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Pancreatic Cancer Tips

Pancreatic Cancer - Are Diabetic Patients At A Higher Risk?

Dr. Subhash Chandra Chanana 91% (802 ratings)
FACS, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Gurgaon
Pancreatic Cancer - Are Diabetic Patients At A Higher Risk?

Diabetes which was earlier called a lazy person's disease does not live up to the name anymore. Owing to the sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, diabetes has become an epidemic in the recent years.
As as we all know, diabetes is a condition characterized by an increased concentration of blood glucose level. If not managed and treated on time, the condition can prove to be life threatening. Diabetes is known to trigger a host of health complications and disorders including cancer. In fact, research has established that there is a link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer. The report suggests that people with chronic diabetes for more than 5 years stand at an increased risk of suffering from pancreatic cancer. In some patients, diabetes may be one of the symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer. Whether diabetes triggered pancreatic cancer or was it the precancerous cells that caused the diabetes is difficult to explain.

The pancreas is an important organ involved in the production and secretion of many important hormones including the insulin (by the Beta cells of the pancreas). A diseased condition, such as pancreatic cancer may bring about changes, affecting the proper functioning of the pancreas. This, in turn, may interfere with the production of insulin. Decreased production of insulin or insulin resistance may result in elevated concentrations of glucose in the blood, a condition that will eventually give rise to Diabetes.

According to another published article (NCBI), in many patients with pancreatic cancer, diabetes was detected almost simultaneously along with cancer or 2 years prior to the diagnosis of cancer. These findings indicate the fact that both diabetes and pancreatic cancer not only occurred concomitantly but were also correlated.


Another experiment suggested that in people with Type-2 diabetes, the pancreas was for long subjected to a condition termed as hyperinsulinemia (increased level of insulin in the blood as compared to the blood glucose level). The experiment shows that insulin does have a role to play in establishing a relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Managing Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer
The conditions of diabetes and pancreatic cancer should be managed well to avoid further complications.

  • The diet plays a significant role in the proper management. The diet should be well balanced with all the essential nutrients. Include more fruits and vegetables in the diet. Berries such as raspberries, blackberries can go a long way to regularize the blood glucose level. Opt for whole grain cereals and food items. Avoid foods rich in fats and carbohydrates.
  • A healthy body weight can work wonders, both in the case of diabetes and pancreatic cancer. If you are a couch potato, give up the habit at the earliest. Indulge in more physical activities (not necessarily rigorous or strenuous) such as exercise, jogging, morning walk. In addition to keeping your weight in check, these physical activities are excellent stress busters.
  • The unhealthy lifestyle habits such as drinking, smoking, substance abuse can harm your body beyond imagination. Give up these unhealthy habits as early as you can.

There may be a strong connection between pancreatic cancer and diabetes. However, to avoid one affecting the other, one should take care of themselves and manage the conditions well. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

1995 people found this helpful

Pancreatic Cancer - 8 Common Signs You Must Be Aware Of!

Dr. Manish Bhatia 90% (42 ratings)
MS - General Surgery, MCH - Oncology , MBBS
Oncologist, Pune
Pancreatic Cancer - 8 Common Signs You Must Be Aware Of!

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.

Risk factors
Though not clearly established, the following factors are believed to up the risk of pancreatic cancer.

  1. Smoking
  2. Family history
  3. Prolonged uncontrolled diabetes
  4. Pancreatic conditions like inherited pancreatitis
  5. Chronic inflammation of the pancreas

Symptoms
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.

  1. Jaundice, which includes yellowing of the skin and whites of the white. This is because the growth of the pancreas puts pressure on the liver and bile ducts, and so hampers bile flow.
  2. Weight loss, which was unintended. This is due to a bloated feeling plus inability to digest the foods.
  3. Severe pain, which can be difficult and may even require regular injections to control.
  4. Fluctuating sugar levels, which is unexplained.
  5. Onset of diabetes, which is associated with weight loss and jaundice.
  6. Increased tendency for blood clots.
  7. Loss of appetite.
  8. Bowel obstruction due to blockage of the growing pancreas.

Diagnosis
The above symptoms could lead to a further investigation that includes a few important tests, like the following.

  1. Blood tests
  2. Insulin levels
  3. CT scan
  4. Ultrasound
  5. MRI
  6. Laparoscopy, both to look for the extent of the disease and to do a biopsy, which can be used for confirming the type of cancer
  7. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography: A dye is injected into the pancreas to study the spread of the dye, which will also help identify the diseased portion.

Treatment
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.

Prognosis
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!

2081 people found this helpful

Pancreatic Cancer - Which Type Of Surgery Should You Opt For?

