Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer as Early as Possible

As a PC survivor. I am here today because I was diagnosed very early through a Bilirubin blood test. It was part of my quarterly series of blood tests as a diabetic. Thus, I was able to have Whipple surgery. Here I am today 3 1/2+ years post surgery.

Yet, unfortunately most of those who get PC are not diagnosed in time. So, today’s post focuses on signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

The following discussion and chart are from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

“The pancreas produces fluids that help digest (break down) food, and hormones, such as insulin, to help control blood sugar levels. The digestive fluids are produced by exocrine pancreas cells, and the hormones are produced by endocrine pancreas cells. About 95 percent of pancreatic cancers begin with the exocrine cells, and are called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma or other types of carcinomas.  Another type of pancreatic tumor is called a pancreatic endocrine tumor, and these tumors originate from the endocrine cells. Making the distinction between these two kinds of pancreatic cancer is important, as patients with these two tumor types are treated differently.”

“Pancreatic cancer is a very complex condition to treat, since symptoms are often not apparent until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas.  These are some of the leading risk factors:

* Pancreatic cysts

* Smoking

* Long-standing diabetes

* Chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, especially in people who smoke)

* Age (55+ years)

* Obesity

* Race (African-Americans are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than white, Hispanic, or Asian-Americans)

* Family history of pancreatic cancer

* Genetic factors

 

PLEASE get a regular battery of blood tests that relate to a wide range of possible ailments.  Be proactive. Not reactive.

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer as Early as Possible
 

Author: Living Well with Cancer

I am a long-time business school professor, who is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. I had Whipple surgery on February 12, 2015. In this blog, I want to help others live well with cancer. A positive attitude, caring family, strong medical team, and supportive colleagues are key. And support from other cancer survivors can be life affirming.

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