World day of pancreatic cancer, an insidious but little known disease

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The hashtag also says that the concept of time is fundamental #ItsAboutTime which also this year accompanies the campaign promoted by World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition to inform public opinion and to sensitize institutions on pancreatic cancer.
November 18 is celebrated the world day established in 2014 with the aim of drawing attention to this still little known pathology every year in Italy it kills almost 13 thousand people. Pancreatic cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer death and is on its way to becoming the second. A situation aggravated in part also by the health emergency due to the pandemic.

The numbers

To get a more complete picture, just take a look at the data. According to the report ofItalian Association of Cancer Registers of 2021, I’m over 14 thousand diagnoses a year in Italy for pancreatic cancer, a number on the rise since there is + 3% for men and + 3.4% for women, especially in the age groups 70 or older.
While the mortality rate has decreased since 2015 for lung, stomach or breast cancer, the same cannot be said for pancreatic cancer. Just think that less than 2% of all cancer research funding in Europe goes to this type of cancer. If dedicated funds are lacking, research for the cure of this particular pathology can only go slow.
The time factor is decisive for all patients but it is especially so for those battling pancreatic cancer. Intercepting it early on is critical, and early diagnosis can save lives. For this it is necessary to know the alarm bells and risk factors in order to have timely treatment and to be able to intervene surgically..

Symptoms and risk factors

You have to learn to listen to your body and try to understand when a back pain or a deep pain in the upper abdomen they are more of a nuisance. One must be alarmed for one weight loss and sudden appetite and for a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes or unusual itching. Among the symptoms to report is the change in digestion and bowel habits but attention should be paid to the diabetes both new onset and in already diabetic patients.
As regards the risk factors, on the other hand, the family history if a person has two or more first degree relatives (mother, father, brother or child) who have had pancreatic cancer or a first degree relative who developed the disease before age 50. They are to be banned smoking and alcohol as well as ahealthy eating and physical activity help prevent not just pancreatic cancer but many other diseases. If you experience one or more of these ailments, it is good to share any information with your doctor.

The requests of the associations: to establish the Pancreas Units

To shout loudly that the time has come to address pancreatic cancer as well, patient and family members associations Nadia Valsecchi Foundation, Beyond the ODV Research, Purple Code, Purple Ribbon, Pierluigi Natalucci Association Together for Art and Science, My Everest, AISP – Italian Association of Pancreas Study have decided to join forces to send an important message: a change is needed so that a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer no longer represents a sentence.
One of the most urgent requests of the associations is to adapt research investments to the size of the emergency e set up of Pancreas Unit in each region to treat the disease competently and promptly. Following the example of Breast Unit created for the treatment of breast cancer, we ask to identify selected centers with a multidisciplinary team composed of surgeons, oncologists, endoscopists, radiologists, radiotherapists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, nutritionists, psycho-oncologists, palliativists, diabetologists who look at pancreatic cancer in every aspect.

Initiatives for World Pancreatic Cancer Day

There are several initiatives organized for the World Pancreatic Cancer Day. At 7 pm on November 18th by connecting to the dedicated Facebook page you can participate in an event live streaming promoted by associations. If in the past years the word was given to doctors, this time it was decided to leave room for patients who will tell about their experiences and the problems faced during the treatment process.
Among these he will bear his testimony Andrea Spinelli. Already author of two books, If I walk alive e The caminante, Spinelli has been living with a diagnosis of inoperable pancreatic head adenocarcinoma since 2013. «Sharing is very important and not keeping everything inside is good» he says on his very popular Facebook page «I talk about it because I want to help others, luck that I have not had».

The campaign promoted by the Nastro Viola association is also renewed this year Let’s shed some light on pancreatic cancer. On the evening of November 18, monuments, palaces and symbols of over 150 Italian cities will light up in purple to ask for more attention to this pathology. If in the world the Niagara Falls, the Sydney Opera House, Trafalgar Square in London and the Chicago Skyline will be dyed with this color, in Italy we will be able to see purple for one night, just to name a few, the Spire of the Unicredit Tower. Milan, the Lantern of Genoa, Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, the Sferisterio of Macerata, the Royal Palace of Caserta and the Aragonese Castle of Reggio Calabria. Small and large gestures to change the course of history. There is just no time left.

Other stories of Vanity Fair that may interest you:

– “If I walk, I live”: Andrea’s fight against cancer
– The first Italian surgeon to perform a pancreas transplant: “Being a woman didn’t penalize me”
– Because the fruitarian diet sent Ashton Kutcher to the hospital with pancreatitis


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