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Awareness of Pancreatic Cancer 

Pancreatic Cancer is one of the fatal cancers & most patients are detected at the last stage.

This makes treatment very difficult as there is no surgery option at this stage.

In fact, just 5% of the patients reach the benchmark cancer survival rate of 5 years.

This means 95% of patients diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer won’t be able to cross the 5 years.

Read further or watch the video.

What are the symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

There are numerous symptoms and early signs that might give you a hint that you have pancreatic Cancer.

Some of them include the following:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe weight-loss
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue
  • Light-coloured stool
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Diabetes
  • Loss of appetite

What are the causes of Pancreatic Cancer?

The primary causes of Pancreatic Cancer include Smoking and Alcohol. Apart from this, Chronic Pancreatitis is a medical entity.

This causes swelling in the Pancreas, and that part becomes inactive. After a few years, Cancer originates from this part.

The Pancreas is divided into three parts. The first is the Head of the Pancreas which is connected to the intestines; the second is the body of the Pancreas, and the third is the tail of the Pancreas.

Commonly, Cancer develops in the head of the Pancreas. This causes swelling in the intestines and compresses the liver tubes, resulting in jaundice. That’s why jaundice is considered an early symptom of Pancreatic Cancer.

So in some cases, we treat jaundice first, and then we provide treatment for pancreatic Cancer.

The common symptoms include mild abdominal pain if the Cancer develops in the body or the tail of the Pancreas

Also Read : How to Prevent Cancer?

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer?

There are multiple techniques that can help diagnose Pancreatic Cancer. Here’s the list of some techniques that we use at Sahyadri Hospital:

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS):

We use this technique to collect the FNSE or Biopsy and send the sample for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

  • CT-guided Biopsy:

In some cases, we also perform CT-guided Biopsies to diagnose the stomach cancer

  • Carbohydrate Antigen (CA-19):

It’s a blood marker that can help us a bit in diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer. So we perform the test to identify this blood marker too.

If the proportion of CA-19 is high in the blood, there is a strong possibility that either Pancreatic Cancer is spread in the body or the bulk of the disease is more.

It’s present in almost 50-60% of cases in the advanced stages of Cancer. We also keep track of this blood marker during our treatment.

If CA-19 is reducing, it indicates that the treatment is working, and if it’s rising, then the treatment is not working.

But it’s also important to note that if CA-19 is not present in the blood, it doesn’t mean the patient is free from Pancreatic Cancer.

  • Other tests:

Other tests include Sonography, CT Scan and PET Scan that can help us determine the stage of Pancreatic Cancer.

For the cases where the Cancer is not spread and is still in operable condition, we perform another test called Triphasic CT Scan.

This helps us identify the relationship between the Pancreas and other organs and whether it is tangled or stuck in other organs.


Have queries or concern ?

    What are the treatments for Pancreatic Cancer?

    Based on the stage of the Cancer, multiple treatment options are available for Pancreatic Cancer.

    Let’s take a look at them:

    • Whipple Procedure:

    This complex procedure is performed after taking an opinion of an Onco Surgical specialist.

    In this procedure, we remove the Pancreas and some parts of peripheral organs and send them for testing.

    During this procedure, the patient has to stay at the hospital for 8 to 10 days.

    We also give Chemo to the maximum number of patients who have undergone surgery to ensure that the Cancer does not return.

    • Chemoradiation :

    If the surgery is not possible, but the Cancer has not spread to other organs, we recommend Chemoradiation.

    It’s a combination of Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy.

    • Chemotherapy :

    Unfortunately, in up to 60% of the cases, Pancreatic Cancer is detected at an advanced stage.

    In such cases, there is no other treatment option except Chemotherapy.

    Chemotherapy can help patients get relief from the symptoms, get a prolonged life and improve their quality of life.

    • Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy :

    We also provide these advanced treatment options to patients in the advanced stage of Cancer.

    These treatment options can help extend the life expectancy of the patient.

    Wrapping up

    Pancreatic Cancer is a fatal condition, and it is generally detected at a later stage.

    So if you experience any early signs or symptoms mentioned above, we strongly recommend you consult your gastroenterologist.

    Based on their opinion, consult any Medical or Surgical Oncologist.

    The treatments for Pancreatic Cancer can deliver good results only if it is detected at an early stage.

    If you need any more information on Pancreatic Cancer, feel free to contact us. Our specialists are here to assist you.

    About Author

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    Dr. Tushar Patil

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