Pancreatic Cancer – An intense silent sinister
Pancreatic Cancer is touted as one of the toughest cancers with a sinking survival rate as low as 1 percent.
Pancreatic cancer is a silent sinister that flashes fast without dropping a hint! With the advancement of technology and treatment, the overall survival rates of cancer have improved drastically. But that’s not the case with pancreatic cancer! Studies revealed that the death rates of pancreatic cancer have been on an upsurge. Today, pancreatic cancer is the seventh leading cause of death by cancer.
Its rapid progress coupled with notoriously silent symptoms makes early detection a rare feat. In most cases, the diagnosis surfaces after reaching a terminal stage where the average life expectancy dwindles between 4 to 6 months. It’s those cases of cancer you see or hear about, where the patient is fit and fine this moment and battling for breath the very next moment. It is a monstrous condition and the only way to beast this beast is through early detection.
Doctors say, “If a patient gets diagnosed early where the cancer could be controlled through surgery, then the 5 years survival rate increases ten-fold.”
Being aware and alert about Pancreatic cancer is the only way to beat it. People often miss the subtle signs of pancreatic cancer thinking they are too common to care! The ignorant attitude that says, “It can’t be very important because it comes and goes” is claiming many lives with Pancreatic cancer.
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer originates in the cells of the pancreas. A 6-inch(approx.) long gland parked behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreatic glands release digestive enzymes, hormones and insulin. Thus, it is responsible for digestion and blood sugar regulation.
Causes of Pancreatic Cancer
The intractable malignancy of pancreatic cancer can stem from a myriad of reasons. The most prominent causes cited are – cigarette smoking, family history and age. About 25 per cent of pancreatic cancer is linked to smoking. And about 5 – 10 per cent of are linked to familial or hereditary history. It is most common among people above the age of 60. Other causative factors found are –
- Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Medical history
- Poor Diet
- Chemicals and Pesticides
The deadly combination of smoking, diabetes and poor diet is an alarming risk!!!
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer usually does not show any signs until it has reached an advanced stage. And the subtle signs that it gives can be too vague and non-specific. Some of the signs to check are–
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Abdominal Pain
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Itching Skin
About 70% of pancreatic cancer patients experience abdominal pain and 50% suffers from jaundice.
Risks of Pancreatic Cancer
Cancer of the Pancreas is lethal because of its difficult diagnosis and high pace. It is seated deep inside the body and hence feeling the tumour or lump is impossible. It does not cause any symptoms until it grows big enough in size. The big-sized tumour hinders the functionalities of other major organs like the liver and causes symptoms like jaundice. That’s when the person starts to feel the adverse effects of cancer.
Pancreatic Cancer – Stages and Survival rates
- Stage 1A(2 cm or smaller) – 14 per cent
- Stage 1B (larger than 2 cm) – 12 per cent
- Stage 2A (spread to nearby tissues and organs) – 7 per cent
- Stage 2B ( spread to nearby lymph nodes ) – 5 per cent
- Stage 3 ( spread to major blood vessels ) – 3 per cent
- Stage 4 (spread to distant organs) – 1 per cent
Prevention of Pancreatic Cancer
The best way to prevent any kind of cancer is to maintain a healthy body and follow a strict routine.
7 tips to prevent cancer
- Physical workout and healthy weight.
- Quit tobacco, smoking and alcohol.
- Proper Diabetes management
- Workplace safety.
- Healthy diet
- Avoid consumption of red and processed meat
- Going for regular cancer screening at least once a year.
Is complementary or alternative treatment helpful in curing Pancreatic Cancer?
There is no evidence of the efficacy of alternative medicine in curing cancer at an advanced stage. The best treatment available for pancreatic cancer is surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Although meditation and pranayama might help in coping, herbal medicines are not suggested. Especially, not without consulting the oncologist! As many herbal concoctions might interfere with the action of cancer drugs. One might indulge in simple diet and yoga practice too.
Once you get even a bleak doubt about pancreatic cancer, rush to your nearest clinic. Even if there is no reason to doubt, going for a regular health check-up can prove to be life-saving. Just remember, Early diagnosis is your only armour for battling pancreatic cancer.