Dr. Satyajit Godhi 90% (36 ratings)
M.S. General Surgery, M.Ch Gastro - Intestinal Surgery
General Surgeon, Bangalore
Pancreatic Cancer - Which Type Of Surgery Should You Opt For?

Often referred to as silent cancer, pancreatic cancer has little or vague symptoms in the early stages. Unexplained and significant weight loss is a classic symptom during the initial stages along with symptoms such as yellow skin/eyes, itching, dark urine, and abdominal discomfort or pain. Treatment usually involves evaluation of what stage the cancer is in, the complications that are involved and identifying the right surgical method.

The two major types of surgery include potentially curative surgery and palliative surgery.

Curative Surgery

  • Studies have revealed that partially removing the affected parts of the pancreas and surrounding areas does not increase lifespan by a substantial amount. Hence, potentially curative surgery is recommended by surgeons only if it is ascertained that the whole cancer can be removed. It is a very complex surgery and the recovery time is substantial. The possible benefits and risks need to be evaluated very carefully before going ahead with this form of treatment.
  • Curative surgery is typically preferred to treat cancer that is located in the head of the pancreas since sometimes it can be found early enough to be removed, but the downside is that the method is used only if the entire cancerous growth can be removed.

Palliative Surgery

  • If the surgeon finds that curative surgery might not be of help, especially if the cancer has spread too far to be completely removed, the next best option would be palliative surgery. As the name implies, the surgeon would opt for smaller operations aimed at relieving some of the symptoms, this would not cure the cancer as such but would help manage the symptoms.
  • Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) is the most common form of surgery adopted to treat cancer located in the exocrine pancreas or pancreatic NETs. The Whipple procedure involves the removal of the head of the pancreas and sometimes even the body as well. The nearby structures including the gallbladder, bile duct, small intestine, lymph nodes and sometimes parts of the stomach may be removed too. Then, they are re-attached to the small intestine to allow the bile and digestive enzymes to pass through the small intestine and finally, the small intestine pieces are re-attached to allow the food to travel through the digestive tract.
  • The procedure is highly time-consuming and can take several hours to complete. It requires sufficient surgical experience and skill. The area around the pancreas differs from person to person, making it difficult to perform surgery through the various blood vessels and duct arrangements in the body. If treated at major medical facilities the death rate is under 1%, while in smaller hospitals or if performed by inexperienced surgeons the death rate may be significantly higher.

Hence, when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it is generally recommended to go for surgeons who perform many such surgeries each year to get the best possible treatment.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2017 people found this helpful

How Ayurveda Helps Manage Pancreatic Cancer?

Dr. Sunil Arya 89% (58 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Gurgaon
How Ayurveda Helps Manage Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreas is small organ located behind your stomach, which are responsible for the production of insulin. This organ produces multiple enzymes, which are necessary for digestion. The increase in diabetes, obesity, smoking and other issues within the population have also pushed up the number of cases of pancreatic cancer. Let's look at some of the Ayurvedic remedies, which are known to be very effective in combating or preventing this disease.

  1. Tulsi or Ocimum Tenuiflorum: Tulsi has been known to have many medicinal properties and has been used in Ayurveda since ages. It improves metabolism, reduces inflammation as well and is able to regulate and control diabetic disorders, thus halting or even preventing cancer.
  2. Emblica Officinalis or Amla: Amla is very effective in the removal of toxins and can regulate inflammation, which is caused by certain enzymes. It is also an antioxidant which can keep excessive secretion under check and stop the progress of cancer or its development in the first place.
  3. Haritaki and Terminalia Chebula: A widely used Ayurvedic medicine, Haritaki has qualities that can act as a colon cleanser and help remove cholesterol and fats from your system. This can unclog organs like the pancreas and lessen the chances of cancer or even halt further progress of cancerous cell growth.
  4. Kanchnaar or Bauhinia Variegate: This herb is very good in stopping the cancer causing agents and can prevent the growth of lymphomas, sarcomas, malignant tumors among other cancerous diseases. It has been used since a very long time to treat cancers in Ayurveda and thus be very effective in treating pancreatic cancers as well.
  5. Guggul or Commiphora Mukul: Another effective medication to stop the growth of cancer, guggul has been a fairly common name in Ayurvedic medicines. It inhibits certain pathways that may either cause or enhance the growth of cancer cells within the body and is thus effective as a preventative measure as well as a remedy for pancreatic cancer.
  6. Ashwagandha: Another common Ayurvedic herb, this is very effective as an anti-inflammatory agent and as an antioxidant. Ashwagandha has been used to treat diabetic neuropathy and is also beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress, all of which may lead to pancreatic cancers. It is also effective in the prevention of the growth of cancer cells. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.
5915 people found this helpful

Pancreatic Cancer - Ayurvedic Remedies For It!

