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posted: 11/11/2017 7:00 AM

'Know your family, know your risk' of pancreatic cancer

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Submitted by Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation

Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is encouraging the public to "Know Your Family" and "Know Your Risk" during November's National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Nov. 16 is World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Early detection can significantly impact survival rates -- which is why the web tools found at www.KnowMyRisk.org are designed to assist individuals in understanding their family history and to help determine personal risk factors for the disease.

"Those who have had a family member diagnosed with pancreatic cancer understand: it's personal. 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," said Jim Rolfe, president of the board of directors for the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.

"National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and World Pancreatic Cancer Day give us a great opportunity to further educate people about this deadly disease and ways it can be prevented," he added.

In 2016, pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., surpassing breast cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 7 percent -- the worst of all major cancers. It is vital for everyone to know your family to understand the risk for pancreatic cancer as a first step to early detection. Those with a history of pancreatic cancer in their immediate family can know your risk by talking to a doctor or genetic counselor.

1. Know your family: Family history plays a big role in the early detection of pancreatic cancer. That's why Rolfe has debuted a brand-new web tool to help individuals "Know Your Family."

The "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" work sheet.

Understanding the medical histories of immediate family members is crucial to early detection. To download the "Know Your Family" work sheet and begin the path to early detection today, visit www.KnowMyRisk.org.

2. 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," said Rolfe. "We look forward to continue shining a light on pancreatic cancer during the month of November through our online resources and tools."

• The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation is excited to take part in National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. For more information about the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and new online tools, visit www.KnowMyRisk.org.

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