Pancreatic cancer seen amongst younger population

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Diabetes and obesity are common in the Rio Grande Valley and are two high-risk factors known to lead to pancreatic cancer.

It is a disease known as the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. According to health experts, there are four stages of development:

Stage 1: Small nodule in the pancreas

Stage 2: When its an abnormal size but still in the pancreas

Stage 3: When it spread to the outside the lymph nodes

Stage 4: Anywhere outside of the pancreatic area

McAllen South Texas Health System’s General Surgeon, Dr. Bob Saggi said health matters regardless of age and should always be a top priority to help prevent a stage for pancreatic cancer.

While there are no well-defined factors for the disease, Dr. Saggi said there is a certain factor that is related to the development of the disease.

“The number one risk factor is age,” said Dr. Saggi.

According to Dr. Saggi, most people who have pancreatic cancer tend to be in their 60’s and 70’s.

However, Dr. Saggi expressed the disease is now being seen within a younger population which is why he encourages exercise and better eating habits.

Medical Director at the Harlingen Valley Baptist Health System’s Cancer Center, Dr. Todd Shenkenberg said pancreatic cancer affects both men and women. However, he said men tend to be more prone to the disease.

Dr. Todd Shenkenberg said there are a variety of symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

According to Dr. Shenkenberg, changes in stool color are signs of severe symptoms of an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer.

Shenkenberg said there are other symptoms that may seem normal but should be taken seriously if experienced more than usual.

“Abdominal symptoms whether it be pain or bloating that doesn’t go away, not normal gas and stuff but something that just persists over time,” he said.

Shenkenberg said it is challenging to know whether pancreatic cancer is present. He said the best way to confirm pancreatic cancer, or any other type of disease is by a proper diagnosis from a professional.

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