Pancreatic cancer is a very rare cancer, with many people not knowing much about it. On a global scale, it ranks 14th in terms of incidence and 7th in terms of mortality and if we talk about India, the incidence rate is even lower. However, we cannot simply ignore the fact that although cancer is quite uncommon, it does affect people in our country, making it extremely important to spread awareness about the same. This blog will help you understand all you need to know about pancreatic cancer, its symptoms, causes, treatment and everything else you need to know.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a type of malignancy that originates from the cells and tissues of the pancreas, located just behind the lower portion of the stomach, and is responsible for producing important enzymes that are crucial for digestion and regulating healthy blood sugar levels. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer that originates from the cells lining the ducts that serve as a passage for digestive enzymes leaving the pancreas. If detected in the initial stage, pancreatic cancer can be easily treated without significant complications however, in the majority of the cases it is detected quite late. Expert specializing in pancreas transplants in India suggests that this could be due to the fact that many patients suffering from the condition do not experience any of the symptoms, and these become evident only after cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body. There is a wide range of treatment options available for managing pancreatic cancer however the type of treatment varies from person to person depending upon various factors including the age of the patient and stage of cancer.
Symptoms that may be an indication of pancreatic cancer
When any of our organs are not functioning properly, our body produces symptoms to indicate that something is not right. In the case of pancreatic cancer, the symptoms are usually late, when cancer has reached an advanced stage. Common symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer as listed by top doctors for pancreas transplant in Pune.
- Pain in the abdomen that radiates towards the back and surrounding areas
- Sudden and unexplained loss of appetite
- Unintended loss of weight
- Jaundice, which is marked by yellowing of skin and eyes
- Passing pale stools and dark urine
- Itchiness and rashes on the skin
- New onset of diabetes or difficulty in managing pre-existing diabetes
- General body weakness and fatigue
Understanding the underlying cause:
The underlying cause of pancreatic cancer is not known however there are certain identified factors that are likely to put you at a higher risk of developing the same. Before we enlist these factors, it is important to note that pancreatic cancer is triggered by certain abnormal mutations in the DNA of the pancreatic cells which compel them to grow and multiply uncontrollably. The risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer are known to trigger the changes or increase the risks of the same. These include:
- Smoking and use of other tobacco products
- Diabetes which is not managed properly
- Pre-existing conditions like pancreatitis which is marked by chronic inflammation in the pancreas
- Family history of pancreatic cancer or certain genetic syndromes like Lynch syndrome, BRCA2 and FAMMM.
- Being overweight or obese
- Being 65 years of age or above
Is it possible to prevent pancreatic cancer?
Although you cannot completely negate the risks of cancer, you can lower than significantly by adhering to some simple and healthy lifestyle modifications.
- Start with maintaining a healthy weight. Since obesity is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer it is very important to keep an eye on the scale and make sure that your BMI is on the healthier side.
- Refrain from smoking or using any tobacco product. If you are finding it difficult to quit the habit you can always take help.
- Eat clean because the food you eat impacts your overall health. Unhealthy eating habits and obesity also make it difficult for you to manage your diabetes which can, in turn, increases the risk of pancreatic cancer
Are there any treatment options available?
Treatment for pancreatic cancer is offered at the best hospital in India. You will be first required to undergo a series of tests which includes imaging tests like CT scan, PET scan and MRI, along with endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy. This is done for a thorough assessment that helps to devise a proper treatment plan for the patient.
The treatment usually involves surgery along with a combination of therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Different types of surgical interventions are available depending upon the preference and need of the patient. These include the Whipple procedure, total pancreatectomy, distal pancreatectomy, reconstruction of affected blood vessels.
To know more about pancreatic cancer and explore your treatment options, consult the best doctors at Jupiter Hospital.