cause of death by cancer in both genders. This makes it one of the deadliest cancers in the country.
There is no way to guarantee that you will never be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. However, there are a number of risk factors you can work on to reduce the chances of receiving the dreaded diagnosis.
If you have a family history of cancer, or you are simply worried, here are five ways to reduce the chances of falling victim to the disease.
1. Stop Smoking
Smoking is the biggest risk factor for all types of cancer. The disease itself is caused by damaged DNA in cells. The cells will, then, replicate uncontrollably, which is why advanced stage cancer patients suffer from tumors.
As of 2019, 31.4 million Americans continue to smoke tobacco. This elevates their cancer risk significantly. If you need help quitting, speak to your healthcare provider.
2. Limit Alcohol Use
Some studies have indicated a link between pancreatic cancer and heavy alcohol usage. While this link has not been definitively proven, alcohol use can cause chronic pancreatitis, which is known to increase pancreatic cancer risk.
While completely quitting alcohol may not be something you would consider, refrain from heavy alcohol use. Binge drinking can be extremely problematic. Most healthcare providers recommend an average of no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one for women.
3. Cut Down on Red Meat
Red meat has been linked with a wide number of cancers. While meat is just meat, red meat, when broken down in the digestive system, creates chemicals that can be carcinogenic. Chemicals like haem create N-nitroso chemicals in the digestive system, which have been known to damage cells.
Limit your intake of red meats, such as salami, ham, and bacon.
4. Lose Weight
A high Body Mass Index (BMI) has been shown to be the second highest risk factor for pancreatic cancer, behind tobacco smoking. It is estimated that a BMI of 30 or higher, which is classified as obesity, could increase the chances of getting pancreatic cancer by 20%.
The higher your BMI number the greater the risk. Losing weight is one of the best things you can do to limit your cancer risk.
5. Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
Heavily linked to weight, type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by consuming large amounts of processed sugar. Type 2 diabetes sufferers are usually overweight, eat a poor diet, and exercise little.
Increase your activity levels, cut out sugary drinks, and try to make water your primary beverage of choice.
Although pancreatic cancer is extremely deadly, there are long-term survivors. Furthermore, healthcare providers are increasingly looking into alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer, which are improving survival rates.
There is no guaranteed way of preventing pancreatic cancer, but you can limit your chances. Adopting a healthy, active lifestyle will not only impact the chances of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but all cancers.