Pancreatic Cancer in Simple Language

Dr. Nancy Qusba Emergency Physician Downers Grove, IL

Dr. Nancy Qusba M.D. is a top Emergency Physician in Downers Grove, IL. With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Dr. Nancy Qusba M.D. is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the field, Dr. Nancy Qusba M.D.... more

The word cancer is frightening for anyone. However, with early diagnosis, immediate intervention, and the introduction of immunotherapy has changed the outcome of most cancer, with the exception of ovarian and pancreatic. Pancreatic cancer currently has the highest mortality rate when compared to all other major cancers. The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are also vague, and do not appear until the disease has reached an advanced stage, when chances of survival are slim. The pancreas produces enzymes that help the body digest food and hormones including insulin that help control blood sugar levels in the body.

Recognizing the early warning signs of the cancer can help save a patient’s life.  The most common symptom of pancreatic cancer is unexplained weight loss, alongside nausea, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, pain in the upper abdomen or back, loss of appetite, dark urine, and light-colored stools. The undigested fat also can lead to foul-smelling, fatty feces, and constipation.  

Causes of pancreatic cancer

Some of the causes of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Cigarette smoking, which is the most common
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Diabetes mellitus, which is a huge risk factor
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed with a combination of tests. These tests include a ultrasound US) or computed tomography scan (CT scan), blood tests, and a an examination of tissue samples (also known as a biopsy.

Treatment of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer can be treated with surgery. If not, localized radiotherapy, chemotherapy as palliative care, or a combination of these therapies can be used to improve the patient’s quality of life.