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Understanding Pancreatic Cancer


Pancreatic cancer is a disease caused by the growth of a tumor in the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland that is part of the digestive system and has a length of about 15 cm. Pancreatic cancer can be experienced by both men and women, and usually occurs in people aged 75 years or over.

The pancreas has an important function for the body because it produces digestive enzymes that break down food so that work can be absorbed by the body. In addition, the pancreas also produces hormones, including insulin, which serves to maintain the stability of blood sugar levels in the body.
Pancreatic Cancer
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer in early stages usually does not cause symptoms and therefore the diagnosis becomes more difficult to do. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer at an advanced stage dependent part of the pancreas gland affected because the pancreas has two types of glandular tissue. The first is a gland that produces digestive enzymes called the exocrine glands. The second is a gland that produces hormones, or also called endocrine glands.

Exocrine glands are glands are most often infected pancreatic cancer with symptoms that generally occur as jaundice, weight loss, and back pain or abdominal pain. In addition to some of the symptoms mentioned above, there are some other symptoms of pancreatic cancer as follows:
  • Diabetes
  • Fever and chills
  • Itch
  • Simple blood clot
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Change in bowel pattern
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
Causes of Pancreatic Cancer
Until now the cause of a person affected by pancreatic cancer is still not known for certain, but there are some risk factors that can increase the chances of developing cancer of the pancreas such as the following.
  • Diabetes can increase a person's risk of pancreatic cancer. In contrast, a malignant tumor that grows in the pancreas can also be a cause of diabetes.
  • Helicobacter pylori that causes stomach infection is expected to slightly increase a person's risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Smoking may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer because of toxic and dangerous chemical substances can cause tissue and organ in the body experiencing irritation and inflammation.
  • Aged over 75 years.
  • People who do not do a lot of physical activity, overweight or obese, and did not get used to a healthy diet.
  • Ever suffered from an inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis.
  • Having a close family member suffering from pancreatic cancer.
In addition to risk factors such as those mentioned above, there are also other risk factors that may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, that many people who drink alcohol excessively and patients with chronic hepatitis.

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer
The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at an early stage it is difficult to do because it often does not cause symptoms in people. Physical examination to check for pancreatic cancer is difficult to do because the pancreas lies quite hidden in the body and surrounded by parts of the intestine. Here are some tests that can be performed to diagnose pancreatic cancer:
  • Organ in the body imaging tests such as ultrasound scans, CT, MRI, and PET scans. Additionally, endoluminal ultrasonography (EUS) can also be done if a CT scan or MRI scan has been done is less clear. Endoscope or small camera tools will be inserted through the mouth to the stomach to photograph the condition of the pancreas.
  • Or laparoscopic surgery in the abdomen to insert a small microscope called a laparoscope, to look at the organs in the abdominal cavity and pelvis. 
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is almost the same as the EUS, which is the process of inserting an endoscope through the mouth and into the stomach. But in the process of ERCP endoscope is used to inject a special dye into the pancreatic duct and bile to determine the presence of tumors that clog. This test is done if a person suffering from jaundice.
  • Biopsy or sampling process suspected tumor cells for examination under a microscope. Small tools attached to the endoscope can be used to biopsy when performing laparoscopic procedures, ERCP or EUS.
Stages of cancer is divided into four stages or commonly called the stage. The doctor will classify the stage of cancer based diagnosis has been made. Below is a classification stage pancreatic cancer:
  • If cancer is found only in the pancreas and has not spread to other parts, called stage I.
  • If the cancer has spread to tissues and organs near the pancreas, or perhaps has infected lymph nodes, referred to as stage II.
  • If the cancer has spread to the major blood vessels around the pancreas and may have plagued the lymph nodes, referred to as stage III.
  • If the cancer has spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver, and peritoneum or membrane that lines the abdominal cavity, referred to as stage IV.
Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Treatment of pancreatic cancer in each patient is different because there are several factors that determine the type of treatment that is performed as follows:
  • Part infected pancreatic cancer.
  • Wide spread of cancer or stage suffered.
  • Age of the patient.
  • The patient's overall health.
  • Choice or preference of patient care.
Treatment in patients with pancreatic cancer aims to remove the tumor and other cancer cells in the body. But if it is not possible to do, then the doctor will perform treatments aimed at preventing the tumor grows larger because it can lead to the emergence of further danger. In addition, treatment was performed useful to relieve the symptoms experienced, and made the patient can feel comfortable.