Dr. Suneet V Shende 88% (343 ratings)
BAMS, MD - Ayurveda
Ayurveda, Navi Mumbai
Pancreatic Cancer - Ayurvedic Remedies For It!

Pancreas is small organ located behind your stomach, which are responsible for the production of insulin. This organ produces multiple enzymes, which are necessary for digestion. The increase in diabetes, obesity, smoking and other issues within the population have also pushed up the number of cases of pancreatic cancer. Let's look at some of the Ayurvedic remedies, which are known to be very effective in combating or preventing this disease.

  1. Tulsi or Ocimum Tenuiflorum: Tulsi has been known to have many medicinal properties and has been used in Ayurveda since ages. It improves metabolism, reduces inflammation as well and is able to regulate and control diabetic disorders, thus halting or even preventing cancer.
  2. Emblica Officinalis or Amla: Amla is very effective in the removal of toxins and can regulate inflammation, which is caused by certain enzymes. It is also an antioxidant which can keep excessive secretion under check and stop the progress of cancer or its development in the first place.
  3. Haritaki and Terminalia Chebula: A widely used Ayurvedic medicine, Haritaki has qualities that can act as a colon cleanser and help remove cholesterol and fats from your system. This can unclog organs like the pancreas and lessen the chances of cancer or even halt further progress of cancerous cell growth.
  4. Kanchnaar or Bauhinia Variegate: This herb is very good in stopping the cancer causing agents and can prevent the growth of lymphomas, sarcomas, malignant tumors among other cancerous diseases. It has been used since a very long time to treat cancers in Ayurveda and thus be very effective in treating pancreatic cancers as well.
  5. Guggul or Commiphora Mukul: Another effective medication to stop the growth of cancer, guggul has been a fairly common name in Ayurvedic medicines. It inhibits certain pathways that may either cause or enhance the growth of cancer cells within the body and is thus effective as a preventative measure as well as a remedy for pancreatic cancer.
  6. Ashwagandha: Another common Ayurvedic herb, this is very effective as an anti-inflammatory agent and as an antioxidant. Ashwagandha has been used to treat diabetic neuropathy and is also beneficial in reducing anxiety and stress, all of which may lead to pancreatic cancers. It is also effective in the prevention of the growth of cancer cells. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ayurveda.
6295 people found this helpful

Enlarged Pancreas - 5 Factors Behind It

Dr. Ravi Kumar Muppidi 87% (37 ratings)
MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM
Endocrinologist, Hyderabad
Enlarged Pancreas - 5 Factors Behind It

Enlarged pancreas can result beacuse of factors such as: 

  1. An abscess in your pancreas: This refers to a dangerous formation inside the pancreas. Neglecting its occurrence can also turn out to be fatal. An abscess is a cavity containing pus that further infects the rest of the organ. Presence of harmful bacteria in the pancreas leads to such a case.
  2. A cyst in the lining of your pancreas: Epithelial cysts in the pancreas can also cause the organ to swell up. Such cysts are mostly benign but they are accompanied by disabling pain.
  3. Pancreatitis is one disease with an array of threats: Highly active enzymes within the organ can make its tissues wear down thus, affecting the size of your pancreas. If you are an alcoholic, you are more prone to develop this condition. It could also be contracted due to an excess of calcium or fats in the blood.
  4. Cancer of the pancreas is dreadful too: Due to the unanticipated growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, the organ grows bigger. A person suffers from excruciating pain under the influence of this condition.
  5. Pseudocysts in the pancreas can have serious ill effects: When benign cysts become unmanageably harmful, they result into pseudocysts. The cysts contain remains of your tissues and other damaging fluids that can increase the size of the pancreas.

An enlarged pancreas surfaces in the form of these symptoms:

  1. The kind of stool you pass indicates a lot about your health. Oily poop can be indicative of an enlarged pancreas. Persisting diarrhea can also be a symptom of pancreatic ailments.
  2. You may even experience an accelerated pulse rate.
  3. You may feel feverish continually. Bouts of fever can impede your free movement and general health.
  4. Health issues with your pancreas can make you suffer from jaundice. It could be a one- time affair or it could reappear from time to time.
  5. Constant queasiness could hint at some underlying problem in your pancreas.
  6. You may even lose more than a few pounds over a short span of time. Such a thing should not be taken lightly as it not only makes you look sick but also degrades your immunity. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an endocrinologist.
3106 people found this helpful

Is Your Food Causing Cancer?

