Pancreatic cancer arises and develops in the pancreas. The location of the pancreas is right behind the stomach. The pancreas is responsible for various functions in the human body, such as endocrine and exocrine, functions that regulate digestion and the production of most important hormones. Adenocarnicoma is the type of tumor of pancreas which occupies 85% of pancreatic cancers. The adenocarnicomas usually form within the pancreas and have the tendency to spread further in the form of the metastases.
Usually pancreatic cancer symptoms trouble the person on advanced stages of this disease. Sometimes a patient can feel the pancreatic cancer symptoms only during the last stage of tumor. These pancreatic cancer signs include:
The signs on advanced stages are:
Generally pancreatic cancer symptoms do not appear before the person is 40 years old.
It should be mentioned that more than 94% of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma have p53 gene mutation. Such a high rate of mutation has not previously been identified under any other form of cancer. It is possible that genetic studies will have an important place in the early diagnosis of patients with pancreatic cancer. In future people who have the p53 gene will be required to be examined regularly, so that the cancer could be diagnosed in its early stages and be treated immediately.
Today the pancreatic cancer prognosis contains only 20-25%, despite the efforts of doctors and researchers to find the cure. If the doctors could find the cure for p53 gene mutation, the pancreatic cancer prognosis would increase by several times and pancreatic cancer symptoms would be treated before they even appear.
The pancreatic cancer is often mistaken with the jaundice illness and diabetes.
For the diagnosis of cancer doctors mostly use modern methods of instrumental studies: ultrasound, X-ray, tomography and endoscopy. If these methods do not help, the doctors can also apply the biopsy. In case the pancreatic tumor has a big size, it can be detected by radiography.
Surgical treatment is the best treatment for cancer of pancreas. There are two main types of surgery:
Radical surgery is used only if the metastases have not spread to other organs. The chances for full recovery are very small. Postoperative mortality reaches 25-40%. The main cause of postoperative mortality is the hepatic failure. Surgery can also present a stress for the liver, which often stops functioning properly. Palliative operations are performed in order to improve patients' quality of life and alleviate the pain.
The life expectancy for patients is:
- Without surgery - about 6 months;
- After surgery - 1.5-2 years (depending if there were metastases in the tumor);
- After palliative surgery - 6-12 months.
b) Endovascular treatment is an option of palliative treatment, which is practically a surgical radiology. Life expectancy after this pancreatic cancer treatment reaches 6-12 months.
c) Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is a treatment of pancreatic cancer, which is used before or after the operation. The average life expectancy for patients receiving radiation therapy as a treatment for pancreatic cancer is 12-14 months. In combination with palliative care life expectancy can reach 16 months.
d) Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is used only as an semi-efficient addition other pancreatic cancer treatment options.
e) Pancreatic cancer alternative treatment includes hormonal therapy and virotherapy. Virotherapy is an innovative pancreatic cancer cure, which mobilizes the natural defenses of the organism's immune system against the malignant cells.
Pacreatic cancer cure rate is only 40% and in many cases it can prolong the life of the patient for only several months.
First prevention of pancreatic cancer requires the total refusal of smoking. Also the person needs to exclude the harmful impact of big city pollution. Early treatment of chronic pancreas illness and of early diabetes is a crucial factor for pancreatic cancer cure. Systematic preventive examinations of cysts and benign tumors of the pancreas should be done by everyone who has hereditary pancreas problem, that could be passed from parents to children.
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