Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of a cancer-related death in the country, yet most people don’t even know what the pancreas is or where it can be found in the body. Pancreatic cancer disproportionately strikes elderly adults, with more than half of the new cases each year occurring in people over the age of 60. If you are a family caregiver that provides elderly care for an aging mom or dad, you owe it to yourself and your loved one to learn more about pancreatic cancer.
Here are 5 things that family caregivers like you need to know about pancreatic cancer and how it can have an impact on the lives of elderly adults.
1. Pancreatic Cancer Is Serious
More than 55,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than half of those will be diagnosed in people over the age of 60. Survival rates for pancreatic cancer depend on how early the disease was first diagnosed. Early detection makes a big difference in the survival rate.
2. Pancreatic Cancer is Relatively Unknown
The average person doesn’t know what the pancreas does within the body nor do they even know where it is located. This lack of knowledge about the pancreas and pancreatic cancer means that many family caregivers are ignorant of the risk factors and the symptoms of the disease. Because they are providing home care services to their aging relatives, caregivers would be the first to recognize symptoms.
3. Pancreatic Cancer is Difficult to Diagnose
There are no screening tests that can reliably detect the early stages of pancreatic cancer, so it is more difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, jaundice, weight loss and digestive issues. Because these symptoms are common with any number of age-related diseases and conditions, many family caregivers don’t think to report them to their loved one’s doctor.
4. Pancreatic Cancer Treatment is Difficult
For those who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the first step is surgery. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, doctors will remove part or all of the pancreas to eliminate the growing tumor. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are usually used to further treat pancreatic cancer.
5. Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Helps Educate and Inform
Throughout the year, there are national and international organizations that dedicate themselves to spreading the word about pancreatic cancer. There are awareness events like runs and walks, fundraisers to support research, and information and literature to provide support for patients and their families. Family caregivers and elderly relatives can participate in any number of awareness campaigns to increase knowledge of pancreatic cancer.
When it comes to elderly care, family caregivers should be the first to notice any health issues in the elderly relative. It’s up to them to learn as much as they can about pancreatic cancer and get their aging loved one the medical help they need for an early diagnosis.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.