Pancreatic cancer is serious and usually has no cure
Pancreatic cancer is a type of malignant tumor that usually does not show symptoms in advance, which means that when it is discovered it can already be spread in such a way that the chances of a cure are greatly reduced.
The life span of the person with pancreatic cancer can be greatly reduced, varying between 6 months to 5 years, even when carrying out the treatment indicated by the doctor. Treatment can be done with radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery and the choice depends on the stage of the tumor:
- Stage I: Surgery may be indicated
- Stage II: Surgery may be indicated
- Stage III: Advanced cancer, surgery is not indicated
- Stage IV: Cancer with metastasis, surgery is not indicated
Other factors that must be taken into account are the exact location of the tumor, whether blood vessels or other organs are also affected.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms
Initially pancreatic cancer can cause mild discomfort after meals, such as poor digestion and mild abdominal pain, in the stomach area. Symptoms of more advanced pancreatic cancer are usually the ones that attract the most attention, which can be:
- Weakness, dizziness;
- Weight loss without apparent cause;
- Loss of appetite;
- Jaundice, caused by obstruction of the common bile duct, accompanied by itching throughout the body. The yellow color affects not only the skin, but also the eyes and other tissues;
- Difficulties in digesting fatty foods, or an increase in fat in the stool, usually indicates bile duct obstruction, a more delicate situation.
In the beginning of its development, pancreatic cancer does not hurt, and therefore the person does not seek medical attention. The pain usually appears when the cancer is more advanced and may be mild to moderate in intensity in the stomach area, radiating to the back. Generally when pancreatic cancer begins to show symptoms they are usually related to the involvement of other structures such as the liver and other tissues of the digestive system, in which case the pain is stronger and can affect the lower ribs.
If pancreatic adenocarcinoma is suspected, the most effective tests to confirm the diagnosis are computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound, in addition to a biopsy of the pancreas.
Can pancreatic cancer be cured?
When discovered early in its development, pancreatic cancer can be cured, but finding it early is difficult, especially due to the location of this organ and the absence of characteristic symptoms. The best treatment option is surgery to remove the tumor, which can cure this cancer.
As a form of treatment for pancreatic cancer, radio and chemotherapy are used. Some cases can benefit from removing the diseased part of the pancreas and affected tissues through surgery. Its treatment is long and new complications may appear, such as metastases to other areas of the body.
Who is most at risk of having this cancer
This cancer is more common in people between 60 and 70 years of age, and is rarely found in young adults. Factors that increase a person's risk of having this cancer are diabetes or glucose intolerance and being a smoker.
Excessive consumption of high-fat foods, red meats, alcoholic beverages, having had pancreatitis and working in places where you have been exposed to chemicals such as solvents or oil for more than 1 year, also increase the risk of this disease.