Pancreatic Cancer ~ Risk Factors

About 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year.
It is not known exactly what causes it to develop, and research into this is ongoing. Like all cancers, pancreatic cancer isn’t infectious and can’t be passed on to other people.

Things that can increase your risk of developing a disease are called risk factors.
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • – Age ~ most common in people over 65 but generally beyond middle age your risks of getting pancreatic cancer increase.
  • – Smoking ~ 30% of the suffers of pancreatic cancer smoke so this may also be a risk factor.
  • – Diet ~ A diet high in red meat, processed meat, fat and or sugar and low in fruit and vegetables may also be a risk factor.
  • – Alcohol ~ Large amounts of alcohol regularly may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer especially in those that smoke.
  • – Diabetes & Chronic Pancreatitis ~ People with these conditions have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Family History ~ Most people who develop pancreatic cancer have no history of pancreatic cancer in their family. But about 5–10 out of every 100 cases of pancreatic cancer (5–10%) may be linked to faulty genes that can run in families. If two or more people on the same side of a family have pancreatic cancer, this may be a sign that other people in the family are at an increased risk too. People who have the faulty breast cancer gene BRCA2 or the condition Lynch syndrome/HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) may have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Members of families with a tendency to have large numbers of unusual moles (FAMMM – Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma) also have an increased risk of cancer of the pancreas. People with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. PJS is a condition that causes multiple growths (polyps) in the digestive tract and dark spots on the skin of the face and hands. If you may be at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer because of your family history, you can be referred to a specialist clinic for advice. At the clinic your risk will be carefully assessed. People who are at a significantly increased risk may be offered regular screening tests to try to detect cancer of the pancreas early if it does occur.
The best way to screen for pancreatic cancer hasn’t yet been established, so screening may be offered as part of a research trial.

Information Source


The Pancreas ~ What it’s for

The pancreas is probably an organ you’ve never really thought about. It is located in the upper part of your tummy (abdomen) behind your stomach, and is protected by your ribs in the back. The pancreas can be described as having a head, body and a tail. The head is located more toward your liver on the right, while the tail runs to your left, under your stomach, a nearly to your spleen. The pancreas has two general jobs which are very important = it releases digestive juices (enzymes) and that process is called an exocrine function. The other general job it does is putting different chemical messengers called hormones into your blood, which help with a wide variety of functions in your body. This job is called an endocrine process.

The pancreas releases hormones into the blood these help control your blood sugars (glucose). These two important chemicals are called insulin and glucagons.

The pancreas also makes several chemicals called digestive enzymes. These are released into your intestines when you eat to help digest your food.

The pancreas also releases a fluid that contains bicarbonate – basically, baking soda. This helps to balance, or neutralize, the acids coming into the intestine from the stomach.

Information Source

Chocolate Cravings & Walking

I did it, I made it through Easter without pigging out on chocolate. I had a tiny portion of chocolate mousse after lunch and a bite of my sons chocolate cereal nest and that’s it. I even turned down chocolate offered to me, that’s unheard of for me!

I’ve not walked as much as I’d have liked to this weekend, I did just over 25,000 steps over Saturday and Sunday. I did a little experiment this morning. I walked laps of the ground floor of my house. I wanted to see how quickly I could do 1,000 steps, answer 9:01 minutes. So if 5k is 6-7,000 steps at my current speed I should complete the course in around 63 minutes. My mission over the next few weeks is to bring down how long it takes me to do 1,000 steps then I’ll start working on upping how many steps I do in one go. Hopefully by the end of April I will be able to do a full 5k in one go without killing myself.

Here are my stats from the Fitbit this weekend.


Wow, I’ve just checking my just giving page to see that my very kind cousin and her partner have sponsored me £100, this is amazing and has really pushed me forward I set my target to £200 knowing times are very hard but hoping to raise a lot more. My Dad has kindly said that he will sponsor me for every lb lost plus every kilometer I complete of the course. If I hit my target weigh loss and complete the course which I will that’s another £92 that’s amazing. Then there’s the lovely donations and kind encouragement I had on my page the day it went live it is so kind of people to look and donate and your donations really drive me forward and will make me work harder than ever. Please if you can donate do, every penny really does count. Thanks all

Just Giving Page

My Plan

Diet – I am going to put more focus on what I am eating by keep a daily food diary and weigh in every week at slimming world. I need to reduce my portion sizes (I know in theory slimming world lets you eat as much of the healthy stuff as you want but I’m eating to much and that has to change) and I am going to try new foods.


