Manhattan Beach, CA-based Cancer Journeys Foundation (CJF) is doing their part to observe Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month, November, by spreading useful information about this disease and its impacts. Pancreatic cancer is a unique type of cancer in that it shows few symptoms before reaching an advanced stage. People experiencing symptoms are encouraged to check with their medical care providers as soon as possible in order to try and detect the cancer early and begin treatment.
The cancer society provides a lot of great information on testing. If a person has symptoms that may be attributed to pancreatic cancer, certain tests are done to find the cause and determine whether or not it is pancreatic cancer. If cancer is found, more tests are done to determine what stage the cancer is at.
“Your doctor will ask about your medical history to learn more about your symptoms,” says the American Cancer Society. “The doctor might also ask about possible risk factors, including smoking and your family history. Your doctor will also examine you to look for signs of pancreatic cancer or other health problems. Pancreatic cancers can sometimes cause the liver or gallbladder to swell, which the doctor might be able to feel during the exam. Your skin and the whites of your eyes will also be checked for jaundice (yellowing). If the results of the exam are abnormal, your doctor will probably order tests to help find the problem. You might also be referred to a gastroenterologist (a doctor who treats digestive system diseases) for further tests and treatment.”
The Cancer Journeys Foundation has a list of symptoms that are often associated with pancreatic cancer at https://cancerjourneysfoundation.org/pancreatic-cancer/. Some of the more common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal pain, jaundice, back pain, diabetes, digestive issues, weight loss, itching, changes in stool and dark urine. It is rarely found in people under the age of 40, and more than half of all cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma occur in those over the age of 70. Tobacco smoking, obesity and diabetes (along with certain rare genetic conditions) increase one’s chances of getting pancreatic cancer.
Robert Hess, CEO of the Cancer Journeys Foundation, says, “Beating pancreatic cancer is a huge challenge because it is so difficult to find in its early stages. The best defense is to know your family's medical history. If it includes pancreatic cancer, it's really important to know the early signs and monitor your health.”
The Cancer Journeys Foundation exists to give cancer survivors and patients the tools they need to survive and help other cancer ‘journeyors’ thrive. The majority of cancer survivors find that there is lack of support for those who have finished their formal course of treatment. Robert Hess is himself a cancer survivor who started CJF to help make sure that others in similar situations would have a better experience.
“No cancer survivor left behind” is the motto at Cancer Journeys Foundation. Cancer affects everyone in some way. Every family in America has lost a loved one or had to take care of a member due to cancer. The Cancer Journeys Foundation provides information and resources that help survivors develop and implement effective survivorship plans and move forward with their lives. The foundation follows some of the same principles Hess picked up during his time in the army and applies them to cancer survivorship.
“Most of these survivors have finished their formal medical treatment and are on their own as they move forward into their cancer survivorship period,” says the Cancer Journeys Foundation. “They face daily fears of cancer recurrence, death, leaving their families behind and feelings that they are a burden to their families. Along with these fears come what can seem like insurmountable challenges: knowing what to do to stay healthy; what type of physical activity they can and should do; general feelings of hopelessness; difficulty in setting long-term goals to stay motivated through their survivorship period; and difficulty in visualizing and creating their survivorship future.”
For more information on pancreatic cancer and the work that the Cancer Journeys Foundation is doing to help cancer survivors, visit the following link: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html. Robert Hess may be contacted for further details regarding the organization’s work as well.
The Cancer Journeys Foundation provides support to the 14 million cancer survivors in the United States and their families and care givers as they move through their individual cancer journeys.
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