Pancreatic Cancer - Get information and read articles on Pancreatic Cancer sign, symptoms, causes, treatment, prevention and diagnosis at onlymyhealth.com, your complete health guide.
There are various changeable and unchangeable risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Read on to know how you can help yourself to keep the disease at bay.
Pancreatic cancer in the initial stages is usually silent and painless (i.e. it does not cause any symptoms). Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often non-specific and become evident after it has grown and spread outside the pancreas to the adjacent tissues. Some common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting and pale coloured stool.
Pancreatic cancer grows and spreads rapidly and is diagnosed in the early stages in very few cases. Overall, the five year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is very low. In early stages when the cancer is localised to pancreas, the 5 year survival rate is about 16%, which decreases to about 2% in patients with metastatic cancer. Survival rate of recurrent pancreatic cancer is poor and the overall survival duration is a few months.
Pancreatic cancer causes non-specific symptoms. If you have symptoms suggestive of pancreatic cancer, your doctor will recommend tests. Some of the tests that are helpful in diagnosing pancreatic cancer include abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, biopsy and measurement of levels of tumour marker called CA 19-9.
Pancreas has two important functions namely, secreting insulin and making enzymes that help to break down and digest proteins. Insulin is an important hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar level. The enzymes secreted by the pancreas break the proteins into smaller parts so that they can be digested and absorbed from the intestine into blood and used for energy.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers the prognosis of which is often poor. The Five year survival rate is poor and is as follows -for localised cancer, the survival rate is 16.4%, which decreases to 7.0 percent for regional cancer and 1.8 percent for metastatic cancer.
Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the extent of the disease. If the cancer can be removed completely by surgery, it is treated surgically as complete surgical removal can cure pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy (with or without radiotherapy) is usually given for locally advanced pancreatic cancers that are not amenable to surgical resection or metastatic cancers.
There is no known way that can prevent cancer of the pancreas. Some measures that can probably decrease the risk or prevent this cancer include quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, eating healthy diet, being at a healthy body weight and preventing or reducing diabetes.