Details Descriptions About :: Pancreatic Cancer

 Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It occurs primarily in the head of the organ and progresses to death within a year of diagnosis. Rarer tumors are those of the body and tail of the pancreas and islet cell tumors. Age Alert The incidence of pancreatic cancer increases with age, peaking between ages 60 and 70.

Causes for Pancreatic Cancer

Causes Inhalation or absorption of carcinogens, which are excreted by the pancreas Cigarette smoke Food additives Industrial chemicals, such as beta-naphthalene, benzidine, and urea Predisposing factors Chronic pancreatitis (may be early manifestation of disease) Diabetes mellitus (may be early manifestation of disease) Chronic alcohol abuse

Pathophysiology Pancreatic Cancer

Pathophysiology Most pancreatic tumors are adenocarcinomas that arise in the head of the pancreas. The two main tissue types are cylinder-cell and large, fatty, granular-cell tumors. Cancers of the pancreas progress insidiously and most have metastasized before diagnosis. Cancer cells may invade the stomach, duodenum, major blood vessels, bile duct, colon, spleen, and kidney, as well as the lymph nodes.

Signs and symptoms Pancreatic Cancer

Signs and symptoms Weight loss, anorexia, fatigue Pruritus, skin lesions (usually on the legs) Abdominal or low back pain Jaundice Diarrhea Fever Hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance Recurrent thrombophlebitis Clay-colored stools

Diagnostic Lab Test results

Diagnostic test results Laparotomy with biopsy confirms cell type. Ultrasound identifies location of mass. Angiography reveals vascular supply of the tumor. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography visualizes tumor area. Computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging identify tumor location and size. Serum laboratory tests reveal increased serum bilirubin, serum amylase, and serum lipase. Prothrombin time is prolonged. Elevations of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase indicate necrosis of liver cells. Marked elevation of alkaline phosphatase indicates biliary obstruction. Plasma insulin immunoassay shows measurable serum insulin in the presence of islet cell tumors. Hemoglobin and hematocrit levels may show mild anemia. Fasting blood glucose reveals hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

Treatment Seldom successful because disease is usually metastatic at diagnosis Surgery including total pancreatectomy, cholecystojejunostomy, choledochoduodenostomy, choledochojejunostomy, pancreatoduodenectomy or Whipple’s procedure, gastrojejunostomy Placement of a biliary stent Possibly, radiation therapy and chemotherapy Analgesics Antibiotics Anticholinergics Antacids Diuretics Insulin Pancreatic enzymes


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