Essay about Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer
"Cancer of the pancreas is a genetic disease that is the fifth most common cause of death in both men and women. Pancreatic cancer affects approximately 28,000 Americans each year, or five out of 100,000 people" (Mayo Clinic, 1998). According to physicians at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, "pancreatic cancer is the challenge of the twenty-first century." So, where exactly is the pancreas located in our bodies, and what does it do? The pancreas is a gland found behind the stomach that is shaped somewhat like a fish. The pancreas is about six inches long and less than two inches wide, and it extends across the abdomen. The pancreas consists of two separate glands inside the same organ, the exocrine gland and the
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According to Professor John Neoptolemos, "There are approximately 7,000 new cases each year - but it is one of the most lethal cancers." The main reason for the low survival rate from pancreatic cancer is due to its difficulty in finding this cancer early. By the time a person has symptoms, the cancer has often reached a large size and spread to other organs. Because the pancreas is deep inside the body, the doctor cannot see or feel tumors during a routine physical exam. There are currently no blood tests or other tests that can easily find this cancer early in people without symptoms. Tests for certain genes in people with a family history of the disease can help tell if they are at higher risk for cancer. There are some new tests for finding pancreatic cancer early in people with a strong family history of the disease, but these tests are complicated and expensive. Some symptoms of pancreatic cancer include jaundice, a yellow color of the eyes and skin caused by a substance buildup in the liver, pain in the belly area or in the middle of the back, significant weight loss over a number of months, loss of appetite, digestive problems including nausea, vomiting, pain that tends to be worse after eating, a swollen gallbladder that is enlarged, blood clots that form in the veins or cause problems with fatty tissue under the skin, and diabetes. If the doctor has any reason to suspect pancreatic cancer, certain tests will be done to see if the disease is really

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