Pancreatic cancer is one type of deadly cancer disease, because of the difficulty of detecting symptoms, and it was discovered at an advanced stage. Pancreatic cancer often spreads rapidly, and in many people are not detected until it reaches an advanced stage when surgical removal is no longer possible to do.
Pancreatic cancer is actually a rare type of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates, the disease was diagnosed in 230,000 people per year worldwide, 37,000 cases of which occurred in the United States. However, The American Cancer Society said 34,290 Americans died from pancreatic cancer each year, which puts the disease were fourth as a cause of cancer death in the U.S..
Pancreas, the organ of a 6 inch (15 centimeter) that located within the abdominal cavity, between the stomach and spinal. Pancreas near the liver, bladder, small intestine, duodenum, and spleen. Pancreas function is to produces pancreatic lymph containing enzymes trypsin, amylase, and lipase to help break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats from food. Lymph is poured into the duodenum. The pancreas also produces insulin as well as a number of hormones that help the body use and store energy from food.
The most common type of pancreatic cancers are adenocarcinomas (including 75 percent of pancreatic cancer cases) that usually derived from glandular cells lining the pancreatic duct. Most adenocarcinomas occur in the head of the pancreas. Adenocarcinoma usually does not occur before age 50. The average age at diagnosis is 55 years old. Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas usually spread to other parts of the body before it was found so its prognosisi is very low. Less than two percent of patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas can survive for 5 years after diagnosis.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is more common in smokers than nonsmokers. People who suffer from chronic pancreatic disease and those likely to suffer from long-standing diabetes (especially women) have a greater risk.
In addition, there are adenosquamous carcinoma, glucagonoma, and somatostatinoma. The type of pancreatic cancers that rarely, among others,are acinar cell carcinoma, giant cell tumor, mucinous cystadenocarcinoma, pancreatoblastoma, and serous cystadenocarcinoma.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose in its early stages because almost without symptoms, whereas physical observations and blood tests often show normal results.
Patients with pancreatic cancer usually only show general symptoms such as high fever, weight loss, and abdominal pain. When cancer spreads, pain developed in the upper abdomen and sometimes the back. When eating or lying is sicker. Therefore, patients will be nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and weakness.
In addition, because pancreatic cancer in the head can be associated with the disposal in the bile (digestive fluid produced by the liver) into the small intestine, jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes) caused by blockage of bile flow usually becomes symptomatic early.
Jaundice is accompanied by intense itching all over the body due to storage of bile salt crystals under the skin. Vomiting may result from things when pancreatic cancer in the head clogging the flow of stomach contents into the small intestine (blockage of the gastric tract) or blockage of the small intestine itself.
The first symptom is usually also indicated by pain and weight loss. At the time of diagnosis, 90 percent of people experience severe pain in the upper abdomen that penetrate to the rear, as well as significant weight loss.
At the beginning of the growth of pancreatic cancer usually does not cause any symptoms. Therefore, the disease is often called the "silent killer. Usually, symptoms are felt after an advanced stage, ie stage III or IV. Among other things, the color yellow (jaundice), both on the skin, eyes, feces, and urine. Other symptoms, pain in the gut, this is often caused the cancer getting too late to overcome because originally mistaken for gastroenteritis. Nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tiredness, loss of appetite, and weight loss are common symptoms that mark the cancer.
Only few people who lucky got known at an early stage pancreatic cancer. That is, if the cancer is blocking the bile duct so the patient experienced an early yellow.
Staging of Pancreatic Cancer
Stage set based on the size of the tumor, whether it has been already invaded other tissues or spread to other parts of the body.
Stage I, if the tumor is only in the pancreas. Stage II, if the tumor/cancer has invaded surrounding tissue, but not the blood vessels, and spread to the lymph nodes. Stage III, cancer has invaded the blood vessels near the pancreas. As for stage IV, if the cancer has spread to organs distant relative, such as the liver or lung.
Examination carried out through blood and laboratory tests, physical examination, CT scans, ultrasound, endoscopy, MRI, and biopsy (removal of tissue with a fine needle).
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Treatment of pancreatic cancer is with surgery. This is done if the cancer is detected in early stages. By removing the tumor, the chance to recover is quite big. For patients with cancer who are still measuring less than 2 cm, with no spread to lymph nodes, surgical removal of cancer can save patients up to five years at least. This possibility could reach 18-24 percent.
Type of surgery depends on the location of the tumor growth. Operating throw pancreatic cancer in the head called the Whipple procedure. This is the most common type of surgery. If needed, your doctor will also discard tissues nearby organs, such as some of duodenum, bladder, bile duct, part of the stomach, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes.
If the stage is advanced, usually chemotherapy or radiotherapy. This can reduce pain and improve quality of life of sufferers. The life expectancy is generally six months to a year.
Pancreatic cancer can indeed be deadly. Many sufferers die within a year after diagnosis. Less than four percent were able to survive up to five years after diagnosis.