Pancreatic Cancer

By Maggie Swett

Definition

Pancreatic Cancer starts in the tissue of your pancreas hence 'pancreatic'. It spreads rapidly and is rarely detected which is why this cancer leads to death. Cancer cells divide uncontrollably and form lumps called tumors.

How Does It Affect Your Body?

It affects your Digestive System. The Digestive System changes what you eat into nutrients. While having this cancer the Digestive System slows down and the muscles weaken. Two very common side affects are less eating and vomiting.
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Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain that may strike in your back
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Blood clots

Causes

No one knows what is the leading cause of this cancer so there is no known cure. Once the doctor finds the cancer it's usually too late and can't stop the lumps (tumors) from spreading. Once the cancer is found it's most likely in its advanced stages.

Onset/Doctors Test

  • More men are diagnosed than women. Research shows that it might be linked with higher smoking in men.
  • Doctors use many different types of test called metastasis.


Physical:
Doctors will examine the skin and the eyes to see if they are yellow which is caused by jaundice. Jaundice is a tumor that blocks the pancreas from working properly.


Blood: They will also take blood testing to check for bilirubin. Bilirubin is a high level chemical in your body due to blockage.


Pet Scan: A PET scan is a way to take pictures of your organs. Sugar is injected into the body and if you have cancer the cancer cells will take away the energy that the sugar is supposed to supply you. While this is happening the PET scan is watching and taking pictures.

Survival Rate

  • The one year survival rate is 20%
  • The five year survival rate is 6%
  • Only 20% of the victims tumors are confirmed before they are in its advanced stages.
  • Most people are diagnosed over age sixty
10 Things You Didn't Know About Pancreatic Cancer | Cancer Research UK

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy (chemo) is commonly used with Pancreatic Cancer victims. You can use chemo before surgery to help the tumor shrink. You can also use chemo after surgery to get the leftover cancer cells (the ones you cant see).
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Connections

The reason why I picked this topic was because one of my family members died of Pancreatic Cancer. Researching this topic has helped me understand what my family member went through.