Known as the 'silent' killer because there are so few symptoms, if any at the early stages, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancer. However, research suggests that nearly 40% of pancreatic cancers could be prevented with some healthy lifestyle changes. What many health professionals are now asking is: "Could exercise combat pancreatic cancer?"
The deadly facts
It's a grim reality that in the US over 30,000 people a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Most of these people are over 45 years old with the vast majority being over 55. Along with these numbers, what really makes pancreatic cancer such a dreadful disease is that it is usually only diagnosed in the late stages and the survival rate beyond five years is just 5%.
Why is the survival rate not higher?
Currently there is no screening for pancreatic cancer and tumours can be fairly small too. On top of this there are seldom any real symptoms until the disease is fairly advanced. Abdominal pains and jaundice, as well as weight loss and fatigue are just some of these later-stage symptoms.
The causes are not clear
To suggest that keeping trim and giving up bad habits can help avoid some pancreatic cancers, the fact is that there are different causes of cancer and variants. It is not about holding individuals responsible because of their lifestyle choices, which may or may not have had an impact but just improving the statistics by being as healthy as possible. Sara Hiom from Cancer Research in the UK, who are concentrating more funding on research for pancreatic cancer, explains. "Cancer is a complex set of diseases. For some, lifestyle can play an important role, and is one aspect of the disease that we have some control over. Pancreatic cancer is a disease with poor outcomes and is less well understood, so it's important that we talk about the things people can do to stack the odds in their favour and reduce their risk."
Cancer and exercise
As well as playing a role in preventing some forms of cancer, including potentially 40% of pancreatic cancers, exercise is a great way to boost your immune system and ensure that you are not carrying around potentially dangerous excess weight. Stopping bad habits can also encourage an all-round healthier lifestyle too, as long as you don't exchange one vice for another.
There is also evidence that exercise can help when recovering from illnesses, including cancer. Certainly, when you are keeping active you are not only energizing your body but also motivating your mind and encouraging a stronger mind-body connection too. Exercise can keep you feeling good, with the release of 'happy' neurotransmitters and release stress which is also a huge health hazard.
What is clear is that working out is much more than looking good and having a toned physique; fitness is about how you live your life to promote your quality of life and your health. Follow the healthier way with us!