“The third Thursday in November is World Pancreatic Cancer Day. My thoughts are with all Albertans who have been diagnosed with this cancer, those who did not survive, and their families and friends.

“Sadly, more than 500 Albertans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. Only half of them live beyond four months. Eight per cent will survive five years.

Pancreatic cancer is often silent and painless until it has spread, so a diagnosis often comes too late for successful treatment and with little time or hope for patients and loved ones.

“As with all cancers, the earlier it is caught, the better the outcome. Please don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you or a family member experiences symptoms such as jaundice, unexplained weight loss, digestive issues, loss of appetite or pain in the mid-back.

“Research shows that about 44 per cent of pancreatic cancer cases are linked to factors we can change. We can reduce our chances of getting pancreatic cancer by being aware of our risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and poor diet.

“Most cancers develop slowly over time. Changing your lifestyle choices today will affect your future risk of cancer and many other chronic diseases. If you need support in starting or reaching your health and wellness goals, speak with your family doctor or contact Health Link at 811. You can find more information and strategies for prevention and healthy living at Healthier Together.

“If you or someone you know is facing pancreatic cancer, I encourage you to connect with Pancreatic Cancer Canada or Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society. They offer professional advice and practical supports for patients, caregivers and families. They also do a tremendous job at raising awareness and funding research so that, one day, more pancreatic cancer patients can expect a better prognosis.”