Although it is very difficult to treat, recognition of the symptoms will help in getting the right treatment. Similar to other types of cancer, early diagnosis and detection is critical.
Pancreatic Cancer Signs
There are several symptoms and indicators associated with the disease. Among them are abdominal pain and problems with bowel movements. Patients also experience problems when digesting food. This may manifest in lack of appetite or vomiting. Others will feel nauseous and severe dizziness.
One of the major symptoms (included in other forms of cancer) is unexplained weight loss. This will happen even without any form of exercise. Another indication is an enlarged gallbladder. Jaundice is another sign. Those afflicted with jaundice will have yellowish hues in the eyes’ white section. The skin will also be yellowish.
Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis
Anytime the patient experiences any of these symptoms, a visit to the doctor is necessary. The doctor will first assess the patient’s medical history. Up next will be a complete physical examination.
In particular, the doctor will look for any fluids amassing in the abdomen. Tests will be performed to check for any lumps in the stomach area too.
Skin and eye tests will follow to determine if there is jaundice. Blood tests will be conducted to check for the blood cell counts. This exam will determine if the problem is actually with the liver.
Liver ailments can also cause jaundice. Other tests that are run include an MRI, CT scan and ultrasonography. This test can determine how widespread the cancer has become.
However, the most reliable test remains a biopsy. In this case, a sample of the cancer is taken and examined. A series of lab tests will confirm whether it is cancerous or not. The nature of the cancer will also be determined in this test and others.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
One of the ways it is treated is by radiation. There may be some variations, but basically the process involves using X-rays to try and eradicate the cancerous cells. If it’s possible, surgery will be performed. This process is possible if the cancer is confined within the pancreas.
The surgery performed will either take out the entire pancreas or only certain parts. Again, the severity and widespread nature of the ailment will determine the if it’s feasible.
If surgery is not possible, chemotherapy will be used instead. Quite often, chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy.
Pancreatic Cancer Prevention
The prognosis is that 95% of all afflicted die within five years. 80% usually die within the first year of diagnosis alone. The problem is that the symptoms aren’t usually detected until it is too late. The cause is still unknown. That being the case, no definitive steps for avoiding it can be specified.
But it is a good idea to avoid smoking, eating fatty foods and lowering sugar consumption. A diet rich in fiber and fruits is recommended. Countries where pork and fat are rarely consumed have lower incidents of the disease.
Research geared towards finding a cure for pancreatic cancer is ongoing. The strides being made in medical research is kindling hope that more successful treatments will be forthcoming.
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