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About Pancreatic Cancer
Cancer cells can form from both endocrine (hormonal) and exocrine (digestive) cells in the pancreas, which is located in the belly. Pancreatic cancer starts in the tissues of your pancreas, an organ located behind the lower section of your stomach in your belly.
The pancreas can be affected by a variety of tumours, both malignant and noncancerous. The most frequent type of pancreas cancer starts in the cells lining the ducts that transport digestive enzymes from the pancreas.
Pancreatic cancer is rarely identified early on when it is most treatable. This is due to the fact that it frequently does not present symptoms until it has migrated to other organs. The cancer therapy options are determined by the severity of the disease. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these may be used.
Causes of Pancreatic Cancer
The cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. Some variables, such as smoking and having specific hereditary gene mutations, have been identified as potentially increasing the risk of this type of cancer, according to doctors. The following factors may raise your risk of developing pancreatic cancer:
● Pancreatitis; is a chronic inflammation of the pancreas
● Family history of genetic mutations
● Family medical history of pancreatic cancer
● Most people are diagnosed after age 65
A major study found that the combination of smoking, long-term diabetes, and a poor diet raises the risk of pancreatic cancer more than any of these factors alone.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer symptoms frequently may not develop until the later stages of the disease. They can also have symptoms that are similar to those of other illnesses, making diagnosis more difficult. Among the most common signs and symptoms are:
● Abdominal or back pain
● Jaundice, found in almost 70% of people with pancreatic cancer
● Low appetite and weight loss
● Gallbladder or liver swelling
● Deep vein blood clots or a pulmonary embolism
● Pale grey or fatty faecal matter
● Nausea and vomiting
● Fever and chills
● Diarrhoea or constipation
● A rash caused by jaundice
New symptoms may occur elsewhere in the body if the cancer spreads.
Prevention and Screening
Pancreatic cancer cannot be completely avoided. Some risk factors are uncontrollable, such as age, gender, race, and family history. However, there are several things you may do to reduce your risk. Some lifestyle choices may be beneficial in lowering the risk.
● Quitting smoking
● Maintaining a healthy weight
● Exercising regularly
● Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables
● Limiting your consumption of red meat
Pancreatic cancer is diagnosed using a variety of assays. Not every person will be subjected to all of the tests outlined here. If a medical professional suspects pancreatic cancer, one or more of the following tests may be ordered:
● Images of your inside organs are created via imaging examinations. These tests allow your doctors to see inside your body, including your pancreas. Ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs, and, in certain cases, PET scans are all used to diagnose pancreatic cancer.
● Create ultrasound images of your pancreas with a scope. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure that employs an ultrasound instrument to create images of your pancreas from within your belly. To obtain the images, the instrument is sent down your throat and into your stomach using a tiny, flexible tube (endoscope).
● Taking a biopsy of a tissue sample (biopsy). A biopsy is a technique that involves removing a tiny sample of tissue from the body to be examined under a microscope. During an EUS, tissue is usually harvested using special equipment passed through the endoscope. A sample of tissue from the pancreas is obtained less frequently by putting a needle into your skin and into your pancreatic (fine-needle aspiration).
● Examination of the blood. Your doctor may do a blood test to look for specific proteins (tumour markers) that pancreatic cancer cells secrete. CA19-9 is a pancreatic cancer tumour marker test. It might help you figure out how your cancer reacts to therapy. However, because some persons with pancreatic cancer may not have increased CA19-9 levels, the test isn’t always accurate.
Early cancer discovery frequently leads to additional treatment choices, but pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Because the pancreas is located deep within the body, early tumours are neither visible nor detectable during standard physical examinations. Symptoms normally do not appear until the cancer has spread to other organs or has grown to a great size. No major professional associations now advocate regular pancreatic cancer screening in those who are at average risk because no screening test has been found to reduce the chance of dying from this malignancy, this is the case. Remember to tell your doctor(s) about any changes in your health. This will help them decide if you need any additional screening tests or treatment.
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