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Pancreatic Cancer - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pancreas is responsible for producing insulin which regulates the sugar level in the body. All those who know what diabetes is would know the importance of insulin in body (and hence the importance of pancreas). Pancreas also produces pancreatic juice which helps in digestion of food. When abnormal growth of cells (malignant cells) occurs in the pancreas, it is called pancreatic cancer. Like other types of cancer, pancreatic cancer too is life threatening.

Cause of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic tumors are caused by damage to genes, but it is not known exactly why this damage happens. Evidence suggests that it is linked to exposure to carcinogens such as; cigarettes, food high in fat and protein and food additives. Possible predisposing factors are chronic pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus and chronic alcohol abuse.

Weight is one of the 4 pancreatic causes that a person can actually do something about. If they do they decrease their risk of developing the disease, since overweight people tend to be more at risk than their thin counterparts. It should be noted that it doesn’t matter how much extra weight a person is carrying. Overweight people and obese people are both equally at risk for getting pancreatic cancer.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer has been referred to as a silent killer mainly because the early stages of pancreatic cancer usually do not cause any symptoms. If a tumor happens to block the common bile duct and prevents the bile from passing into the digestive system, both the skin and whites of the eyes may become jaundiced (yellow), and the urine may change color and become darker.

Again, none of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer are such so as to give confirmatory indications of pancreatic cancer. Pain in the abdomen, tiredness and loss of appetite are said to be symptoms of pancreatic cancer but these can really be caused by so many other things that it might not even occur to you that this could be caused by pancreatic cancer. However, if you are skeptical and want to make sure that everything is ok, you can always consult a qualified doctor to vet out your fears. Jaundice is another symptom of pancreatic cancer but this too can be caused by other things

When it comes to the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, jaundice is one of the most signature. This occurs due the body’s inability to dispose of bilirubin, which is a byproduct produced by worn-out blood cells. When the body functions normally, bilirubin is disposed of in bile. However, when a person has pancreatic cancer, bile flow gets blocked by the tumors. This results in yellowing of the skin, which is characteristic of jaundice.


Self Treatment: An overall healthy lifestyle with a well balanced diet is essential to maintain general health during the treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Medical Treatment: Although treatment with chemotherapy has not been very encouraging, promising new chemotherapy agents are always being investigated. Combinations of treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy may help control symptoms in some cases of advanced cancer. Surgical Treatment: Removal of the tumor offers the only chance for cure of this type of cancer. Unfortunately, only about 15 percent of patients can have their tumor fully removed. The rest of the patients have cancers that have grown too extensive to remove completely.

Source by Peter rodrick

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