The organ that provides the digestion of nutrients entering the body and balances the glucose level in the blood is called the pancreas. A small problem in the pancreas, whose duties are not limited to these, can cause serious discomfort.
What is pancreatic cancer?
It is a type of cancer caused by malignant masses that form and reproduce anywhere in the pancreas. It spreads very quickly.
What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
This is a type of cancer that proceeds insidiously.
- weight loss,
- abdominal pain,
- loss of appetite,
- nausea, vomiting,
- weakness, fatigue, paleness
- digestive difficulties,
- back pain, defecation in glass paste color,
- sudden diabetes
What are the causes of pancreatic cancer?
Although a definite cause cannot be determined, obesity and smoking are considered as important factors. It is more common in men, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age. The average age in catching pancreatic cancer worldwide is 63 for men and 67 for women.
How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?
The diagnosis can be difficult especially in the early stages, as the disease appears with insidious symptoms. Diagnostic tests are used.
- Ultrasonography: Ultrasonography provides information about the presence of a hard or cystic mass in the pancreas, the size of the mass, the relationship of the mass with other peripheral structures and its proximity to vascular structures.
- Laboratory tests: Serum bilirubins, alkaline phosphatase, liver transaminases and values such as CEA, CA19-9 and CA-125 have increased. Bilirubin is positive in the urine.
- Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MR): CT, which is taken by giving contrast drug by mouth and vein, provides very important information about pancreatic tumors. MR imaging is also important in the differential diagnosis of the tumor. These two methods are used together to ensure the correct staging of the tumor.
How is pancreatic cancer treated?
When the stage of cancer is detected with CT and MR methods, it is also checked whether it has spread to other organs. According to this, the issue of removing cancerous tissue by surgical operation is discussed. Surgical application is not possible in advanced tumors. While chemotherapy is being applied, healthy nutrition and treatments to reduce pain can be applied.
- Surgical Treatment: If the tumor is suitable for surgical removal in the examinations, ‘Whipple surgery’ is applied. In Whipple surgery; together with the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, part of the main bile duct, duodenum, part of the stomach and surrounding lymph nodes are removed in blocks.
- Radiation Therapy: In radiotherapy, cancer cells are tried to be destroyed by giving high energy rays. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be used together to shrink the tumor before surgery. In some cases, radiotherapy can be given to prevent postoperative relapses.
· Chemotherapy: It is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. In pancreatic cancers, chemotherapy can be applied taking into account the general condition of patients before or after surgery. The patients’ quality of life is tried to be improved by applying chemotherapy to advanced patients.