Pancreatic Cancer And Pancreatic Cancer Signs

By | July 25, 2015

pancreatic cancer signs

Some of the people have to suffer from diseases at some point in their life. It is not necessary that every person suffer from disease, people who take care of their health do not suffer from diseases. Disease appears and takes any form. Most chronic disease is the cancer. It also appears in many forms. Cancer may be of brain, stomach, liver, lung, pancreas or any other part of the body. In today’s post we would be dealing with pancreatic cancer.

What is pancreatic cancer?

It is a disease in which malignant cancerous cells are formed in the tissues of the pancreas. Which is a gland located behind stomach and in front of  spine. This gland produces the digestive juices and hormones which regulate the blood sugar level. Cells which are called exocrine pancreas cells produce these digestive juices, whereas cells which are called as endocrine pancreas cells produce hormones. The majority of pancreatic cancers get started in the exocrine cells.

Causes of pancreatic cancer:

Listed below are some of the causes which are identified for pancreatic cancer:

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer:

Those factors that can increase your chances of getting sick from a disease are called risk factors. It is believed that it is not necessary that if you are being exposed to certain risk factors for a disease you will get suffer from disease. It is also possible that you are suffering from a disease and you may or may not have exposure to those risk factors that have specifically been identified for a particular disease.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer are listed below:

  • Use of Tobacco.
  • You’re being overweight and obese.
  • Exposure of certain chemicals.
  • Your age.
  • Your gender.
  • Your race.
  • Genetics.
  • Some genetic syndromes.

pancreatic cancer signs

Use of tobacco:

By making us of tobacco you may increase your chances of getting sick from pancreatic cancer. As tobacco may be used in cigarettes therefore smoking can increase your chances of getting sick from this disease. Your risk of getting pancreatic cancer becomes about twice as high if you are smoker as compared to those who are not involved in smoking. Scientists do think that may be due to cancer causing chemicals which are carcinogens in cigarette smoke that enter into the blood and damage the pancreas hence causing cancer and other defects in pancreas as well. It is estimated that almost 20 percent to 30 percent of exocrine pancreatic cancer cases are considered to be caused by cigarette smoking. Moreover, Cigar and pipe smoking also increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer, as like the use of smokeless.

You’re being overweight and obese:

If your weight increase beyond the normal weight according to weight to height ratio then your= are considered overweight and obese. In such a situation you are at a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. If you are very overweight or obese, you are about 20 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Carrying around extra weight in the waistline may be a risk factor even in people who are not very overweight overall.

Exposure to certain chemicals:

Heavy exposure at work place to certain chemicals in pesticides, dyes, and chemicals used in metal refining may increase the risk of developing and suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Your Age:

Your risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases and maximized with the increasing age. Almost all patients are older than 45 years of age. Almost two thirds are at least 65 years old. Average age at the time of diagnosis is almost 71 years.

Your Gender:

Male people are about 30 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer as compare to females. This may be due to higher tobacco use in men that raises pancreatic cancer risk. The differences in pancreatic cancer risk were more pronounced in the past when tobacco use was much more common among men than women, but the gap has closed in recent years as women also are now involved in smoking and in use of tobacco.

pancreatic cancer signs

Your Race:

People belonging to African Americans race are more likely to develop and suffer from pancreatic cancer as compared to whites. The reasons behind this fact are not clear, However, it may be due to having higher rates of other risk factors for pancreatic cancer, like as diabetes, smoking in men, and being overweight in females.

Family history:

Pancreatic cancer appears to run in some families. In most of these families, the high risk is due to an inherited syndrome. In some other families, the gene which is causing the increased risk is not known.Listed below are the genetic syndromes that we are talking about.

Genetic syndromes

Inherited gene changes called as mutations can be passed from parent to their offspring or child. Such abnormal genes may cause as many as 10 percent of pancreatic cancers and may cause other problems like as well. Example of the genetic syndromes that can cause exocrine pancreatic cancer are included below:

  • Hereditary breastor ovarian cancer syndrome, which are caused by mutations in the gene
  • Familial melanoma, which is caused by mutations in the genep16/CDKN2A
  • Familial pancreatitis, which is caused by mutations in the genePRSS1
  • Hereditary non polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), which is also known asLynch syndrome, often caused by a defect in the genes MLH1 or MSH2. Change in other genes can also cause HNPCC, like as MLH3, MSH6, TGBR2, PMS1, and
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS), which is caused by defects in the geneSTK11. Such syndrome is also linked with polyps in the digestive tract and some other cancers.
  • Von Hippel Lindau syndrome, which is caused by mutations in the geneVHL. It can also lead to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and carcinoma of the ampulla of Vater.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and cancers can also be caused by genetic syndromes, like as:

  • Neurofibromatosis,type 1 that is caused by mutations in the geneNF1. Such syndrome leads to an increased risk of many tumors including the somatostatinomas.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN1) that caused by mutations in the gene MEN1. Such syndrome leads to an increased risk of tumors of the parathyroid gland, the pituitary gland, and also the islet cells of pancreas.

