Pancreatic cancer originates in the tissues of your pancreas, an organ located behind the lower section of your stomach in your belly. Your pancreas makes substances that control digestion and also emits digestive enzymes. Several tumors, both malignant and noncancerous, can affect the pancreas.
Early detection of pancreatic cancer, when it is most curable, is rare. This is because it frequently does not present symptoms until it has migrated to other organs.
The stage of pancreatic cancer influences the treatment options available. Let’s check out briefly the pancreatic tumor.
Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer frequently don’t arise until the cancer spreads.
They may include the following:
- Back discomfort that originates in the abdomen
- Appetite loss or unintentional weight loss
- Stools in light colors
- Urine with a dark color
- Itchy Skin
- Newly diagnosed diabetes or diabetes that is becoming increasingly difficult to manage
- Clots in the blood
Consult your doctor if you are facing any strange symptoms. Your doctor may screen for other problems along with pancreatic cancer.
How does pancreatic cancer occur?
This cancer is witnessed when the DNA of cells in the pancreas changes (mutates). A cell’s DNA contains codes that tell it what to do. These mutations cause the cells to multiply uncontrollably and to live much longer than normal cells would. The cells that are increasing have the capability to induce a tumor. Pancreatic cancer cells might spread to adjacent organs if left untreated.
The majority of pancreatic cancer starts in the cells that line the pancreatic ducts. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, also known as pancreatic exocrine cancer, is a kind of cancer that affects the pancreas. Cancer can develop in the pancreas’ hormone-producing cells or neuroendocrine cells less commonly. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, islet cell tumors, and pancreatic endocrine cancer are the names for these cancers.
Factors that are at risk
The following factors may raise your risk of pancreatic cancer:
- BRCA2 gene mutation
- Lynch syndrome
- Pancreatic cancer in the family
The majority of persons are diagnosed beyond the age of 65, thus they are older. Smoking, long-term diabetes, and poor diet all raise the risk of pancreatic cancer more than any of these factors alone, according to a major study.
The stage of pancreatic cancer determines how it is treated. A multidisciplinary team of general care physicians, gastroenterologists, surgeons, pathologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists are the doctors that treat pancreatic cancer.
- Surgical Intervention: Pancreatic cancers in the early stages (stages I and II) can be surgically treated. Surgery may be recommended as a possibly curative treatment or as a palliative approach to improve the quality of life of the patient. Before going over the surgical procedures, it’s crucial to note that each patient has a unique situation that should be reviewed in detail with your healthcare experts.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two treatments that can be used to treat cancer. Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who are not candidates for surgery may get a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to shrink the tumor. Furthermore, it is frequently prescribed to patients who have pancreatic cancer that is locally advanced but not metastatic. In this circumstance, radiation therapy can help to control cancer locally (in the pancreas) as well as reduce the number of cancer-related symptoms like discomfort.
- Pain management: This is a prevalent complaint in pancreatic cancer patients, and it can drastically diminish a patient’s quality of life. As a result, the management of chronic pain is critical, and patients should not hesitate to seek the guidance of a pain expert.
If you do the following, you may minimize your chance of pancreatic cancer:
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, make an effort to quit. Visit your physician to learn about options like medications and nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking.
- Keep up a healthy body mass index (BMI). Maintain your current weight if you are at a healthy weight. If you need to reduce weight, strive for a 1-2 pound (0.5–1 kilogram) weight loss every week. To reduce weight, combine daily exercise with a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, as well as smaller portions.
- Make a conscious effort to eat a balanced diet. A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy grains, may help lower your cancer risk.
If you have a family history (heritability) of pancreatic cancer, talk to a doctor. He or she can go over your family’s medical history with you and see if a genetic test would help you understand your risk of pancreatic cancer or other malignancies.
As a patient, you have a big say in deciding what treatment is best for you. Some people choose intensive treatment, while others prefer less aggressive treatments that have fewer adverse effects.