Imagine living with a ticking time bomb inside of you - never knowing when or if it might go off.
“That’s what it’s like to know that you are at high risk for pancreatic cancer,” says a 40 year old father of two, who has been determined to be at great risk.
Pancreatic cancer is a virtual death sentence — more than 62,000 29,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year, nearly 50,000 will die within 12 months. This deadly disease has been brought more to the forefront with the passing of Alex Trebec, the host of Jeopardy who so publicly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
While anyone can get pancreatic cancer, there are certain risk factors that may contribute to its development. Smoking, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas and a family history of pancreatic cancer are all contributors.
Dubbed the silent killer, symptoms don’t present until it is too late and there has been no early detection method - until now.
A new screening tool being offered at Hackensack University Medical Center is available to those at risk of Pancreatic Cancer. It’s an innovative surveillance program that screens individuals who are at high-risk for developing familial or hereditary pancreatic cancer. This new initiative is the first of its kind in New Jersey, and patients who are eligible receive both an imaging test and a recently approved biomarker blood test that measures the immune system’s response to the cancer.
Find Out if You Qualify
If you have a family history of pancreatic cancer or have a known cancer-causing genetic mutation, speak with your doctor to see if you meet the criteria to be considered for the screening.
Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer
The average lifetime risk of non-hereditary pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 64, according to the American Cancer Society. It rises—sometimes significantly—for people with certain risk factors, including:
Obesity (BMI 30 or more)
Regular exposure to dry cleaning and metalworking chemicals
African American race