Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic Cancer Axia College (2009) Pancreatic cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of the cells in the pancreas, which is a digestive gland located behind the stomach. The pancreas is both an endocrine and exocrine gland. Cancer of the exocrine pancreas is more common than cancerof the endocrine pancreas. Pancreaticcancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related deaths among men and women. Pancreatic cancer remains both a challenge to diagnose and even a greater challenge to treat effectively. What is the pancreas? The pancreas is a spongy, tube-shaped organ about six inches long. The pancreas is located in the back of the abdomen, behind the stomach. The head of the pancreas is on the right side of the abdomen. The…show more content…
Table 1: Causes of Pancreatic Cancer What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer? The symptoms are wide ranged but usually do not appear till in the late stages of the cancer. That is one of the reasons that this is such a deadly killer. Some of the more common symptoms are shared by other diseases and is another factor that causes this disease so hard to diagnose. Pain in the upper back or upper abdomen, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine), indigestion, nausea and vomiting. This is a list of the more common symptoms but as with each individual the symptoms can be different in each. As with any unknown disease, a physician is the best place to start to protect peopleshealth and get a correct diagnosis. How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed? The physician will order a variety of possible diagnostic tests. A blood test can assess various pancreatic and liver functions and may suggest pancreatic cancer. If cancer is suspected a needle biopsy is usually conducted to examine the pancreas cells themselves for signs of cancer (Britannica Online 2007). These procedures are invasive and can cause complications including pancreatitis. In order to make a correct diagnosis and to determine the stage of the cancer it is possible to use multiple imaging techniques to allow doctors to see the pancreas even though it

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