“Know Your Family, Know Your Risk” for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer

Those who have had a family member diagnosed with pancreatic cancer understand: it’s personal.

With a mere seven percent five-year survival rate, pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers. The time frame from diagnosis to death is often very short, with little warning, creating a life-altering impact on the people who are able to survive and their families.

However, early detection can significantly impact survival rates — which is why we at Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation have introduced new, easy-to-use online tools to “Know Your Family” and “Know Your Risk.”

Found at www.KnowMyRisk.org, the web tools are designed to assist individuals in understanding his or her family history and to help determine personal risk factors for the disease. Here’s how you can take the first steps:

Know Your Family — Family history plays a big role in the early detection of pancreatic cancer. That’s why we debuted a brand-new web tool to help individuals “Know Your Family.” The downloadable “Know Your Family” tool will help individuals, who may think there is a history of pancreatic cancer among immediate family members, determine their risk by walking through family histories with an easy-to-use, helpful “Know Your Family” worksheet. Understanding the medical histories of immediate family members is crucial to early detection.

Know Your Risk — Once an individual is privy to their family’s medical history, the next step on the path to early detection is to “Know Your Risk.” To do so, one should consider visiting www.KnowMyRisk.org to find a local certified genetic counselor. This one-step “Know Your Risk” tool is essential because if there is a pattern of pancreatic cancer in an individual’s family, that individual may have a higher risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the future.

By having a firm grasp of your family history and risk factors, you can begin the path to early detection of pancreatic cancer. Through taking these early steps toward detection, diagnoses can come with more warning, ideally helping survival rates in the long run. We are excited to take this step in the fight for early detection.

Jim Rolfe is president of the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, a leading Midwest institution with a mission of being a catalyst for the early detection and ultimate cure of pancreatic cancer.

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