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Pancreatic Cancer :

Pancreatic cancer crops up when cells in the pancreas (a glandular organ behind the stomach) begin to increase exponentially beyond control and form a lump. These Pancreatic cancerous cells have the capacity to attack other parts of the body.

Signs and symptoms :

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect as symptoms develop only after the disease has reached an advance stage and began to spread in other parts of the body.

And when the cancer is large enough it causes symptoms like abdominal pain, back pain, yellow skin, light-colored stools, dark urine, undefined loss of weight, loss of appetite etc.

Risk Factor :

Pancreatic cancer barely arises before the age of 40. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, tobacco chewing, diabetes, obesity, and specific genetic states.

The possibility of growing pancreatic cancer is lesser within the non-smokers and people who are physically strong and restrict their intake of red/ processed meat.

Diagnosis :

Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis begins with a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history. The following may help to confirm the cancer.

Laboratory tests : Possible tests include -

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Stool tests

Blood tests can detect a chemical that pancreatic cancer cells release into the blood. Liver function tests check for bile duct blockage.

Imaging tests : The doctor may request imaging tests to detect if a tumor is present, and, if so, to and see how far the cancer has spread.

Common imaging tests include :

  • Ultrasound or endoscopic ultrasound
  • CT, MRI, or PET scans
  • X-rays, possibly with a barium meal
  • An Angiogram

Biopsy :

Modified endoscopes with surgical instruments attached to them or passed through them can be used to carry out certain types of surgery.

Stages of Pancreatic cancer :

Next, the doctor will assess the stage of the cancer, or how far the cancer has spread, to determine which treatment options are suitable.

The stage depends on :

  • Stage 0: There are cancerous cells in the top layers of pancreatic duct cells. They have not invaded deeper tissues or spread outside of the pancreas.
  • Stage IV: The cancer that has spread to distant sites throughout the body.

At stage 0, effective treatment is possible. At stage IV, tumors have spread to distant organs. A doctor would only recommend surgery to relieve pain or unblock ducts.

Treatment for Pancreatic cancer :

Pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, palliative care, or even with a combination of these treatments.

Cancer treatment depends on a variety of factors:
  • The type of cancer
  • The stage of the cancer
  • The person's age, health status, and other characteristics
  • The individual's personal choices
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are the most common treatment options.

The aim of treatment is to:

  • Remove the cancer
  • Relieve painful symptoms