The pancreas is a gland located in the abdominal region that performs two main functions for the body: produces digestive juices and the hormone insulin which regulates the blood sugar levels. The part which produces the digestive juices is exocrine and the insulin-producing part is the endocrine portion. Pancreatic cancer, which is an uncontrolled growth of the pancreas cells, often starts in the exocrine portion and is known as the pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The one which develops in the endocrine portion is known as neuroendocrine cancer or islet cell tumors.
Though not clearly established, the following factors are believed to up the risk of pancreatic cancer.
A pancreatic condition is of insidious onset, and the exact period of onset cannot be determined. The symptoms also are nonspecific abdominal symptoms, which do not pinpoint the pancreas per se.
The above symptoms could lead to a further investigation that includes a few important tests, like the following.
Pancreatic cancer is very aggressive, usually not detected early, and has a very poor prognosis. So, if there is a family history or one has a prolonged pancreatic condition, it is advisable to go for annual screening to help with early detection and intervention. Once identified, treatment would include a combination of the three modalities – surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Surgery often may be followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation.
The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is very poor. Only about 25% of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer live past the first year. Early detection of risk factor remains the best way to improve prognosis. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!