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Pancreatic cancer symptoms to watch out for

  Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of the disease. [Photo: Getty]
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of the disease. [Photo: Getty]

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of the disease.

Less than 1% of patients are still alive a decade after their diagnosis, with survival rates not improving at all over the last 40 years, according to Cancer Research UK .

"Brutal disease" often goes unnoticed, with about 60% of tumors being noticed only after they have spread, MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute reports .

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Although its symptoms may be unclear, pancreatic cancer does cause some warning signs that can help patients get diagnosed sooner.

This month's Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, Yahoo UK examines why pancreatic cancer is so aggressive and the symptoms it needs to look out for.

What is the life expectancy of a patient with pancreatic cancer?

Pancreat ic cancer is the eleventh most common form of the disease in England, with about 8,500 people being diagnosed each year, according to Pancreatic Cancer UK .

In the US, about 55,450 will be destroyed with the status this year, Cancer.net statistics show .

Life expectancy varies depending on the patient's diagnosis.

Those between the ages of 15 and 49 are most likely to beat the disease, according to Cancer Research UK.

Unfortunately, survival rates are poor, with pancreatic cancer having the highest mortality of all common forms of the disease.

Fewer than a quarter of patients (23.7%) diagnosed in England go through the next year, with a five-year survival rate of only 6.9%, UK pancreatic statistics show.

In the United States, the overall five-year survival rate is 9%, according to the American Cancer Society .

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Pancreatic cancer is considered to be particularly aggressive due to its location in the middle of the abdomen, close to other vital organs.

Therefore, malignant cells can easily spread from the pancreas to other important tissues through the circulatory system or the lymphatic system.

Pancreatic cancer cells usually continue to invade the liver, lungs, or abdominal cavity, which may be impossible to remove.


The location of the pancreas also makes it difficult to access.

And for a long time the tumor may lie too close to the blood vessels to be safely removed.

The MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute states that one quarter of cases are inoperable, even when the disease has not spread, with only 10 to 20% of patients able to go under the knife.

And with the disease that tends to be aggressive, more than 70% of cases that are "successfully" exploited are still ultimately fatal.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer often does not cause any symptoms in its early stages, which also makes it difficult to diagnose it, Pancreatic Cancer reports UK

And all the warning signs that develop are usually vague and come and go.

They may also be confused for more common conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis).

However, beware of abdominal pain that spreads in the back. This can manifest as tenderness or just general discomfort.

Unexplained weight loss or constant hunger should also raise alarm bells.

Patients may also notice a difference in their bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation or pale faeces that float. .

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Poor digestion, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing can also occur. They tend to be due to the role of the pancreas in the digestion of food.

Jaundice – itching of the skin and yellowing of the skin and eyes – is another symptom to watch out for.

Some cancer sufferers may also have recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar in the blood.

If the pancreas becomes cancer, it can stop producing insulin, leading to diabetes.

Jaundice is a medical emergency and patients are

For all other symptoms, see your doctor if they do not relieve after four weeks.

If your symptoms get worse – or new – appear after you have relieved them, see your healthcare provider. again.

How Is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?

Once diagnosed, treatment depends on the patient's age and how advanced his or her cancer is.

Usually, surgery is the only way to cure pancreatic cancer completely, according to the NHS .

The operation is a long and complicated one, with a drawn-out recovery.

Therefore, it is usually only suitable for relatively young people.

Most undergo a "Whipple procedure," which involves the removal of the pancreatic head. [19659004] Part of the intestine, gallbladder, gallbladder and even the stomach may also need to be removed.

Some patients then need enzymes to help them digest their food.

More complex cases require distal pancreatectomy when the tail and body of the pancreas are removed.

The spleen as well as part of the stomach, intestines, left kidney and left diaphragm may also have to go.

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In some cases, a total pancreatectomy is required.

As well as removal of the entire pancreas, the bile duct, gallbladder, spleen and surrounding lymph nodes are removed. Part of the small intestine and stomach should also go away.

Following the procedure, patients are required to take enzymes that help them digest food.

They also become diabetic due to the loss of their pancreas.

The spleen, which helps fight infections, taken out means that they have to be on antibiotics for the rest of their lives and have regular vaccinations.

The spleen also plays a role in stopping blood clotting. Therefore, patients may need tablets that prevent their blood from sticking together.

Even if the surgery cannot cure the patient's disease, they can still go under the knife.

Stent placement in the biliary tract helps keep them open to prevent the accumulation of the chemical bilirubin that causes jaundice.

The blocked bile duct can also be "cut" to allow the bile to drain.

Chemistry can be applied before surgery to help shrink a cancer or to stop it from returning.

If the patient cannot pass under the knife, chemotherapy may shrink the tumor to minimize symptoms and prolong their life.

Radiotherapy can also help stop cancer growth and relieve any pain.

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