Known as the “emperor of all maladies” cancer is truly a scourge to our existence. With the potential to affect nearly every part of the body, most people, either personally or through a loved one or acquaintance, however, with so many different types of cancer, sometimes having a proper understanding of the different types can be difficult. While all cancers are bad, it is important to remember that they aren’t all created the same. Today, we are going to take a look at perhaps the worse – pancreatic cancer. And with a 20 percent one-year and 7 percent five-year survival rate, this couldn’t come sooner.
What is the pancreas?
Located inside the abdomen, the pancreas is an organ that is responsible for producing the digestive juices that break down your food once it enters the intestines. While this is in and of itself an incredibly important function, the pancreas doesn’t stop there. It also produces chemical hormones such as insulin and glutton to help regulate blood sugar levels.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Cancer of the pancreas occurs when a group of cells inside the organ begins to grow out of control. When left untreated, this cell growth will spread to surrounding organs, or even distant ones like the liver, brain, and lungs.
Is pancreatic cancer painful?
This is where things get a little tricky. For while the survival rates of pancreatic cancer are less than stellar, the problem lays in lack of early detection. This is further compounded by the fact that the initial stages of the cancer are typically painless. As such, it often isn’t until the disease has spread and grown before it is diagnosed and treated.
Can it cause jaundice?
Many people believe that jaundice is a result of liver disease, and while this is true, it isn’t the only cause. When pancreatic cancer is present, very often a blockage can occur in the tubes connecting the liver and intestine, causing jaundice.
What are my options?
While nobody like the idea, sometimes surgery is the best option for any type of cancer. What happens is that the doctors will remove the part of the pancreas that has cancer, along with some of the surrounding areas. This, however, is always done on an individual basis.
There are other options available like chemotherapy and even radiation therapy, however, again, these are usually done on a case by case basis. What is important to remember that if you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to not give up hope. The fight against cancer is won daily, and it all starts with the right attitude.