Pancreatic Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prognosis

What is Pancreas and its role in our body
Pancreatic cancer has increased. Pancreas is digestive organ of our body which has got two major functions. One is endocrine function that is maintenance of blood sugar level by regulating the hormone levels of insulin and Glucagon. Another major Pancreas function is food digestion by releasing certain important enzymes mainly fat digestion

Pancreatic Cancer Causes

Smoking is the main cause of pancreatic cancer. More than 70% of pancreas cancer patients give history of smoking. Alcohol causes chronic pancreatitis which is a risk factor for pancreas cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Anorexia and Weight Loss are common.  Pancreas cancer located in the head obstruct the distal CBD and causes biliary obstruction which leads to jaundice. It is Surgical Obstructive Jaundice means patient present with features like pale colored stools, itching. Tumor at this site also causes duodenal obstruction and patient present with features of Gastric outlet obstruction like vomiting. If the pancreas cancer is located distally then most common complaint is anorexia and weight loss. Tumor at this location can enlarge to big size before symptomatic and patient may present with lump abdomen

Pancreatic Cancer Test

When patient present with features suggestive of pancreas cancer then Ultrasound abdomen is the first investigation. Ultrasound can demonstrate mass in the pancreas, dilatation of the biliary tract, pancreatic duct dilatation, any associated lymph nodes and liver metastases if present. If the tumor size is small then it may not be detected on USG then CECT abdomen is done. If the tumor is detected on ultrasound then also CT abdomen is done for tumor staging as CT gives more information than ultrasound

Pancreatic Cancer Prognosis

Pancreas cancer has got very bad prognosis; Its survival rate is poor one of the reason being it is diagnosed at late stage; if we compare stage by stage with other GI Cancer still its survival rate is poor

Prevention of Pancreatic Cancer

Prevention of risk factor such as smoking and alcohol are important steps for pancreas cancer prevention

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