Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which there is an increase in abnormal cell numbers in the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the abdomen and right in front of the spine. The pancreas plays a role in helping digest food and producing various hormones, including insulin to control blood sugar levels. When detected early, pancreatic cancer can be effectively treated. But because these cancer symptoms are rarely seen, pancreatic cancer is more difficult to detect early.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer, the cause of pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic cancer drugs, will be described further below.
Usually the older the age of a person, the greater the risk of pancreatic cancer. People with cancer is mostly aged 45 years and over. Approximately 2/3 of cancer patients aged 65 years and over, around age 71. Women are usually more affected by pancreatic cancer than men. This cancer can be prevented by minimizing the risk factor. Please consult your doctor for more information.
What causes pancreatic cancer?
The doctors and scientists have not been able to ascertain what are the exact causes of pancreatic cancer. According to some doctors, pancreatic cancer arises when there is a change of DNA in the cell. The mutated cells multiply and grow rapidly. The cells then unite, become tumors that cause cancer, infect surrounding cells and spread to other body parts (idiosyncratic cancer).
Most pancreatic cancers originate from cells present in the inner lining of the pancreatic ducts. This type of cancer is called pancreatic carcinoma or exocrine pancreatic cancer. In other rare cases, the cancer forms in the pancreatic cells that produce hormones, this case is called islet cell cancer or endocrine pancreatic cancer.
What increases my risk for pancreatic cancer?
There are several factors that can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, including:
- Race: African-American race has the highest risk amongst other races
- Acute pancreatic
- Family history associated with a genetic syndrome includes genetic mutations of BRCA2, Lynch syndrome, tumor cells derived from malignant mole genetic tar, or pancreatic cancer patients, smoking.
Call your doctor if you experience any unexplained symptoms such as reduced weight, pain in some areas of the body muscle, yellowing of the eyes, or other symptoms above. Everyone's body response is different. Consulting with your doctor is the best way to diagnose and treat you.
What are the symptoms and signs of pancreatic cancer?
Early stage symptoms of pancreatic cancer are difficult to identify. Along with the development of cancer in the body, these symptoms can be seen:
- Pain in the back of the body
- Eyes yellowing
- Appetite reduced drastically
- Blood clotting
- The urine is dark yellow
- Body aches
- The body feels weak and tired
Some other symptoms may not be listed here. Please consult your doctor if you have any of these signs.
Pancreatic Cancer Medication & Treatment
What are my treatment options for pancreatic cancer? Appropriate treatment options can be selected by physicians based on the patient's health status and cancer progression.
Treatment may include:
Surgery on the head of the pancreas: With this method, the doctor will cut the head of the pancreas, a portion of the small intestine, and the gall bladder. If the cancer spreads, maybe a little part of the stomach will be removed.
Total pancreatic operation: This method lifts all the tail and part of the pancreas. The spleen may also be removed. This operation may cause infection and bleeding.
Radiation therapy uses X-ray energy to destroy all cancer cells. This treatment is usually determined after surgery, or in combination with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a treatment by using drugs or chemicals to kill cancer cells. Patients may use one or more drugs during the course of therapy. This method is usually done in conjunction with radiotherapy. For end-stage pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy can be combined with targeted therapy to destroy cancer cells.
Target therapy uses erlotinib (Tarceva) to avoid the growth of cancer cells.
What are the usual tests for pancreatic cancer?
Doctors can perform early diagnosis of symptoms and overview through several methods, such as tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound. Some of these methods help doctors to determine the stage of cancer accurately (not including the speed of spreading).
Doctors can also perform a method called retrograde cholangiopancreatography endoscopic (ERCP). This method uses a small, delicate synthetic tube that is inserted into the intestine through the throat, then afterwards the doctor performs a radiograph analysis.
Furthermore, the doctor may remove the sample of the pancreas layer and examine it using a microscope to look at cancer cells. This method is called a biopsy.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment at home
What are the lifestyle changes or home remedies that can be done to treat pancreatic cancer?
You can limit the spread of cancer through the following steps:
- A healthy diet and moderate exercise regularly.
- Have a strong and optimistic motivation Periodic doctor visits
- Conduct treatment recommended by a doctor.
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor.