As in most cancers, pancreatic cancer usually does not produce any symptoms until it has advanced. The symptoms include:
Weight loss with abdominal pain- these are the common signs.
Gradually worsening abdominal pain
Constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, gas pains or belching
Nausea, vomiting and a loss of appetite
Black or bloody stool
Sudden onset of diabetes
The pancreas has two important functions - supplying the intestines with digestive juices, and secreting hormones. Insulin is one of these hormones and it helps to regulate the body’s use of sugars and starches. Endocrine cells found in the pancreas help to regulate these hormones and they form clusters which are found in the tail and body sections of the gland. The exocrine cells are more abundant and they are spread throughout the gland and help with digestion. Pancreatic cancer usually starts in the exocrine cells. Endocrine cell cancers are usually treated easily because the cancer spreads slower. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer in its early stages is often misdiagnosed as a simple digestive complaint, thereby allowing the cancer to spread to nearby tissues and other organs and eventually into the bloodstream. The elderly usually suffer more from pancreatic cancer.
The main risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
Smoking, a smoker is three times more likely than a non-smoker to suffer from this disease
Diabetes has also been linked to this disease
Excessive dietary fat and protein might promote the disease
Exposure to certain petroleum products have been known to increase the risk
Try to avoid working near petroleum products and also avoid smoking.
When to seek further professional advice
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms that are listed above.
Alternative therapies are usually used to learn how to control the pain. Patients can try pain control through acupuncture, massage as well as relaxation techniques, however prescription medicine still needs to be taken.
Most cases of pancreatic cancer are only diagnosed when they are at an advanced stage and therefore cure is rarely a realistic goal. Treatments are normally aimed at extending survival and relieving the uncomfortable symptoms. Surgery is optional if the cancer has not spread beyond the pancreas, other options include radiation or chemotherapy treatments and medication to help relieve the pain.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.