Pancreatic cancer occurs when there is abnormal growth of cells in the pancreas. This is an organ that is located on the stomach and it’s responsible for the production of pancreatic juice which is essential in aiding the digestion of fats. In most cases, the diagnosis for pancreatic cancer is usually found in the late stages, because there are no visible symptoms during the early stages of cancer development. Health experts highly recommended that regular screenings should be done for early detection which will increase the survival rates of the patient. According to Mayo clinic because of the lateness in diagnosis, the five year survival rate is less that 5%. The risk factors are tobacco smoking and drinking alcohol, family history, DNA mutations, advanced age of 60 years and above and its more in African American men than in whites or Asian ethnic groups, Pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus, Unhealthy habits which includes poor diet and obesity. The symptoms are usually silent during the early stages and they are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss. During the doctor’s visit a number of tests will be performed to find out the exact cause of the symptoms, this is because they are also linked to a number of ailments and disorder.
The doctor will do a physical examination which includes analyzing your personal and family medical histories to establish some linkages. Blood test will be done to check on carcinoembryonic antigen which is a chemical that is released to the blood by the cancer cells. Other methods include CT Scans, MRI tests, biopsy, ultrasound, Angiogram. The results will clearly show the extent of growth of the cancer cells in the pancreas. This coupled with factors like your health condition will now enable the doctor to apply the best treatment that will eradicate the tumors.
Surgery: In this procedure the doctors will remove the pancreas, if it has not spread to any other organs then you will permanently be cured but after it has metastasized to other organs, surgery will not be a viable option.
Chemotherapy: Medications are used to treat the metastasized cells, it works by destroying the already spread cells and preventing them from further developing. The side effects of this procedure are nausea, fatigue, loss of hair and vomiting.
Radiation: This is the use of high energy rays radiation machine to destroy the cancer cells. The procedure takes a few weeks to complete. It may be combined with chemotherapy depending on the stage of the tumor.
Posted by on Jun.02, 2011, under information