Assessing Your Genetic Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Written By Tony Subia
January 3, 2017
How Do You Know If You Are At Risk of Pancreatic Cancer? There are many factors and conditions that can increase your risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Risk factors within your control that can be can be modified to minimize the risk of getting pancreatic cancer include smoking, obesity, diabetes, alcohol abuse the can lead to pancreatitis, and a sedentary lifestyle.
There are other risk factors that are outside of your control including inherited gene mutations. A family history of cancer including pancreatic cancer is a major risk factor. Depending upon varying studies around 10% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have a genetic mutation inherited by their family. While familial pancreatic cancer syndrome exists, there are many other familial cancer syndromes, such as Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer and Lynch Syndrome, that are associated with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Getting pancreatic cancer or any cancer is mostly a case of random bad luck caused by random DNA changes made during stem cell divisions. It is well-known that cancer can arise when specific stem cells make random mistakes, or mutations when one chemical letter in DNA is incorrectly swapped for another during the replication process of cell division. For more information, Read “Getting Pancreatic Cancer is Mostly Random Bad Luck of Cell Mutations”
Pancreatic cancer has the worst 5-year survival rate of any tumor-type cancer. As of the date of this article, pancreatic cancer has surpassed female breast cancer to become the 3rd leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States behind only Lung Cancer and Colorectal Cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is very challenging to treat because it grows undetected for many years and usually does not present well-defined symptoms until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas to other organs. Unfortunately only 10% of cases are diagnosed at Stage 1 when it is confined to the pancreas and most treatable.
Pancreatic cancer is very challenging to treat because it grows undetected for many years and usually does not present with well-defined symptoms until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas to other organs. Unfortunately, only about 10% of cases are diagnosed at Stage 1 when it is confined to the pancreas and most treatable.
About 29% of pancreatic cancer cases are detected after spreading lymph nodes, 52% have already metastasized (spread) to distant organs, and 9% are unstaged at detection. The earlier pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of long term survival. Become your own best advocate and become aware and vigilant of the risk factors and symptoms Modify risk factors are within your control.
Genetic Counseling and Testing At The HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network
If pancreatic cancer or any cancer runs in your family history consider taking a potential life-saving step and get Genetic Counseling and Genetic Testing. There are many hospitals, and medical institutions across the country that provide genetic counseling and testing that can empower you with knowledge to become your own best advocate to minimize the chances of getting pancreatic cancer.
One such source is the HonorHealth Research Institute and its Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center located in
Scottsdale, Arizona in the Greater Phoenix area. It program performs the following:
> Assess risk of being predisposed to pancreatic cancer or any other cancer.
> The likelihood that your family’s history of cancer is hereditary.
> Review of gene mutations that may increase risk
> Discussion of options for genetic testing.
Not every patient needs a full panel of genetic testing. At HonorHealth your testing plan is based upon your family history of cancer assessment and individual needs, saving you money and focusing on the right genetic target markers. Their genetic counselors are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
The goal of genetic counseling and testing is to help prevent cancer, or to detect it as early as possible by identifying if you are at increased risk or predisposed to pancreatic cancer as well as other types of cancer.
Make An Appointment For Counseling and Genetic Testing at HonorHealth
HonorHealth Research Institute and its Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Call 480-882-4703 to schedule an appointment with a genetics counselor.