The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system located behind the stomach and colon. Its function is to produce pancreatic juices, which aid digestion and produce various hormones, including insulin. Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells start replicating and forming tumors. Generally, these tumors are located on the head of the pancreas, often obstructing the bile ducts.
About 90% of registered pancreatic cancer cases are pancreatic adenocarcinoma, an incredibly aggressive cancer form. According to the American Cancer Society’s estimations, pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancer in the nation. Sadly, just two out of every ten patients will survive for more than a year. Only 5 percent of diagnosed cancers will live over five years.
A patient has no symptoms until the tumor has grown or has already spread through the abdominal cavity or other body parts. Hence, it is challenging to have early detection of pancreatic cancer. Once cancer has started showing signs, the most common symptom is jaundice, in which the skin turns yellow because of increased bilirubin levels.
Bilirubin is a substance made in the liver that helps break the fats in the intestine. Due to the cancerous tumor in the pancreas, it cannot reach the intestine, and the bilirubin levels in the blood rise. Other indicators of jaundice are darker urine, light-colored stools, and itchy skin.
Other symptoms of advanced-stage pancreatic cancer are:
Like many diseases, pancreatic cancer cannot be 100% prevented because its leading causes are relatively unknown. However, several risk factors can lead to the development of this form of cancer, such as
Pancreatic cancer usually has a poor prognosis, meaning the overall survival average is 8 to 11 months. Our registered nurses are a trained group of professionals who can focus on providing the patients and their families with relief from pain, stress, or other symptoms. Our task is to aim for the best quality of life possible.
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