Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-highest mortality rate among all cancers and has the lowest survival rate. It affects women and men alike. However, a simple urine test can help identify it in its early stages.
The pancreas is about 15 centimeters and is in the form of a spongy tube located below the stomach, elongated, weighing approximately 70 grams.
It has two major roles for the body: it produces digestive juices (enzymes), which help the intestines to break down food; It produces hormones, including insulin, which regulates the level of sugar and starch in the body. Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant cells grow, divide and spread into pancreatic tissues, doctors quoted by the medical website webmed.com explain.
The first symptoms: nausea, lack of appetite
Pancreatic cancer is also called "silent" cancer, because the symptoms do not occur in the early stages of the disease. As the cancer begins to spread, there is pain in the upper abdomen. The pain becomes more and more severe, especially after the person is eating or lying.
Other symptoms are: nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and even depression.
Causes: smoking, genetic dowry
Although the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, smoking is the main risk factor. Smokers are three times more likely to get sick than non-smokers. Most cases of pancreatic cancer have developed after the age of 45 years. About 20% of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer suffer from diabetes. Other risk factors are diseases such as chronic pancreatitis or liver cirrhosis.
Family history is of major importance, but also a high fat diet, obesity or lack of exercise can play an important role in the development of the disease.
The key element of this disease is timely diagnosis. A doctor cannot see or feel a tumor during a routine exam. To help determine the diagnosis and determine which treatment should be followed, imaging tests should be performed. The final diagnosis can be determined from a biopsy, a tissue sample is taken and subsequently analyzed.
Treatment: radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Cancer can be cured if the diseased cells have not spread outside the pancreas. Unfortunately, most cases are discovered after the malignant cells have spread.
Radiotherapy is another indicated treatment method, it uses high-power radiation to destroy cancer cells. The treatment is performed 5 times a week, for several weeks or even months.
Chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells and stop them from growing and multiplying. The treatment consists of medicines administered orally or by injection. Substances from drugs reach the bloodstream, spreading throughout the body. There are newer drugs on the market that have the ability to attack certain parts of cancer cells.
Also called biological therapy, immunotherapy aims to stimulate a person's immune system to fight the disease.
A urine test can identify it in its early stages
An inexpensive and simple test can save thousands of lives every year by diagnosing early-stage pancreatic cancer.
Researchers in London have identified three proteins that can give an alarm signal, safely and precisely, for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive types of cancers, with only 3% survival rate for five years, as opposed to breast cancer with 87% and testicular cancer with 98%.