Pancreas is a gland that helps in food digestion as well as maintaining blood glucose level within normal ratios by the production of insulin and glucagon. Pancreatic cancer tends to be one of the most serious health problems which affect the pancreas and may lead to death.
There is no clear cause for pancreatic cancer, but certain medical studies showed that there are certain risk factors which increase the incidence of pancreatic cancer, such as:
Type II diabetes mellitus.
Heavy exposure to chemical and toxic substances, such as lead or mercury.
Early stages of pancreatic cancer tend to be asymptomatic, but later when clinical signs become manifested, the patient experiences the following:
Pain in the upper part of the abdomen, which extends later to the back.
Jaundice; which means yellowish discoloration of skin and eye whites.
Loss of appetite.
In general, the doctor will suspect pancreatic cancer if the patient develops some of the above clinical signs with recent medical history of diabetes or pancreatitis. To confirm diagnosis and for full assessment of the case, endoscopic ultrasound and tissue biopsy are recommended.
Management of pancreatic cancer depends on many factor, such as; location of the tumor, staging and the general condition of the patient. Also, it should be noted that patients of late stages of pancreatic cancer are usually associated with bad prognosis. Anyway, main therapeutic options of pancreatic cancer include the following:
Surgical removal of the cancerous lesion + regional lymphadenectomy.
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