Fitness – I think I could manage to walk the Race for Life or should I say crawl but I would probably be one of the last over the finish line. I need to do something about that. I have a Fitbit and have been using it and in the course of the day can manage about 12,000 steps without to much hardship but this is spread across the entire day, I can get on the Wii Fit and do half an hour of stepping without my chest burning but this is very low impact. I intend to walk most of the 5k in the Race for Life however I would love to be able to run the last little bit without killing myself. I am part of some fitbit groups on facebook and will be using them to challenge myself as much as possible.


I have worked out that 5k is between 6-7,000 steps depending on stride so at least once a week I am going to try and get that many steps done in one go (kids might struggle with this so may have to be at home once they are in bed as they only have little legs). I may also have to build up to this so watch this space.


About Me

I’m Karen and I am considerably over weight and significantly unhealthy. I have been trying to loose weight since late 2014 to begin with I did very well following slimming world and lost exactly 3 stone in just over a year. Then I lost motivation and started to get lazy and put some of that weight back on. I’m still lighter than I was when I started slimming world in 2014 but not even close to where I need to be. In total I need to loose nearly half my body weight. So now I am more focused and more determined to get this weight of. I work part time study from home and have 2 small children so I am always busy but not always work out busy as often I am either sat on the floor playing with the children, cooking our meals or sat at the computer doing my coursework.


A friend asked if I was interested in doing the Race for Life this year. At first I thought hell no that’s way more than I can manage but the more I thought about it the more I thought it was a good idea, not only can I do something positive for me but I can also do something positive in my beautiful Aunts name. You can read about my Aunt Sandra in my earlier post. Since she passed I have wanted to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and get people more aware of this silent killers signs and symptoms. So on Thursday 24th March I signed up for the Bristol 5k Race for Life that takes place on 3rd July this gives me roughly 3 months to get fit and shed some of my excess pounds so I can do the race without having to crawl over the finishing line. I want to share my journey so others can see that with a little motivation it can be done, I also want a place to share facts and information about Pancreatic Cancer so with the help of a more technically minded friend “Steps for Sandra” is born. I will try to post at least once a week but I make no promises as I might be busy exercising, cooking healthy meals, getting my coursework done or playing with my children. I do promise to be very honest and share the highs and lows of this journey so please join me and share this with me.2016-02-26 19.57.57

This is a hard photo for me to post. I don’t usually have photos of me on my own (I usually hold one of the children in front of me to hide the worst of the fat) and I definitely don’t take side on images of myself in tight clothes that show all my lumps and bumps. But I promised honesty and that’s what your going to get. So this is me!


Born 15th August 1960 and over the years became many things to many people, a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, cousin, friend, colleague, wife, aunt, mother, girlfriend, grandmother and more. Through all her relationships Sandra was kind, caring, compassionate and graceful always made time to listen and give her advice and opinion. She had been unwell for a little while and finally went to the doctors the diagnosis came back very quickly (week commencing 15th June 2015), it was Pancreatic Cancer which had spread to her Bowel, the doctors had a few ideas for treatment but the future did not look very bright. Sandra was taken from us on the 22nd July 2015. She was comfortable and with her dignity still holding strong when she passed, just the way she would have wanted it at home with many of her nearest and dearest close by. She managed to hold on and meet her first Grandchild born just a few short weeks before we had to say goodbye to Sandra. Sandra’s voice was legendary singing with the local church choir, a local light opera group and the Jane Lilley Singers (JLS). She also sang at many family events particularly weddings alongside the rest of the JLS, which included one of her sisters and a cousin. She is sadly missed and fondly remembered.Prof 86

For Sandra

Welcome to Steps for Sandra, my very first blog.

We lost our beloved Sandra to pancreatic cancer not long ago, a blow that devastated everyone who knew her.

In Sandra’s memory I will be completing the Bristol 2016 – Race for Life to help raise money for cancer reasearch. You can join me on my journey here on the blog, from decision to race, to the final step across the line and every part in between.

If you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for cancer research, then please go to my JustGiving page:  Karen’s Race for Life Just Giving Page

I hope to interract with you all on this adventure.

For Sandra.

Karen xx