The pancreas is the main organ that helps in maintaining blood sugar levels in our body by releasing two major hormones glucagon and insulin. Insulin helps the cells to absorb glucose from food digested and glucagon provides nourishment to the body by increasing glucose level when it is low. The pancreas is located behind the stomach and plays a major role in digestion by providing enzymes required to digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Pancreatic cancer starts developing in the tissues of the pancreas. Several types of growth can occur in the pancreas, including cancerous and noncancerous tumours. The most common type of cancer that forms in the pancreas starts in the cells that line the ducts that carry digestive enzymes out of the pancreas (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma).
Pancreatic cancer is rarely detected at its initial stages when it's most curable. This is because it often doesn't cause any signs and symptoms until after it has spread to other organs. Pancreatic cancer often does not show any signs and symptoms until the disease is advanced. They may include:
Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
Sudden rise in blood sugar level
Tiredness and weakness
Excessive thirst or hunger
Yellowing of your skin
Whites of your eyes (jaundice)
If you experience any of these above signs or symptoms then consult the best pancreatic surgeon in India, or visit the best pancreatic cancer treatment centres in India.
Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors considered to result in pancreatic cancer.
Take food with high-fat content: Taking high-fat content food upgrades cholesterol levels in the body, which destroy the functionality of several organs in the body, considering the pancreas.
Diabetes: When sugar levels in the blood are not under control, it disorders the functionality of internal organs and causes heavy damage to them.
Smoking: Smoking is the major cause of many cancerous diseases. Smoking maximizes the production of cancer cells by destroying healthy ones.
Lack of Exercise and Obesity: Daily exercise is the right way to stay healthy. Working out regularly for at least 30 mins a day maintains your immune system healthy to fight against various deadly diseases. Obesity increases the growth of hormones which leads to hormonal imbalance that can result in pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer Causes
The causes of pancreatic cancer are unknown. This type of cancer occurs when abnormal cells start to increase within the pancreas and form tumours.
Normally, healthy cells grow, increase and die in moderate numbers. In the case of cancer, abnormal cell production is increased, and these abnormal cells sometimes take over the healthy cells.
While researchers and doctors don't know what causes the changes in the cells, they do know some common factors that may maximize a person’s risk for developing this type of cancer.
The two major risk factors are inherited gene mutations and acquired gene mutations. Genes control the way cells act, so changes to those genes may lead to tumours.
Pancreatic Cancer Stages
When cancer is discovered, doctors will likely perform more tests to confirm whether the cancer has spread or not. Imaging tests, such as PET scan, help doctors to understand the presence of cancerous growths. Blood tests may also be used.
With these tests, doctors work to determine the cancer stage. Staging helps to understand how advanced the cancer is. It also helps a doctor to decide treatment options.
Once a diagnosis has been done, your doctor will assign a stage based on the test results:
Stage 1: tumours present in the pancreas only
Stage 2: tumours have spread to nearby abdominal tissues or lymph nodes
Stage 3: tumour has spread to lymph nodes and major blood vessels
Stage 4: tumours have spread to other organs also, such as the liver
Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis
Chances of life expectancy are more when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed earlier. However, the chances of early diagnosis are very less. Once your doctor knows the presence of pancreatic cancer, he/she would advise you to undergo a few of the following tests to diagnose the issue.
MRI or CT scans to get a detailed and complete picture of your pancreas
An endoscopic ultrasound, in which a camera attached to a thin flexible tube is inserted down into the stomach to capture images of the pancreas
Biopsy or tissue sample of the pancreas
Blood tests to spot the presence of a particular protein - CA19-9 in the blood, which verifies the presence of cancer.
Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer treatment depends on the various types of factors as:
the type of cancer
the stage of the cancer
the person’s health status, age, and other characteristics
the individual’s personal choices
The goal of treatment is to:
remove the cancer
relieve painful symptoms
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the most common treatment options used for pancreatic cancers. At Cancer Therapy India, We have a team of top cancer surgeons who are skilled and experts in these treatments.
The option to use surgery to treat pancreatic cancer comes down to two things i.e., the location and stage of cancer. Surgery can remove all or some portion of the pancreas.
This can remove the original tumour, but it will not remove cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. Surgery may not be acceptable for people with advanced-stage pancreatic cancer for that reason.
Radiation therapy uses X-rays and other high-energy beams to destroy or kill cancer cells. This usually comes from a machine that moves around you, directing radiation rays to specific points on your body (external beam radiation). In specialized medical centres, this therapy may be given during surgery (intraoperative radiation).
In some cases, your doctor might combine other treatments with chemotherapy, which uses cancer-killing medicines to prevent further growth of cancer cells in the future.
This Therapy of cancer treatment uses drugs or other measures to specifically attack cancer cells and work to kill them. These drugs are mapped not to harm healthy or normal cells.
If you have any concerns regarding pancreatic cancer, then you can consult Cancer Therapy India. We are associated with some of the best hospitals for pancreatic surgery in India.