All About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is ranked as the United States' fourth most death causing cancer disease. Is is estimated that this year alone, around 32,000 will be victim and succumb from this killer disease. It is a common type of cancer and unfortunately, one of the hardest to treat. Because of the hard problems that pancreatic cancer pose to the medical world, it has been dubbed as the twenty first century's great challenge. Before moving on, it is important to know what the pancreas is and the functions that it performs. Following below is the definition of the pancreas and its functions as well as problems faced when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed.
The pancreas is an organ that is found in the middle of the stomach and the backbone or spine. It is surrounded by other organs like the intestine, liver, and lungs among others. Its length measures to about six inches and its shape is comparable to that of a pear. Its head is the widest part followed by the body and then the tail which is the thinnest. Its main purpose is to produce insulin as well as hormones. The hormones travel inside the body via the bloodstream. These hormones aid in both the use and storage of energy that is obtained from food. Pancreatic juices are made by this organ contain enzymes used in the digestion of food.
Who may be at risk?
Medical experts do not know the exact reason behind pancreatic cancer. But just like other types of cancer, pancreatic cancer is also not contagious meaning it cannot be transferred from one person to another. The following risk factors are linked to the development of pancreatic cancer. The first risk factor is age. People that are over 60 years old have a higher chance of having this type of cancer. Smoking two to three sticks of cigarette will greatly increase the chance of getting this disease. Diabetes is also a risk factor since people with this condition are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those that do not.
Symptoms of the disease
Individuals that have pancreatic cancer do not readily know that they have it since it is hard to diagnose. It is referred to as the silent killer because symptoms do not show until it has already developed into the advanced stage. As it develops, the patient may experience the following symptoms: weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice, yellow skin, upper back pain. and vomiting. Again, it is important to take note that these symptoms can be also attributed to other health disorders. Thus, it is best to consult an oncologist (cancer specialist) to ascertain if you might have pancreatic cancer.
Ways of treating pancreatic cancer
There are several ways to treat pancreatic cancer. With respect to its stage as well as type, treatment may be in the form of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. A combination of these treatments may be applied on some patients. The removal of the cancerous part of the pancreas is the only way to have a chance in curing this disease. With the advent of technology today, a lot has been improved in the field of surgery. Removal through surgery will depend on the tumor's size and location as well as the patient's health and the stage the disease is currently in. When the tumor cannot be removed in its entirety, the patient will rely on chemotherapy to treat the disease.
These are some of the things to know about pancreatic cancer. If you want to be certain whether you might have or not, it is better to ask a specialist for proper checkup and advice.