Pancreatic Cancer and The Rolfe Foundation – Know Your Family. Know Your Risk
I feel like it’s safe to say that each of us has been affected someway by cancer. Whether it was battling it ourselves or watching a loved one battle it, I think we all agree that cancer sucks! There are so many different cancers out there and one I’ve recently learned more about is Pancreatic Cancer.
About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most deadly cancers and its impact is personal. Let’s look at some statistics.
- The timeframe from diagnosis to death is often very short, with little warning, creating a life-altering impact on survivors and families. The need for early detection is immediate and urgent.
- In 2016, pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., surpassing breast cancer.
- Only lung cancer and colon cancer lead to more deaths per year than pancreatic cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of only 7 percent, the worst of all major cancers.
- Prostate cancer and breast cancer both have 5-year survival rates over 90 percent. Colon cancer’s 5-year survival rate is 65 percent, and lung cancer’s 54 percent.
- The 1-year survival rate following diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is only 29 percent. o Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers and about 7 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.
- About 53,670 people (27,970 men and 25,700 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S. this year.
- About 43,090 people (22,300 men and 20,790 women) will die of pancreatic cancer in the U.S. this year.
Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer
Early detection of pancreatic cancer is so important and can significantly impact survival rates for this deadly disease. In fact, Pancreatic cancer is treatable when caught early, e.g. if you got colonoscopy. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cases are not diagnosed until too late. The 5-year survival rate approaches 25 percent if cancers are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes.
The Importance of Family History
It is vital for everyone to know their family history to understand their risk for pancreatic cancer as a first step to early detection. Family history is a risk factor of pancreatic cancer. In some families, the high-risk is due to inherited syndromes passed from parent to child. Changes in the genes that cause some inherited syndromes can be found by genetic testing. Those with a history of pancreatic cancer in the immediate family should consider beginning the path to early detection by talking to a doctor or genetic counselor. If there is any pancreatic cancer in your immediate family, a certified genetic counselor can help you understand your risk. Knowing if you are at high risk can help you and your doctor decide if you should have tests to look for pancreatic cancer early, when it might be easier to treat.
About the It’s Personal: Know Your Family, Know Your Risk Campaign
Know Your Family
- If you do not already know the medical histories of those in your immediate family, talk to your family to identify any history of pancreatic cancer.
- Encourage readers to visit www.KnowMyRisk.org to download a “know your family” worksheet of questions to talk through with immediate family members.
- We focus on family history because about 10 to 20 percent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have a family history that includes the disease.
Know Your Risk
- Once you’ve determined if there is a history of pancreatic cancer in your family, one should consider meeting with a certified genetic counselor to further determine that risk.
- Be sure to visit www.KnowMyRisk.org to locate a certified genetic counselor near you with the online finder.
About Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is a leading Midwest institution with a mission of being a catalyst for the early detection and ultimate cure of pancreatic cancer. Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation supports patients and their loved ones, and is known for its personal engagement and individual attention to those with pancreatic cancer and their families.
The organization was started when the friends and family of Michael Rolfe, moved by his brief and brave battle, resolved to ensure that future diagnoses of pancreatic cancer wouldn’t be the grim sentence that Michael’s was. What began as a small, community effort has grown into a formidable institution dedicated to eradicating pancreatic cancer. The organization funds medical research at leading clinical and academic centers.
Rolfe seeks to improve the number of scientific investigators with a demonstrated focus on pancreatic cancer, which is currently very limited relative to other cancers. The average dollar amount of basic research grants in pancreatic cancer was 18-29 percent less than grants for other major cancers. The 5-year survival rate for all other major cancers (lung, colon, breast, prostate) have significantly increased thanks to focus on early detection tools and education. Pancreatic cancer has not seen any improvement.
To learn more about the foundation and their initiatives, fundraising events, and more, please visit www.RolfeFoundation.org. Be sure to follow the Rolfe Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Have you heard of the Know Your Family, Know Your Risk campaign with the Rolfe Foundation before reading this post?