Understanding Pancreatic Cancer – A Silent Killer

Pancreatic cancer is tumor in the pancreatic gland of the body. This cancer is believed to be fatal and survival rate of a person suffering from this disease is very low. Generally excessive intake of eggs, coffee, red meat, alcohol, smoking and more intake of junk food is believed to be responsible for this tumor. But hereditary factors can’t be ruled out. In fact, study of family history suggests that this is the foremost reason for pancreatic cancer.

A person suffering from acute pancreatitis develops pancreatic cancer at later stages if care is not taken. However no everybody suffering from pancreatic end up having tumor if there is proper medical course followed. People suffering from diabetes also end up with pancreatic cancer in future.

The sad part about pancreatic cancer is that it is not detected early. There are general symptoms like stomach ache and jaundice but which only show after a considerable period of time. There are some minor symptoms like anorexia, loss of appetite, aversion to smoking, meat, coffee, wine which are suggestive but these symptoms generally occur six months before acute stomach ache and jaundice. Almost every individual suffering from this tumor develop metastases and they die.

The usual procedure for treatment of any other type of cancer is not very effective for pancreatic cancer. Even though doctors and researchers are trying new methods for treating this disease but no permanent solution has been found till date. The effectiveness of chemoradiation is very low. Most of the time there are chances of relapse.

Fluorouracil chemoradiation is the treatment prescribed for patients whose illness is not in very advanced stage and people suffering from metastatic disease go for gemcitabine chemoradiation. These treatments do provide temporary relief but various studies state that only 15-20% of people suffering from this disease survive for 5 years. The tumor is resistant to all kinds of treatment. Gemcitabine is believed to bring symptomatic relief but it is no cure for the tumor.

There are researches being held in alternative medical fields too to come up with a permanent solution for this disease but nothing concrete has come up as yet. There are only preventive measures which can be integrated in our everyday life to save oneself from this illness. Firstly people suffering from pancreatitis should go for a proper treatment and should be careful about their diet. Similarly diabetic people too should never neglect their medication.

Excessive intake of meat, butter, alcohol, eggs etc should be avoided. Since in old age a person is more susceptible to this tumor because of low defense mechanism of the body, one must go for regular medical check ups. Knowing very well that this disease is fatal one must not ignore even small symptoms and consult their physician or an oncologist as soon as possible.

People having a history of pancreatic cancer in their family should be the most cautious lot and should have a healthy living. Raw fruits and vegetables along with fibrous food is the ideal diet for healthy living along with a little exercise.

To Your Health!

by James S. Pendergraft

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