The pancreas is an organ that is located in the abdomen region and it has a very important function in the digestive process by breaking down the fats using the pancreatic juices that it produces. In addition it also produces insulin and glucagon which is an important element in the management of blood sugar levels in the body. The cancer cells develop abnormally causing tumors which in turn begins to spread to other organs of the body. This form of cancer is described by cancer experts as a silent type because the symptoms are not visible during the early stages of development and by the time you start experiencing them , then the cancer cells have spread out of the pancreas and into other surrounding organs.
It is important that you educate yourself about this type of cancer especially if you are likely to get it because of the risk factors. These factors are, carcinogens this are chemicals that are found in tobacco, metals, dyes and leather materials that may cause of the growth of cancer and so it is vital for you to ensure that you work in an environment that protects your health and also that you don’t engage in cigarette smoking. Family history and age of above 60 years also is a risk. It has been noted that the cancer affects more men of black ethnic groups as compared to women.
The stages of Pancreatic Cancer
During diagnosis, the doctor will perform tests such as ultrasound, MRI scan, CT scan, biopsy, endoscopic ultrasounds, angiogram and PET scans. The tests will reveal the level of growth of the cancer cells in the pancreas and this is will determine the treatment options that will be chosen. The method used to determine the stage is called TNM meaning Tumor, Node, Metastasis system. T will show the size of tumor, N will show the extent of the spread of the cancer cells to the lymph nodes. M will indicate if the tumors have metastasized to other organs.
The stages are from stage 0 to stage 4. In stage 0, the cancer cells is still contained in the pancreatic duct and the best treatment at this stage, will be surgery as the doctors will be able to accurately and safely remove the cancer cells. Stage 1, 2 the tumor will be fast developing but still within the pancreas. At stage 3, 4, the cancer cells have spread to organs surrounding the pancreas and at this point surgery is usually not an option. Other treatment methods are chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Posted by on Jun.03, 2011, under information