Pancreatic Cancer – Types and Treatments

Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells grow and divide uncontrollably in the pancreas and form a tumor. Pancreatic cancer may also spread to the other parts of the body such as the liver, abdominal wall, bones or even lymph nodes. This type of cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancer.

Different types of pancreatic cancer

There are various types of pancreatic cancer, however, they are divided into two major groups, based on the cells where cancer begins.
Exocrine Tumors
These type of tumors begin in the exocrine cells and is the most common type of exocrine cancer. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of exocrine cancer, about 9 out of 10 people with pancreatic cancer have this type of cancer. This type of cancer begins in the cells lining the pancreatic duct. There are other types of exocrine cancers which are of rare form such as:

  • Acinar Cell Carcinoma
  • Intraductal Papillary-mucinous neoplasm
  • Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma

Endocrine Cancer
Endocrine cancers are also known as the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. These types of cancers are less common than the exocrine cancers. Functioning cancer makes hormones and the cancer is named after the hormone that is produced. Some of the common types include:

  • Gastrinoma
  • Insulinoma
  • VIPoma
  • Somatostatinoma
  • Glucagonoma

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Below are some of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which should not be ignored:

  • Swelling in pancreas
  • Recent on-set diabetes
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Lowe back pain
  • Abdomen pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Causes of pancreatic cancer

The potential causes of pancreatic cancer are not fully understood, however, there are some commonly identified factors:

  • Pancreatic cancer mostly affects the people of aging 50-80
  • Obese
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco
  • History of certain diseases such as diabetes, chronic pancreatitis or stomach ulcers

Treatment methods for treating pancreatic cancer

The treatment depends on the health condition and the stage of cancer. Below are the treatment methods that are opted:
Surgery is used to remove the part or whole of the pancreas, depending on the type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. However, surgery carries risk like bleeding and infection.
Chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer cells through the drugs. The patient might receive one chemotherapy drug or the combination of them. In the case of advanced pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy is often used to control the growth of cancer.
Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a method in which high-energy beams are used to kill the cancer cells and it may or may not be combined with chemotherapy.

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