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Oncology & Hematology

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment in Dubai

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that develops within the tissues of the pancreas, an endocrine organ located on the right side of the abdomen below the stomach. The pancreas releases enzymes that help in the process of digestion, and produces hormones that aid in managing blood sugar.

Due to the pancreas’ location, pancreatic cancer may be difficult to detect and is frequently found at a later stage of the illness.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer

There are two primary types of pancreatic cancer, and are named according to the type of cell they originate in:

  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: It is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. It normally has its origin in the exocrine cells, which produce enzymes that help in the process of digestion.
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: This is a very rare type of pancreatic cancer that often starts in the endocrine cells, which release hormones that have an impact on metabolism

Causes and Risk Factors of Pancreatic Cancer

It is still unclear the exact cause of pancreatic cancer, however, there are risk factors that may make an individual more likely to develop it. These include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Chronic and hereditary pancreatitis
  • Tobacco use
  • Being overweight especially in early adulthood
  • Consuming a diet that is high in red and processed meats, fried foods, sweets, or cholesterol may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer
  • Sex: Men are more prone than women to develop pancreatic cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of cancer
  • Infections

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Before it has progressed to advanced stages, pancreatic cancer rarely presents any symptoms. Additionally, some of the most common pancreatic cancer symptoms can be subtle, even at more advanced stages.

However, as it progresses, it can present the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lower back pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood clots – mostly in the leg
  • Abdominal pain

Stages of Pancreatic Cancer

  • Stage 0: The pancreas contains abnormal cells that have the potential to develop into cancer
  • Stage 1: The tumor is only in the pancreas
  • Stage 2: The tumor has metastasized to the surrounding abdominal tissues or lymph nodes
  • Stage 3: At this stage, the tumor has already spread to major blood vessels and lymph nodes
  • Stage 4: This stage is called metastatic cancer. This means that the tumor has already spread to other organs such as the liver

Diagnosis for Pancreatic Cancer

Doctors often advise for early diagnosis as it significantly increases the chances of a successful treatment.

During the diagnosis, the patient’s symptoms and medical history are reviewed. One or more of the following tests may be recommended to check for pancreatic cancer.

  • CT or MRI scans: Produces detailed images of the pancreas.
  • An endoscopic ultrasound: The procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera down into the stomach to obtain images of the pancreas.
  • Biopsy: A tissue sample of the pancreas is extracted for laboratory analysis under a microscope.
  • Blood tests: Blood test is done to detect if tumor marker CA 19-9 is present. If present, it indicates pancreatic cancer.

Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

There are two prime objectives in treating pancreatic cancer: to kill cancerous cells and to stop them from spreading. However, the ideal treatment plan will be determined by the stage of cancer.

The following treatment options are used:

  • Surgery: The procedure involves removing some parts of the pancreas to treat cancer. This can get rid of the initial tumor but won’t get rid of cancer that has spread to other places. Therefore, surgery is not always recommended for advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Involves the use of X-rays and high-energy beams to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Doctors use medication to kill cancer cells and stop their further development.
  • Targeted therapy: Medication and antibodies are used to specifically target cancer cells, avoiding the damage that chemotherapy and radiation therapy might cause to healthy cells.
  • Immunotherapy: This is a treatment option where doctors may use various methods to trigger the patient’s immune system to target cancer.
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