Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer of the pancreas is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Pancreatic cancer occurs when a cell in the pancreas—which produces fluids that help digest food and hormones (such as insulin) to control blood sugar levels—is damaged.

This malignant (cancer) cell starts to grow out of control. Digestive fluids are made by exocrine pancreas cells and hormones are produced by endocrine pancreas cells. Roughly 95 percent of pancreatic cancers begin in exocrine pancreas cells. Pancreatic tumors are sometimes discovered during imaging studies to investigate Symptoms or during an evaluation for another condition. They may also be found during screening for families with a history of pancreatic cancer.

Factors that contribute to an increased Risk for cancer of the pancreas include:

  • Aged 55 and older
  • More common in men than women
  • Pancreatic cysts
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Obesity
  • Workplace exposures
  • Race (More common in African-Americans than Asians, Hispanics, or whites)
  • Family history of cancer of the pancreas
  • Genetic syndromes

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early as it does not cause Symptoms right away. Symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer include:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Pain in the upper or middle part of the abdomen and back
  • New development of diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Light-colored stool and general itchiness

With the results of diagnostic tests, assign cancer a stage, depending upon the size and spread of the cancer.

How is it diagnosed?

If patient having Symptoms of pancreatic cancer,  will health history,  family’s history of cancer and Risk factors. Diagnostic tests may include:
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Pancreas biopsy. A procedure in which a sample of pancreatic tissue is removed (with a needle or during surgery) for examination under a microscope.
  • Special blood tests
  • Positron emission tomography (PET scan)

How is it treated?

Types of surgery include:
  • Pancreatoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) involves removal of the head of the pancreas, part of the small intestine, the gallbladder and part of the common bile duct, part of the stomach, and lymph nodes near the head of the pancreas. Most pancreatic tumors occur in the head of the pancreas, so the Whipple procedure is the most commonly performed surgical procedure for pancreatic cancer.
  • Pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy is similar to the Whipple procedure. However, surgeon does not remove the lower part of stomach.
  • Robotic distal pancreatectomy removes benign and malignant cysts and tumors in the body or the tail of the pancreas using the da Vinci® Surgical System
  • Total pancreatectomy includes removing the entire pancreas, part of the small intestine and stomach, the common bile duct, the spleen, the gallbladder and some lymph nodes. This type of operation is not done often.
  • Palliative surgery involves more advanced cancers. Surgery may be done not to cure the cancer, but to relieve problems such as a blocked bile duct.
  • Portal vein resection for selected patients.
  • Newer surgical procedures are used to remove larger tumors that were previously considered inoperable.

The Whipple procedure and distal pancreatectomy are highly complex operations that require an experienced surgeon and a concentrated team approach to keep Risks to a minimum.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials

Consult with experienced Doctors

JNU is home to some of the most eminent doctors in the world, most of whom are pioneers in their respective arenas and are renowned for developing innovative and revolutionary procedures
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