From OHC

November 30, 2021

Contact: Joanie Manzo
Director, Marketing & Physician Services
513-751-2145 x10143

According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), more than 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and findings from a new study reveal that incidences are on the rise. “My OHC colleagues and I want to bring awareness to new symptoms that have been identified for this disease, particularly because it can be challenging to detect in its early stages,” said OHC radiation oncologist, David Pratt, MD.

Research lead by Sirinivas Gaddam, MD, MPH, of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed that between the years of 2000 and 2018, incidences of pancreatic cancer increased in both men and women, with a dramatic increase among women younger than 55, especially among those aged 15 to 34. While researchers do not know the reason for the increase, they believe that if this trend continues pancreatic cancer incidences among women aged 15-34 would grow to be 400% of that experienced by men of the same ages by 2040.

Pancreatic cancer has very low survival numbers because it is typically diagnosed in late stages and early symptoms can be vague. The pancreas is located well inside the abdomen, making tumors difficult to see or feel during a physical exam.

Symptoms to look for include:

  • Abdominal discomfort or indigestion
  • Jaundice with no abdominal discomfort
  • Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Depression

“Findings from a study presented at a U.K. National Cancer Research Institute meeting earlier this month indicate that researchers have identified two new symptoms of pancreatic cancer—increased thirst and dark urine,” noted Dr. Pratt. “Evaluating these new symptoms could lead to an earlier diagnosis, which lends itself to better chances of survival.”

Be sure to report concerning symptoms to your doctor who would be able to diagnose pancreatic cancer through an imaging study like a CT scan, MRI, or endoscopic ultrasound. There is no solid screening test for this disease, but risk factors include:

  • Being over 60, male, African American and/or Ashkenazi Jew
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Having a diet high in red and processed meats
  • Smoking
  • New diabetes diagnosis or longstanding diabetes
  • Chronic pancreatitis

More research will need to be done to determine why incidences are increasing in younger women. Possibilities include exposure to environmental risk factors in recent decades or birth control hormones. The disease is aggressive, and surgery offers the best chance for getting it under control. Physicians also use chemotherapy and radiation. The studies cited earlier point to the importance of ongoing research to identify new trends leading to earlier diagnosis and better treatments.

To learn more about pancreatic cancer and advanced therapies offered by OHC’s leading experts, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit

OHC (Oncology Hematology Care) has been fighting cancer on the front lines for more than 35 years. We are the region’s leading experts in the treatment of nearly every form of adult cancer and complex blood disorder. OHC offers the latest medical, gynecologic and radiation therapy, and is always seeking better treatment options through its nationally recognized cancer research and clinical trials program. OHC is the first — and most experienced — independent adult cancer practice in the region to offer the ground-breaking CAR-T therapy for adults. OHC is certified by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program and is one of only a select few cancer practices nationally to be accepted to participate in the Oncology Care Model, part of The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. At its heart, our approach to cancer care is simple — to surround you with everything you need so you can focus on what matters most: beating cancer. For more information about OHC, or a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit

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