The most common cancer that arises in the pancreas is the adenocarcinoma, which carries the worst prognosis. The main risk factors are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and diabetes mellitus.
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Surgical Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer in India
The pancreasisa gland behind your stomach and in front of your spine.
It producesthe juicesthat help break
down food and the hormones that help
control blood sugar levels. Pancreatic
cancer usually beginsin the cells that
producethe juices. Somerisk factorsfor
developing pancreatic cancerinclude
Pancreatic cancerishard to catch early. It doesn't causesymptomsright
away. When you do get symptoms, they are often vague or you may not
notice them. They include yellowing of the skin and eyes, painin the
abdomenand back, weight loss and fatigue. Also, becausethepancreas
is hiddenbehind other organs, health careproviderscannot see or feel
the tumorsduring routineexams. Doctorsuse a physicalexam, blood
tests, imagingtests, and a biopsy to diagnoseit.
Becauseit is often found late and it spreadsquickly, pancreatic cancer
canbe hard to treat. Possibletreatmentsincludesurgery, radiation,
chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targetedtherapyusessubstances
that attackcancercells without harmingnormalcells.
The most common cancer that arises in the pancreas is the
adenocarcinoma, which carries the worst prognosis. The main risk
factorsaresmoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and diabetes
mellitus. There is also a strong relation to chronic pancreatitis and a
family history of cancer. Hence this cancer can be guarded against by
lifestyle modifications, such as cessation of smoking, change in drinking
habits, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Signs and symptoms
The initial signs and symptoms of this disease are very nonspecific and
emulate everyday troubleslike indigestion and acidity. However, cancer
of thepancreatic head announces itself comparatively early by blocking
the common bile duct and thus causing jaundice, which is initially
painless. Hence any painless jaundice should be immediately
investigated with anabdominal ultrasound. Cancer of the other parts of
the pancreasdonot cause jaundiceand areconsequently diagnosed even
later. They usually cause severe abdominal pain spreading to the back,
weight loss, vomiting and onset diabetes.
Diagnosis is done by imaging, such as
CT scan, MRI, CT guided fine needle
biopsy (FNAC) and a blood test to
detect a specific proteincalled CA 19.9,
the level of which is elevated in
pancreatic cancer. It is not always
possible to do preoperative biopsy or
FNAC successfully, and it frequently
happensthat the surgeondecides to operate on clinical and radiological
suspicionalone. During the operation, a frozen section biopsy is used to
confirm the disease.
Treating pancreatic cancercanbechallenging. Your doctorswill consider
several different factorswhen choosing the best treatment for you. These
includethe gradeand stageof the cancer, the locationand extent of the
disease. Other factsinclude:
• Your age, overall health, and medicalhistory
• Your toleranceof specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
• Expectationsfor the course of the disease
• Your opinion or preference
For most patientsdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer, themaingoalof
treatment isto controlsymptoms. All treatmentshavebenefitsand risks.
You and your doctor should carefully balancethepotentialbenefitsof
any cancer treatment with itspotentialrisks.
Treatment options may include:
Surgery - Surgeryfor pancreatic
cancer maybe curativeor palliative.
when imaging studiestellthe
surgeon that it is possibleto remove
all thecancer. Research has shown
that the riskof major complications
reduced if the Whippleprocedure or
other pancreatic surgery isperformed at an institutionthat performsa
high volume of these procedures
Palliativesurgerymaybe done if imaging studiesshow that the tumor is
too widespread tobe completely removed. Palliativesurgerycanrelieve
symptomslike jaundiceand prevent certaincomplications.
Radiation therapy - Radiationtherapyuseshigh-energyradiation to
kill cancer cells and shrinktumors.
Chemotherapy - Chemotherapyisthe use of cytotoxic (anti-cancer)
medicinestotarget and destroy cancer cells. It is an important
treatment optionfor many types of cancer and clinicaltrials.
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