Throughout National Cancer Prevention Month we’ll share risk factors, scientific research, webinars on topics touching on prevention and facts about how you can make an impact.
The choices we make and avoid when it comes to our personal health can have a ripple effect throughout the body. Research has shown that certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can damage cells and create a domino effect throughout our DNA. When cells become damaged, there is a risk of gene mutations that can cause cells to divide at unprecedented rates and grow exponentially. When cells grow rapidly, out of control or do not die off at the appropriate time, they cause tumors. In most pancreatic cancer cases, risk factors such as smoking, obesity, stage-2 diabetes and chronic pancreatitis can cause these DNA mutations. The first steps on the path to prevention are to adopt a healthy lifestyle and lower your modifiable risk factors.
Our Path to Prevention worksheet outlines risk factors to avoid and steps you can take to get on track towards wellness. While the scientific community is investigating possible methods for prevention and early screening, it is up to us to stay vigilant about our health. If you smoke make a plan to quit, reduce your alcohol intake and remember that your food choices matter. Build a lifestyle around nutritious food, find ways to boost the immune system, take care to reduce stress and kick bad habits as these changes may even save your life. Speak with your doctor on the best course of action to reduce inflammation, prevent insulin-resistance and lower stress. The path to prevention starts with a healthy lifestyle that can help lower your risk for cancer.
In 2020, a team of UCLA researchers were awarded an NIH grant for $5.75 million to study the roles diet, obesity and inflammation play in the development of pancreatic cancer. “We know that the biological mechanisms of obesity, such as inflammation, can lead to the development of pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Guido Eibl, Laboratory Director of the Hirshberg Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research Laboratory. This study will look at the mechanisms that drive the formation of pancreas tumors with the goal of prevention strategies for those at higher risk. Dr. Eibl included, "Several known and modifiable risk factors can increase the risk for pancreatic cancer, including obesity, smoking, and alcohol. In addition, chronic pancreatitis and genetic factors can enhance the risk for pancreatic cancer. It is paramount to avoid or lower known risk factors, manage chronic pancreatitis, and get genetic counseling (if pancreatic cancer runs in the family) to reduce the risk of and prevent pancreatic cancer."