Cancer is a deadly disease that has many forms. Unlike the past, it has become curable these days with the development of science and technology. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer which cannot be identified easily until it is in the aggressive stage. When the pancreatic cells began to multiply themselves in an uncontrolled manner to form the mass, it forms pancreatic cancer. Generally, pancreatic cancer is formed in exocrine cells which are helpful in making enzymes for digestion of the food.
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer
It is observed that about 85% of pancreatic cancers go unidentified and untreated in the initial stage. Most commonly the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancers are only recognized after it has become massive and begun to spread. Its growth is painless and silent. Initially no symptoms are identified in the patient. Some common symptoms are jaundice, weight loss, vomiting, backache and lymph nodes in the neck that grow substantially.
Since the pancreas is an important part of the human digestive system, therefore, the growth of cancer in the pancreas causes several gastrointestinal problems. More than 80% of the patients experience severe abdominal pain as the tumour grows. They often feel satiety for meals and swelling in the abdominal part. In a few patients, uneven levels of blood sugar also developed. Other symptoms are foul smell fatty and pale-colored stools, discomfort, diarrhea or vomiting.
Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
Advanced medical equipments are useful in identifying pancreatic cancer. CT scan and endoscopic ultrasound are helpful in the confirmation of the pancreatic tumour and it also helps in identifying whether surgery is required to remove the tumour or it requires radiation method for removing the cancer tumour. Pancreas Cancer Surgery is similar to other cancer surgeries.
There are few other methods of diagnosing pancreatic cancer.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This is the X-ray method that is used to look at the surrounding area of the pancreas. It also checks the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and other ducts for the extent of pancreatic cancer.
- Laparoscopy: This is the method that is done to look at the organs.
- Biopsy: The tissues may be removed during laparoscopy, which is used to see the cancerous cells under the microscope.
- Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): In this procedure, the pancreas and bile ducts are viewed by X-ray. The dye is injected into the liver and bile ducts before X-rays are done. One condition for this type of method is that it can only be done if the ERCP cannot be done.
- Abdominal ultrasound: This method is used to look into the internal organs of the abdomen.