Treatment or cancer healing process will be much more difficult if the tumor that appear in the body of large or has spread. Discuss with your doctor and family members to choose the type of care that is appropriate to the conditions you are experiencing. The following are some of the treatments that can be done to cope with pancreatic cancer.

Surgery
Type of pancreatic cancer care most is to do surgery because it can treat pancreatic cancer until fully healed. However, not all patients with pancreatic cancer can perform the operation, only 1 of 5 patients suitable for surgical removal of the tumor. There are several factors that can determine the success of the surgical removal of the tumor, among others:
  • The tumor has not spread to other body parts.
  • Tumors did not grow up around blood vessels that important.
  • Patients have a good overall health.
Here are some surgical procedure that can be done to treat cancer of the pancreas:
  • Surgery is the most widely performed Whipple operation, which is to elevate the head of the pancreas. In this surgery, the doctor also may lift the first part of the small intestine, gallbladder, bile duct section, and sometimes a portion of the stomach. Approximately 30 percent of patients who had surgery Whipple require medication enzymes to help digest food. This operation has a faster recovery time than surgical removal of the pancreas total.
  • Total pancreatectomy surgery to remove the entire pancreas. In addition, this operation also raised the spleen, biliary tract, most small intestine, gall bladder, lymph nodes around the pancreas, and sometimes a portion of the stomach. Patients who have this surgery need to take enzymes to help digest food. Appointment organ functioning pancreas to produce insulin will make patients suffering from diabetes as well. In addition, the patient should be taking penicillin for life and routine vaccination to prevent infection and blood clots due to removal of the spleen.
  • Distal pancreatectomy surgery to remove parts of the body and tail of the pancreas but let the head of the pancreas. This operation also remove part of the stomach, most colon, left kidney, left adrenal gland, and the possibility of the left side of the diaphragm will also be appointed.
  • If it can not be cured, surgery to relieve the symptoms and make the patient more comfortable can be done. This operation uses ERCP to put a stent or tube opening in the bile ducts to prevent the buildup of bilirubin element that causes jaundice. Bypass surgery which inhibits bile duct can be done if the use of stents is not suitable for the patient. Blocked bile duct will be truncated and reconnected to the intestine in order to channel the bile.
Postoperative recovery process of pancreatic cancer should be considered because it requires a long time. Here are some things that should be considered in the process of postoperative recovery of pancreatic cancer:
  • Ensure appropriate painkillers and in sufficient doses to post-operative period.
  • Patients can not eat or drink immediately after undergoing surgery for intestinal digestive system as it takes time to recover.
  • Before a patient can eat and drink more regular basis, patients will sip fluids slowly.
  • A series of chemotherapy for six months is usually recommended after surgery. It is very big impact for the patient's recovery opportunities.
Chemotherapy
To destroy malignant cancer cells in the body or prevent its growth, the patient can do chemotherapy with anticancer drugs. Chemotherapy can be done before or after surgery, or if the operation can not be performed. Chemotherapy drugs have two forms, namely that consumed directly and is given intravenously.

Chemotherapy has many side effects because it can attack healthy cells and normal. Side effects that may occur, such as canker sores, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, chemotherapy may also increase the risk of infection. The side effects experienced by patients as a result of chemotherapy is usually only temporary and will subside once the treatment is completed.

The risk of side effects will be increased if the patient is undergoing chemotherapy treatment combination, but it could increase the possibility to control or out of cancer.

Radiotherapy
To help reduce the tumor and relieve the pain, the patient can perform cancer therapy uses high-energy radiation beam called radiotherapy. For patients who can not perform surgery to treat cancer, a doctor may recommend a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

However, this therapy has few side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and rash. The side effects experienced by patients as a result of radiotherapy usually only temporary and will subside once the treatment is completed.

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