Founded in 1999, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network focused on creating a nationwide network for pancreatic cancer patients in America. In 2016, several member nations came together to build World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition. The reason behind it was to spread awareness regarding the fatal disease and seek support for pancreatic cancer survivors.
Globally, medical professionals, cancer research organizations, and medical institutions observe the month of November as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month”. On November 18, the medical fraternity unites to shine a light on pancreatic cancer, its symptoms, and risk factors.
Why is there a Need for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in India?
According to ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer and 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in India. Every 0.5-2.4 per 100,000 men and 0.2-1.8 per 100,000 women are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in India. Although the incidence of the disease is low in India, the survival rates are abysmally low.
The cause of low survival rates partially lies in the fact that pancreatic cancer is a silent killer. Pancreatic cancer rarely shows any symptoms in the early stages, or even it does; patients confuse them as common digestive issues. And when patients realize there is something wrong, cancer has metastasized. So, spreading awareness regarding the disease and helping pancreatic cancer patients is so crucial.
Pancreatic Cancer: What can you do to make a Difference?
It is okay if you are not a medical professional. As a responsible citizen of India with a duty towards fellow Indians, you can raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. It is a noble way of helping others avoid a fatal disease. Here’s how you can make a difference:
1. Awareness starts with You
Early detection and immediate medical intervention can save the lives of pancreatic cancer patients. So, it is essential to schedule a routine examination with a gastrointestinal doctor. The surgical gastroenterologist will conduct a physical to look for the tell-tale signs of pancreatic cancer and other GI disorders. They may recommend a few tests such as a CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound, and a biopsy to confirm the presence of a pancreatic tumor.
2. A Second Opinion is a Must
Are you diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? Or, do you know someone who is diagnosed with the tumor? Always, always, always seek a second opinion. Consult a pancreatic cancer specialist who has experience in treating several pancreatic cancer patients with positive clinical outcomes. When it comes to cancer treatment, it is best to get expert opinions and make informed decisions.
In addition to getting a second opinion from a GI surgeon, discuss clinical trials and research with the doctor. The medical treatment available today is possible only because of past clinical trials. You can help yourself and other pancreatic cancer patients by taking part in clinical trials.
3. Start an Online Conversation
Wear purple and share your photo on social media on November 18, 2021, with tags such as #Pancreaticcancerwarenessmonth #pancreaticcancer #fightpancreaticcancer, etc. You can also share patient stories to inspire others and provide hope.
Start conversations with your online community and share authentic information about the disease. You can post articles related to risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer and discuss the possible symptoms of the disease.
4. Become a Volunteer Caregiver
You can get trained as a volunteer caregiver and help the patient to manage their needs. It will enable you to provide necessary care to the patient and crucial guidance to the family. Additionally, you can help the family understand the risks of pancreatic cancer and raise awareness. Encourage the patient’s family and people in your network to get routine medical checkups and tests to avoid the disease.
If you want to help pancreatic cancer patients and their families in your free time, you can build an online/offline support group and conduct regular meetings to get them through difficult times. It is essential to improve the quality of life of patients and their loved ones.
5. Make a Donation
Whether you decide to help someone that you know, start a fund-raising campaign for pancreatic cancer, or choose to contribute to a charity fund, providing financial support is a good option. It will be helpful to conduct breakthrough research, build medical infrastructure and even provide patient support in India.
When providing financial support, make sure you choose an authentic fund so that the money goes towards helping people in real need.
By coming together to raise awareness against pancreatic cancer and helping cancer patients, we will win the fight against the deadly disease. Let’s assume the responsibility of working towards a cancer-free India and get involved in Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. fenben lab fenbendazol