Cancer Awareness: Lung, Stomach and Pancreatic

November is the awareness month for three types of cancer:  Lung, Stomach, and Pancreatic. 

What do you know about these cancers? Learn the facts and ways to lower your risk for yourself and your loved ones.



Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States.

Each year, about 221,000 people in the United States are told they have lung cancer and about 146,000 people die from this disease.
Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Most people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the cancer is advanced.

You can lower your lung cancer risk in several ways:
  • Don’t Smoke
  • Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke
  • Get Your Home Tested for Radon

Test your knowledge about lung cancer here.

Read more about how you can lower your lung cancer risk

For more information about lung cancer, visit the Center's for Disease Control's website.

2020 Purple Line

Stomach Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for stomach cancer in the United States for 2020 are:

  • About 27,600 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed (16,980 in men and 10,620 in women)
  • About 11,010 people will die from this type of cancer (6,650 men and 4,360 women)
  • Stomach cancer mostly affects older people. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 68.
  • About 6 of every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year are 65 or older.
  • The risk that a man will develop stomach cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 95. For women the chance is about 1 in 154. But each person's risk can be affected by certain other factors.
Scientists have found several risk factors that make a person more likely to get stomach cancer.

Some of these can be controlled, but others cannot. 

  • Gender - Stomach cancer is more common in men than in women.
  • Age - There is a sharp increase in stomach cancer rates in people over age 50. Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are between their late 60s and 80s.
  • Ethnicity - In the United States, stomach cancer is more common in Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders than it is in non-Hispanic whites.
  • Geography - Worldwide, stomach cancer is more common in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, and South and Central America. This disease is less common in Northern and Western Africa, South Central Asia, and North America.
  • Helicobacter pylori infection - Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria seems to be a major cause of stomach cancer, especially cancers in the lower (distal) part of the stomach.
  • Diet - An increased risk of stomach cancer is seen in people with diets that have large amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables. Nitrates and nitrites are substances commonly found in cured meats. They can be converted by certain bacteria, such as H pylori, into compounds that have been shown to cause stomach cancer in lab animals. On the other hand, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables appears to lower the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Tobacco use - Smoking increases stomach cancer risk, particularly for cancers of the upper portion of the stomach near the esophagus. The rate of stomach cancer is about doubled in smokers.
  • Being overweight or obese - Being overweight or obese is a possible cause of cancers of the cardia (the upper part of the stomach nearest the esophagus), but the strength of this link is not yet clear.
  • For full list of risk factors, click here.

For more information about Stomach cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society's website.

2020 Purple Line

Pancreatic Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2020 are:

  • About 57,600 people (30,400 men and 27,200 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • About 47,050 people (24,640 men and 22,410 women) will die of pancreatic cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths.
Risk factors

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

Risk factors that can be changed are:  Tobacco use, being overweight, diabetes, Chronic pancreatitis, workplace exposure to certain chemicals.

Risk factors that can't be changed include: 

  • Age - The risk of developing pancreatic cancer goes up as people age. Almost all patients are older than 45. About two-thirds are at least 65 years old. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 70.

  • Gender - Men are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women. This may be due, at least in part, to higher tobacco use in men, which raises pancreatic cancer risk (see above).

  • Race - African Americans are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than whites. The reasons for this aren’t clear, but it may be due in part to having higher rates of some other risk factors for pancreatic cancer, such as diabetes, smoking , and being overweight.

  • Family history - Pancreatic cancer seems to run in some families. In some of these families, the high risk is due to an inherited syndrome (explained below). In other families, the gene causing the increased risk is not known. Although family history is a risk factor, most people who get pancreatic cancer do not have a family history of it.

  • For a full list of risk factors, click here.

 To learn more about Pancreatic cancer, visit the American Cancer Society's website.

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