Over the years people have asked me why I like endurance activities and how I can be a vegan. It is easy for me to answer those questions but likely hard for people to understand. However during my recent 20+ mile run I got to thinking that it is a no-brainer that I put so much focus on fitness and plant based health. If I look at the past two generations of longevity in my family the odds are not in my favor. My paternal grandfather died of a heart attack at age 40 so heart disease is in my family. My dad died at 55 and his brother, my uncle, Jeff, died at 58 from pancreatic cancer. My maternal grandmother died at 63 from lung failure. I am now 38 and want to do all the things that I can to hopefully outlive my loved ones that have gone before me.
The good news is I don’t smoke and hopefully the two weeks I tried it when I was a kid won’t affect me.
The stat shows increased risk with age stating most people diagnosed are over the age of 60 however that wasn’t the case with my dad and uncle.
Unfortunately the family history factor isn’t in my favor since my father had pancreatic cancer my siblings and his siblings (my aunts and uncles) risk of getting pancreatic cancer increased 2-3 times.
I’ve never had pancreatitis but it is unnerving to me that my husband has had pancreatitis several times. Good news is he hasn’t had an issue for years and lives the same clean lifestyle I do!
Ethnicity plays a factor in risk for pancreatic cancer with African-Americans being more affected than Asian, Hispanic or Caucasian descent.
Based on my gender I have a lesser chance than men to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Fortunately I do not have diabetes as your risk increases 2x for diabetics.
I am hedging bets with my clean plant based diet to help keep pancreatic cancer away. It is unclear how diet affects pancreatic cancer but red meats, animal fats, processed meats and carbohydrates are thought to increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Some may say I over compensate on physical activity but it makes me feel alive and heck it might help reduce my risk of getting pancreatic cancer!
I’m hoping I can break the short longevity cycle in my family and be a positive example for others to break the cycle for their risk as well. The stats aren’t pretty as pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and the 4th leading cause of cancer death with only a single digit five-year survival rate that has had minimal improvement in 40 years! More has to be done and I’ve made it a focus of mine over the last seven years to raise awareness and raise money for pancreatic cancer programs and research.
Help me break the cycle and share this information with friends and on your social media sites. If you are able please donate to support programs and research. Take into account the risk factors for yourself and consider what you can do for yourself and those that love you to reduce your risk if not for pancreatic cancer, for other diseases that might affect your longevity.