What is Pancreatic Cancer?
There are several types of pancreatic cancer that a person can become inflicted with. The most common pancreatic cancer is known as adenocarcinomas. With adenocarcinomas pancreatic cancer, a person develops tumors in the duct or enzyme-producing cells of the pancreas. Around 95 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases are adenocarcinomas. The other 5 percent of pancreatic cancer cases occur when tumors originate in islet cells or the ampulla of Vater. As far as the islet cells, these are a series of cells that produce hormones, glucagons and insulin. Meanwhile, the ampulla of Vater is an area where bile is held before it gets emptied out into the small intestines. When it does develop a series of pancreatic cancer tumors, symptoms usually appear earlier, increasing the chance that one could get treated. With the other forms of pancreatic cancer, (especially adenocarcinomas), symptoms do not occur until the disease has become deadly.
The physicians on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and other Baylor Dallas medical professionals understand treating cancer takes a team approach. That is why patients facing liver or pancreas cancers have an entire team behind them, each contributing different expertise, skills and knowledge about advances in diagnostic and treatment techniques to work together for the patient. Read more >>
What is the Survival Rate?
In comparison to other cancers that are out there, pancreatic cancer is the most life-threatening. The survival rate of pancreatic cancer is very poor, mainly because of how the tumors spread. However, if the pancreatic cancer tumors can stay isolated to just the pancreas, a person’s chances of survival are drastically increased. A doctor can simply remove the tumors and/or the pancreas in hopes of treating the disease.
The situations in which the pancreatic cancer tumors stay isolated to the pancreas are quite rare. Pancreas tumors often spread into the lymph nodes or even the blood vessels, eliminating the possibility of surgical intervention. Chemotherapy, radiation and other therapies are used to prolong life and make the patient more comfortable, but the chance of curing the cancer is not likely.
All in all pancreatic cancer is a very serious disease that is very hard to fight. Yet, if a person suspects they have pancreatic cancer, they should seek medical attetion. There are ongoing research trials and therapies that can help to restore quality of life for a period of time. Pancreatic cancer success rates are not as high as it is with other cancer, but there are new drugs and clinical trials being developed every day that are advancing treatments and giving hope to those who are diagnosed.