What is pancreatic cancer ?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most serious types of cancer . It is the fourth leading cause of death due to cancer despite the fact that it is only 2% of all cancers occurring each year.
How is the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer ?
The detection and diagnosis of difficult because:
1. In the early stages there are no notable signs or symptoms .
2 . The symptoms of pancreatic cancer when present, are similar to those of many other diseases.
3 . The anatomical location of the pancreas , deep abdomen, behind the stomach , small intestine , liver , spleen , gall bladder , it makes it easier to diagnose.
4. The tests required for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is not easy .
For these reasons , the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is rare in the early stages . Also, the disease tends to metastasize done early in the evolution .
Unfortunately many times when the diagnosis is made , noticed that the disease has invaded lymph nodes , blood vessels and other tissues or organs. These tumors often can not be removed . However , the total surgical removal of pancreatic cancer , the only hope of cure .
What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer ?
Pancreatic cancer is considered as a " silent disease " because initially causes no symptoms . With the increase of tumor size symptoms appear :
1. Pain in the upper abdomen and back
2 . Jaundice with yellow skin colour and yellow eyes , urine dark brown and colorless stools : If the tumor extended to the point of obstructing the bile ducts , stopped the free flow of bile to the digestive tract.
3 . Weakness : Cancer cells consume nutrients so the body lacks the essential elements and energy which leads to weakness and weight loss
4. Lack of appetite
5. Weight loss : weight loss not only by anorexia , but also by the fact that the pancreas does not normally produce enzymes which help in digestion. Thus the patient can not absorb the nutrients it needs, presents malnutrition and lose weight
6. Nausea and vomiting: The tumor can cause compression of the digestive tract at the level of the duodenum and small intestine
7. Depression: Depression can sometimes be the first symptom of the disease . Certainly most cases of depression due to other reasons
We must emphasize that the above signs and symptoms can be caused by other reasons . If anyone has any of these, does not mean that he is suffering from pancreatic cancer . The presence of such signs or symptoms require examination by a doctor .
What causes cancer of the pancreas ?
Nobody knows today what causes pancreatic cancer . There are some factors associated with increased risk for disease.
These factors include increasing age ( cancer that is most common in people over 60 years) , male gender ( the disease is more common in men ) , smoking , diabetes , chronic pancreatitis , family history .
This does not mean that people who have such agents will show the disease. Also people who do not have risk factors may be affected by this cancer .
Surgical resection (pancreatoduodenectomy) remains the only therapeutic approach for pancreatic carcinoma and safe potential treatment for patients with duodenal tumors, islet tumor cells and tumors of Vater ampulla.
The majority of patients has unresectable tumors .
Palliative interventions : an ERCP or PTC stenting when open surgery not indicated. When open surgery indicated chledochojejunostomy and GI Anastomosis .
Open biopsy fine needle , high rates of false- negative results so it is not used.
The median survival in this tumor is about 32 months.