Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most fatal cancer in both men and women, and the death rate due to this disease is increasing across Europe. It usually arises in elderly patients with a mean age at onset of 71 years for men and 75 years for women. One of the main reasons for its high fatality rate is that the majority of patients’ progress to the advanced stages of the disease without showing any symptoms.
Very importantly, 90% of pancreatic cancers are not related to any genetic alteration. Simple, long-term changes to our behaviour and maintaining a healthy weight can have a huge impact on reducing the risk of developing pancreatic cancer later in life.
Common symptoms of pancreatic cancers include jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss, steatorrhoea (fatty stools), and new-onset diabetes. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, it is important that you consult your doctor immediately.
Consultant Surgeon on Pancreatic Cancer, Mr Alfonso Antequera, said: “The best way to fight pancreatic cancer is to prevent it and avoid the main risk factors which include; tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, diabetes and an unhealthy lifestyle in general.”
The GHA has marked World Pancreatic Cancer Day with a view to increase public awareness of the disease, its symptoms and ways to reduce the risk of developing it.
The Minister for Health and the GHA Medical Director and cancer nurses Jolene Bautista and Juan Roman have today met with Mr Louis Baldachino from Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Gibraltar to thank him for his continuous effort to support patients with pancreatic cancer and other cancers and discuss further collaboration between the charity and the GHA.
The charity’s kind donation of £1,400 to the Cancer Unit at the GHA which will be used to fund GHA cancer nurses to undergo specialist cancer training and continuous professional development, in order to make sure that the best possible care is provided for patients with cancer across the community.
The Minister for Health Hon Minister Samantha Sacramento MP said “early diagnosis is the key to survival. Raising awareness of Pancreatic Cancer is crucial and can make all the difference to somebody’s life. It is the GHA’s mission to improve the rate of early detection by having the knowledge, understanding and awareness to be able to combat this fatal disease. Raising awareness is not exclusive to the GHA and I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Gibraltar Pancreatic Cancer Gibraltar for their awareness campaigns and for their continued support of the GHA as well as to all cancer charities.