Dr. Parvez A. Shaikh 88% (317 ratings)
BUMS ( Mumbai ),H.E.S(pune),
General Physician, Mumbai
Is Your Food Causing Cancer?

The food you eat is critical for your overall well-being as cancers that often affect the human body are of gastrointestinal origin. Stick to organic and chemical free foods to live a healthier life, since they reduce the risk of cancer substantially. Regular consumption of the food items mentioned below increase your risk of developing cancer, as well as many other conditions and should be avoided at all costs.

  1. Microwave popcorn: Most microwave popcorn bags are lined with c8, also known as Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), which increases the risk of certain cancers such as kidney, testicular, bladder, pancreas and liver cancer notably. Microwave popcorn also contains an artificial or synthetic butter flavoring called diacetyl, which is extremely toxic and obstructs breathing.
  2. Canned tomatoes: While tomatoes are considered to be cancer fighting foods, their canned counterparts are extremely unhealthy and may cause cancer. This is mainly due to the lining of the cans they are put in, which contains a chemical known as Bisphenol A or BPA that has been proven to elevate the risk of infertility as well as prostate and breast cancer. Due to the high acidic level. BPA leaks from the lining of the cans and penetrates into the fruit. Tomatoes should be cooked fresh or stored in glass jars.
  3. Processed/Grilled red meat: Processed meats such as sausages, prosciutto, bacon, pimento loaf, bologna, hot dog, etc., contain various chemicals and preservatives such as sodium nitrate. This is added to make the meat look fresh and appealing, but are, in fact, carcinogenic in nature. Moreover, you should also avoid grilling meat, since it releases a carcinogen known as heterocyclic aromatic amines, which is another dangerous food item that smoked meat contains as it picks up tar from the smoking process. 
  4. Farmed salmon: It is imperative to avoid farmed salmon because they are fed unnatural diets that are contaminated with carcinogens, antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides and so on. They also harbor sea lice, 30 times greater in amount than wild salmon. High levels of PCBs, cancer causing dioxins, and mercury have been found in them. It is advisable to opt for wild sockeye salmon instead of farmed salmon. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a oncologist.
4384 people found this helpful

The Connection Between Your Pancreas And Diabetes

Dr. Hanish Gupta 92% (1913 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (General Medicine)
General Physician, Delhi
The Connection Between Your Pancreas And Diabetes

You pass by the cake shop and happen to glance at a sumptuous chocolate cake, and then realization dawns on you that you are not allowed to eat simple sugar. Why? The answer to it is diabetes, for which you only have your pancreas to blame. Situated behind the stomach in your body, the pancreas is an organ whose role is to produce hormones and enzymes that aid in the digestive process. One of the hormones that the pancreas produces is insulin which is required by the body to metabolize sugar that is present in various foods.

So, if your pancreas does not produce the required amount of insulin or fails to utilize insulin effectively, it leads to accumulation of glucose in your blood. The improper functioning of the pancreas leads to diabetes. There are four types of diabetes and they are classified with respect to the manner in which the pancreas mal-functions:

  1. Type 1 Diabetes: In this type, the immune system of the body wrongly attacks the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This impairs the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin, thus leading to Type 1 diabetes. However, even after extensive research in this field, the exact triggers haven’t been found yet.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin. It can either mean that the pancreas is producing less than normal insulin or the body is not being able to utilize the produced insulin effectively. Factors such as a poor diet and lack of exercise increase the risks of Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Pre-diabetes: Pre-diabetes is a condition wherein the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered as ‘diabetes’. It can again occur due to a reduced secretion of insulin or the inability of the body to utilize the insulin effectively.
  4. Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes can develop only during pregnancy. This occurs primarily as the placenta, that connects the fetus with the body’s blood supply, produces hormones that impair the functioning of insulin. This type of diabetes can affect both the mother and the child.

Another common link-

Pancreatitis is a condition that is marked by an inflammation of the pancreatic cells. This inflammation can damage the beta cells that produce insulin, thus resulting in diabetes. Factors that contribute to it are a poor diet, lack of exercise, presence of excessive calcium in the blood or excessive alcohol consumption.

Further Complications-

Diabetes is also known to increase the risks of pancreatic cancer, especially if you have been suffering from this condition for more than 5 years. Pancreatic cancer and Type 2 diabetes share a few similar triggers such as a poor diet, obesity and lack of physical activity.

How can you avoid the same?

It is best that you incorporate lifestyle changes if you have any of these disorders, and talk to your doctor about a treatment plan. Making a few simple lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, avoiding smoking and exercising on a regular basis can reduce the chances of you suffering from both diabetes and any other pancreatic problems. If you wish to discuss on any specific problem, you can consult an endocrinologist.

3961 people found this helpful
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