Most people don’t know much about pancreatic cancer, yet it is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. Family caregivers should pay particular attention to pancreatic cancer awareness campaigns because nearly two-thirds of new cases occur in adults over 65 years old. So what should family caregivers learn about pancreatic cancer?

Early Signs and Symptoms

Health professionals work hard to educate people on what the risk factors are as well as what symptoms to look for in their elderly loved ones. Early detection boosts the chance of recovery from pancreatic cancer, so its important for caregivers to become aware of what symptoms might indicate its time for a visit to the doctor.

Elderly adults are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer if they have a family history of the disease, diabetes or pancreatitis. Those who are obese, smoke or enjoy a diet high in red and processed meat may also be at an increased risk. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal bloating, digestive issues, weight loss, jaundice, abdominal pain and developing diabetes.

Treatment Options

If there is a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, medical experts will step in to educate patients and family members about their treatment options. Treatment depends on the state of the cancer and the patients current health condition. Usually, doctors will remove part or all of the pancreas, followed by chemotherapy. Pancreatic cancer is particularly hard to beat, and even more efforts toward treatment are needed to make it more effective.

Unfortunately, there hasnt been much research into treatments for the elderly, despite the high numbers of cases. Most clinical trials are done on younger adults, leaving seniors in limbo about what treatments might be best for their unique situation.

How to Find Support With a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

There are many ways that family caregivers can get support if their elderly loved one has recently been diagnosed. Caregivers can help out by sharing information on social media and in person with friends and family. They can also join in with support groups and attend local awareness events like fun runs, walk-a-thons, fundraisers, and more. The more people learn about pancreatic cancer and contribute to the cause, the better support and education there will be for everyone.

Early detection means a better chance of treatment and survival. Thats why its important for family caregivers and elderly relatives to push people of all ages to talk about the issue when possible. Collectively, people can shine the spotlight on every aspect of the devastating disease.


If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in St. Paul, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.