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Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic cancer is actually a rare type of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates, the disease was diagnosed in 230,000 people per year worldwide, 37,000 cases of which occurred in the United States.

However, according to Aru W Sudoyo, hematology oncology medical specialists from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, the disease is classified as malignant. Moreover, generally detected only after an advanced stage.

Pancreas produces pancreatic lymph containing enzymes trypsin, amylase, and lipase to help break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats from food. The sap is poured into the duodenum. The pancreas also produces insulin as well as a number of hormones that help the body use and store energy from food.
The tumors are uncontrolled growth of cells in the organ concerned. Tumors of the pancreas are benign (cyst) and there is a malignant (cancerous).

Benign tumors are usually not life threatening, can be operated on and discharged, do not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. The cancer can be harmful to the soul, can be discarded, but usually grow again, invading and damaging surrounding body tissue, and spread to other parts of the body. Moreover, it also leads to accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites).


If we are exposed to infection, germs are usually relatively easy to find the cause. However, not so with cancer.

Doctors can not always explain, why a person suffering from cancer, while others do not. Or, what is the cause of cancer-related.

Ordinary only known risk factors that can trigger cancer. For pancreatic cancer, according to Aru, risk factors, among others, smoking. This habit is most widely associated with the incidence of pancreatic cancer. "Heavy smokers most at risk of developing pancreatic cancer," he said. Diabetics are also at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Likewise, people with a family history of cancer, patients with inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in a long time, and people who are obese (overweight).

Other risk factors that are studied are high in animal fat consumption, and drinking lots of alcohol.

However, many people suffering from pancreatic cancer despite having no risk factors above. Conversely, many people have a risk factor, but not cancer.

At the beginning of the growth of pancreatic cancer usually does not cause any symptoms. Therefore, the disease is often called the "silent killer". Typically, such Aru, perceived symptoms after an advanced stage, ie stage III or IV. Among other things, the color yellow (jaundice), both on the skin, eyes, feces, and urine. Other symptoms, pain in the gut, this is often caused the cancer getting too late to overcome because originally mistaken for gastroenteritis (mag). Nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tiredness, loss of appetite, and weight loss are common symptoms that mark the cancer.

"Very few people got lucky known pancreatic cancer at an early stage. That is, if the cancer is blocking the bile duct so that the patient experienced an early yellow, "said Aru.


Stage set based on the size of the tumor, whether it has been already invaded other tissues or spread to other parts of the body.

Stage I, if a new tumor in the pancreas. Stage II, if the tumor has invaded surrounding tissue, but not the blood vessels, and spread to the lymph nodes. Stage III, the tumor has invaded the blood vessels near the pancreas. As for stage IV, if the cancer has spread to organs distant relative, such as liver or lung.

Examination carried out through blood and laboratory tests, physical examination, CT scans, ultrasound, endoscopy, MRI, and biopsy (removal of tissue with a fine needle).

In the site mentioned Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the most common type of pancreatic cancer is adenocarcinoma (including 75 percent of cases of pancreatic cancer). In addition, there are adenosquamous carcinoma, glucagonoma, and somatostatinoma.

The kind that rarely, among others, acinar cell carcinoma, giant cell tumor, mucinous cystadenocarcinoma, pancreatoblastoma, and serous cystadenocarcinoma.

Treatment is with surgery, among others. This is done if the cancer is detected in early stages. By removing the tumor, the chance to recover sufficiently large.

This type of surgery depends on the location of the tumor growth. Operating throw pancreatic tumors in the head called the Whipple procedure. This is the most common type of surgery. If needed, your doctor will also discard tissues nearby organs, such as some of duodenum, bladder, bile duct, part of the stomach, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes.

If the stage is advanced, usually chemotherapy or radiotherapy (radiation). This can reduce pain and improve quality of life of sufferers. The life expectancy is generally six months to a year.


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