Located in the abdomen, the pancreas produces hormones to regulate blood sugar levels and specific enzymes for digestion. A malignant tumor – called pancreatic cancer – can develop if this gland is not capable of dividing its cells properly. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. In the United States, pancreatic cancer accounts for approximately 7 percent of all cancer deaths.
Pancreatic cancer can occur as either an exocrine tumor or islet cell tumor (a neuroendocrine tumor). Specific risk factors may be related to each type of cell. Their characteristics are determined by the type of cell they originate from.
An imaging study and tissue sample are usually required to make a diagnosis. Treatment options may include radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. You may find it helpful to speak with a physician or genetic counselor about how you can reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer, as well as how to stay healthy.
1Symptoms Of Pancreatic cancer
The cancer starts to cause warning signs and symptoms as it grows. Each individual may experience different symptoms depending on how the cancer is developing. According to the National Cancer Institute, people with any of the following signs or symptoms should contact a doctor or an oncologist:
Pancreatic cancer is characterized by jaundice as its most serious warning sign. However, jaundice can also be caused by many other diseases, such as hepatitis, gallstones, and liver disorders. It is considered a warning sign of pancreatic cancer if jaundice is present along with some of the symptoms that we will discuss later in this article.
A person’s pancreatic cancer usually begins with jaundice as one of the first symptoms. A person with jaundice has an abnormally yellow complexion and yellowing of eyes. A build-up of bilirubin leaves one with jaundice. Bilirubin is a yellowish-brown substance produced within the liver. As part of the process of excreting bilirubin, bile is produced by the liver in the form of liquid. Through the bile duct, bile reaches the intestine and assists in the digestion of food fats. Bile is then excreted through stools.
Excess production and accumulation of bile in the body organs cause them to turn yellow. Combined with other signs and symptoms, it may help indicate a person is suffering from pancreatic cancer.