Pancreatic cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled multiplication of cells in the pancreatic tissues. The pancreas is an exocrine and endocrine organ that aids in the digestion of foods and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Signs and symptoms seldom appear in the early stages of pancreatic cancer. However, the symptoms become more prominent when cancer advances. Some signs and symptoms may include-
Genetic mutation: There is not much information on what exactly causes pancreatic cancers. However, researchers have identified certain factors and gene mutations that increase the risk of pancreatic cancers.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment depends upon various factors like the location of the tumor, the health condition of the individual, the stage of pancreatic cancer, etc. Pancreatic Cancer Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these.
It consists of removing the cancerous part of the organ. Depending upon the extent of the tumor following surgeries may be performed-
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill tumorous cells.
In chemotherapy, drugs are used to stop the spread of cancer cells. Some drugs prescribed for pancreatic cancer include gemcitabine, irinotecan, capecitabine, etc. In some instances, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy (chemoradiation therapy).
This therapy helps the immune system in fighting cancer.
This therapy aims to improve the quality of life by alleviating the complications associated with pancreatic cancer. This therapy generally includes the management of pain, diabetes management, jaundice management, etc.
Some factors that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer include-
The doctors assign the stages based on the size, location, and extent of pancreatic cancer. In brief, there are 5 stages of pancreatic cancer.
Before recommending diagnostic tests, the doctor would thoroughly examine the patient's medical history. Additionally, the doctor may also perform some physical exams to suspect pancreatic cancer. If the doctor suspects pancreatic cancer, the following tests or a combination of these would be recommended-
The risk of pancreatic cancer can be decreased by making the following lifestyle modifications-
There are two types of pancreatic cancer depending upon the initial location of the cancer development-
At a global level, cancer of the pancreas ranks 11th in incidence. However, pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of mortality worldwide. The risk of pancreatic cancer increases with age and is slightly more prevalent in the male population.
Pancreatic cancer goes undetected in its early stage and therefore accounts for a significant number of cancer deaths every year. The patient survival rate increases if the cancer is localized to the pancreas alone. It becomes difficult to control once it starts spreading to other parts of the body.
If pancreatic cancer is left untreated, it spreads to other body parts. This results in severe, life-threatening conditions.
Pancreatic cancer arises because of the rapid multiplication of cells. This occurs when the rate at which cells divide exceeds the rate at which they die. Pancreatic cancer metastasizes to neighboring lymph nodes, blood vessels, and different organs like the stomach, colon, liver, and lungs. It rarely spreads to the bone and the brain.
As cancer advances, it can lead to secondary cancer of the liver or other organs. The cancer cells consume a lot of energy, leading to weight loss. Additionally, pancreatic cells cannot perform their normal function, leading to improper absorption. Other complications associated with pancreatic cancer include jaundice, severe pain, abdominal obstruction, etc.
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