WHAT IS THE PANCREAS? DIAGNOSIS, SYMPTOMS: PANCREATIC CANCER
The pancreas is an important organ of our body. Not only does it help in digestion, but also with the secretion of vital hormones. More than 28,000 Americans every day suffer from pancreatic cancer.
WHAT IS A PANCREAS?
The pancreas is a gland that is located behind the stomach and the left part of the abdomen. This gland releases enzymes which aid digestion and produces hormones that help in maintaining the blood sugar levels in the human body. The pancreas is called a special gland because it acts as an exocrine as well as an endocrine gland. It acts as an exocrine gland when it produces enzymes for digestion and an endocrine gland when it produces hormones and releases them directly into the bloodstream.
Several types of growth occur in the pancreas. The tumors can be cancerous or non-cancerous. The most common type of growth that causes cancer in the pancreas begins in the cells that surround the ducts that carry the digestive juices out of the pancreas.
It is not easy to detect pancreatic cancer at the beginning of the disease. This is because it is hard to find its symptoms initially. It is mostly detected after the cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body.
Now let us understand the symptoms pancreatic cancer.
SYMPTOMS PANCREATIC CANCER
The symptoms pancreatic cancer do not show up until the disease is advanced. The following are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer:
- Pain in the abdomen that radiates to the back of your body
- Loss in appetite or unintentional loss in overall body weight
- Symptoms of jaundice like yellowing of the skin and the white part of your eyes
- Light-colored stools
- Urine that is dark in color
- Itchy skin
- A new diagnosis of diabetes or existing disease of diabetes that has become more difficult to control
- Blood clots
RISK FACTORS THAT MAY CAUSE PANCREATIC CANCER
- Family history of cancer
- Old age
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS THAT CAN TAKE PLACE DUE TO PANCREATIC CANCER
- WEIGHT LOSS – Weight loss occurs as cancer eats up the energy of the body. Nausea due to cancer treatments makes it difficult to consume food. Or it can become difficult for your body to process that consumed food.
- JAUNDICE – The cancer of the pancreas blocks the liver’s bile duct can cause jaundice. Jaundice is most likely to occur without abdominal pain.
- BODY PAIN – Pain in the body may occur due to the growing tumor. The tumor may press on the nerves of the abdomen and can cause severe pain. Pain medications help in the reduction of pain and can provide comfort.
- BOWEL OBSTRUCTION – Pancreatic cancer can block the small intestine and therefore the flow of the digested food into different parts of the body.
The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer depends on the type of pancreatic cancer. Usually, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments may help.