Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer

DEFINITION

Smoking, chronic pancreatic disease, and the possibility of long-standing diabetes are risk factors for pancreatic cancer

Pain, weight loss, jaundice, and vomiting are some typical symptoms.

Computed tomography is the most appropriate way of diagnosis.

Pancreatic cancer is usually fatal.

Surgery may cure those whose cancer has not spread.

Approximately 95% of tumors that are cancerous (malignant) of the pancreas are adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinoma usually originates from glandular cells that line the pancreatic duct. Most adenocarcinomas occur in the pancreatic head, the part closest to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).

Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas have been increasingly common in the United States, occurring in an estimated 37,000 people every year. Adenocarcinoma usually occurs before age 50. The average age at diagnosis is 55. These tumors are almost twice as common among men. Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas 2 to 3 times more common among smokers than nonsmokers. Alcohol and caffeine consumption does not appear to be risk factors.

People suffering from chronic pancreatic disease and those who are likely to suffer long-standing diabetes (especially women) are in greater risk as well.

Symptom

Tumor in the pancreatic head can be related to the disposal of the bile (fluid digestion produced by the liver) into the small intestine. Therefore, jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes) is caused by blockage of bile flow is usually the initial symptom.

Jaundice is accompanied by intense itching all over the body resulting from the storage of bile salt crystals under the skin. Vomiting can result from things when the head pancreatic cancer blocking the flow of stomach contents into the small intestine (blockage of the gastric tract) or blockage of the small intestine itself.

Complications: adenocarcinoma of the body or the tip of the pancreas (the middle of the pancreas and the furthest from the duodenum) typically causes no symptoms until the tumor is widespread. That way, the first symptom is pain and weight loss. At the time of diagnosis, 90% of people experience abdominal pain-usually severe pain in upper abdomen that penetrate to the back-and significant weight loss.

Adenocarcinoma of the body or the tip of the pancreas can block the vessels drain the spleen (organs that produce, monitor, store and destroy blood cells), resulting in an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly). The blockage can cause the vessels to become swollen and twisted (varicose) around the esophagus (esophageal varices) and stomach. Severe bleeding can occur, especially coming from the esophagus, if varicose vein rupture.

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis of tumors in the body or the tip of the pancreas is difficult because symptoms occur late and the physical observations and results of blood tests are often normal. When a suspected adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, the most appropriate diagnostic tests are computed tomography (CT). Another examination is commonly used scanners ‘ultrasonic’, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

To confirm the diagnosis, a doctor may obtain pancreas samples for examination under a microscope (biopsy) by inserting a needle through the skin using a CT scanner or ultrasound ‘as a guide. Even so, this approach is often not visible tumor and cancer cells can spread outside the local area along the needle track.

The same approach may be used to obtain biopsy samples from the liver to look for cancer that has spread to the pancreas, if the results of this examination is normal, but doctors still allege adenocarcinoma, pancreatic possibility investigated by surgery.

TREATMENT

Because adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is usually spread to other parts of the body before it was discovered, prognotition is very low. Less than 2% of people suffering from adenocarcinoma of the pancreas survive for 5 years after diagnosis. Hope is the only cure is surgery, which was conducted at 10 to 20% of people who believe that the cancer does not spread. Single one of the pancreas and duodenum or pancreas removed.

After several operations, only 15 to 20% of people live to 5 years. Additional chemotherapy and radiation therapy is usually given but may not improve survival time or rate substantially. Eliminated the possibility of mild pain with aspirin or acetaminophen. Often, a strong pain killer at all, such as codeine or morphine are used by mouth, is required.

For 70 to 80% of people with severe pain, injections into the nerves to block pain may produce relief. Leaks in the pancreatic digestive enzymes can be treated with oral enzyme preparation. If diabetes is formed, insulin treatment may be needed. Blockage of bile flow may be lost temporarily by placing a tube (stent) in the lower abdomen on the channels that drain bile from the liver and gallbladder. In most cases, however, the tumor is sometimes clog the channels on the top and bottom of the stent. Alternative method of treatment is surgery to create channels that cut through the tube that connects the stomach to the small intestine beyond the blockage.

Because adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is fatal in most cases, a doctor usually discussed until the end of life care with the person, family members, caregivers and other health practitioners

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