Health Blogs

Pancreatic Cancer

What is pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer begins when pancreatic cells grow out of control and form a mass.

The pancreas is located deep in abdomen between stomach and spine. It helps in digestion and blood sugar control. Normally cellsdivide to form new cells as the body needs to replace old cells but when this process fails it results in tumor formation.

Some tumors are benign which lack invasiveness and others are malignant. Pancreatic cancers spread to liver, lungs, bone and lymph nodes.150 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer everyday.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

Based on the type of cell in which they start within, pancreatic cancer can be exocrine 94% or neuroendocrine. Different tumours respond differently to different treatments.

Causes

DNA changes(that are inherited or ariseover time)

Risk factors

  1. 1st Degree relative
  2. Inherited genetic syndrome
  3. Long standing diabetes
  4. Chronic or hereditary pancreatitis
  5. Smoking
  6. Specific race
  7. Male gender/ highly fat diet/obesity

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain abdomen or back
  • Yellowish discolouration of skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in the color of stools

Diagnosis

  • CT – Scan
  • MRI- Scan
  • PET- scan
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound

Treatment Options

Surgery often the best chance of cure.

Treatment options depend on stage of disease and the patient’s general condition. It generally includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Pancreatic cancers are hard to treat.

Most patients are diagnosed at later stages and are not eligible for surgery.

Pancreatic Cancer is Hard to Find

Non obvious symptoms and signs

Doctor may use several tests to make diagnosis.

Tests to find pancreatic cancer in earlier stages holds the key.