Mutations for these syndromes are tested by genetic testing


Pancreatic cancer is more common in people who have been suffering from diabetes. The reason behind this for this is not known. Many of the risks are found in people who have type 2 diabetes. Such type of diabetes most often starts in adulthood and also it is often related to being overweight or obese. It is not clear whether people with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes have a higher risk.

In some people, even though, the cancer seems to have caused the diabetes not the other way around. It can happen when cancer spreads through pancreas and damages it enough of the insulin making cells to cause the diabetes.

Chronic pancreatitis:

Chronic pancreatitis is a long term inflammation of the pancreas. Such condition is linked with an increased risk of the pancreatic cancer especially in smoking people. However, most of the people with pancreatitis never develop the pancreatic cancer.

Very small number of cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to the inherited gene mutation. People who have this inherited familial form of pancreatitis have a greater lifetime risk for developing the pancreatic cancer.

Cirrhosis of the liver:

Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver. It develops in people who have liver damage from things like hepatitis and by use of alcohol. People who have cirrhosis seem to have an increased risk of the pancreatic cancer.

Stomach problems

Infection of the stomach with the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) might increase the risk of getting pancreatic cancer developed. Some researchers believed that excess stomach acid may also increase the risk.

pancreatic cancer signs


Some studies linked pancreatic cancer and diets that include a lot of red meat, pork, and processed meat (such as sausage and bacon). Others have found that diets high in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. But not all studies have found such links, and the exact role of diet in relation to pancreatic cancer is still being studied.

Physical inactivity

Some researchers have suggested that lack of physical activity for longer period of time might increase pancreatic cancer risk. However, not all studies have found this.


Some older studies have suggested that drinking coffee might increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, but more recent studies have not confirmed this.


Some researchers have shown a connection between alcohol and pancreatic cancer development. This connection is still not certain. However, heavy alcohol use can lead to conditions like as chronic pancreatitis and cirrhosis, which are also known to increase pancreatic cancer risk.

  • inflammation of the pancreas:

Inflammation in pancreas also increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Who treats pancreatic cancer?

A doctor who specializes in pancreas and pancreatic disorders and diseases cures and treats pancreatic cancer.

Outlook for Pancreatic Cancer:

The American Cancer Society reported that only about 23 percent of patients who suffer from cancer of the exocrine pancreas are living one year after the diagnosis of cancer. Only about 4 percent are living five years after diagnosis of the cancer.

Pancreatic cancer signs:

  • At various points symptoms of pancreatic cancer depend on the location of the cancer within the pancreas. If pancreatic cancer is in the head of the pancreas then it tends to cause symptoms .Pancreatic cancer signs are listed below:
  • weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin).
  • Darker urine.
  • Stool that are light in color.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in abdomen.
  • Pain in back.
  • Enlarged neck region lymph nodes.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue.
  • Depression.

Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer:

Medical history:

Doctor takes medical history that whether you were suffering from some other disease or other type of cancer or not.

Physical examination:

  • CT scan(computed tomography):
  • CT scan is used for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer where x rays from different parts of the body are converted to computerized pictures in order to examine internal parts of the body like pancreas in case of pancreatic cancer.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging):
  • It makes use of magnetic field and the radio waves to take the inner picture of pancreas in order to examine its internal structure.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS):

In this type of test a small instrument is passed through your mouth down through the throat and then pancreas is examined.

It is a technique that combines the use of the endoscopy and the fluoroscopy in order to diagnose and to treat certain problems of the biliary or the pancreatic ductal systems.
pancreatic cancer signs

  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography:

  This type of procedure is used to X ray liver, pancreas and bile ducts

  • Biopsy:
  • It is the procedure where removal of tissue to view it under a microscope takes place

Treatment of pancreatic cancer:

There are various treatments options for pancreatic cancer, including treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy makes use of drugs to treat and cure cancer, whereas radiation therapy uses X rays or other kinds of radiation in order to kill cancer cells. Surgery can also be used to remove the tumor or to treat symptoms of the pancreatic cancer.

Statistics of pancreatic cancer:

The American Cancer Society most estimations for pancreatic cancer in the United States for 2015 are:

  • Almost 48,960 people that is 24,840 men and 24,120 women will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Almost 40,560 people that is 20,710 men and 19,850 women will be died because of pancreatic cancer

Rates of pancreatic cancer have fairly stable over the past few years.

Pancreatic cancer accounts for almost 3 percent of all cancers in the U.S, and accounts for almost 7 percent of cancer deaths.

The average life time risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 67 people which accounts for 1.5 percent. A person risk may be changed by certain risk factors.

Survival rate of pancreatic cancer:

While pancreatic cancer survival rates have been improving every 10 year it increases, this disease is still considered as largely incurable. According to American Cancer Society, all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20 percent, and the five year survival rate is 6 percent.


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