The development of pancreatic cancer can be traced back to the tissues of the organ pancreas, which is located behind the lower portion of your stomach. It produces hormones and enzymes that help control your blood sugar levels.
Various types of growths can occur in the organ pancreas. The most common cancer that affects the organ is caused by the cells lining its ducts.
When pancreatic cancer is most treatable, it usually doesn’t appear until it has spread beyond the organ pancreas.
When it comes to treating pancreatic cancer, the treatment options are based on the degree of the disease. Patients can undergo various procedures, such as surgery and chemotherapy.
Pancreatic cancer’s symptoms and signs don’t usually appear until the disease has already spread. These include:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite
- weight loss
- Yellowing of your skin
- Light-colored stools
- Dark-colored urine
- Itchy skin
- Blood clots
If you notice any unusual symptoms, such as fatigue or a change in your skin tone, that you’re worried about, you should consult a doctor. They can check for pancreatic cancer as well.
How pancreatic cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer develops when the cells in your pancreas carry out changes in their DNA. These alterations, known as mutations, encourage the development of cancer cells and allow them to grow uncontrollably. If left untreated, the cancer cells can eventually spread to other parts of your body.
Pancreatic cancer most commonly starts in the cells lining the ducts of the organ pancreas. Less frequently, it can develop in other parts of the organ, such as the neuroendocrine and hormone-producing cells. These two types of cancer are neuroendocrine and pancreatic endocrine tumors.
Individuals with pancreatic cancer may experience weight loss. Cancer may consume a lot of energy, which can cause people to lose weight. Nausea, vomiting, and a buildup of cancer in the stomach can make it hard to eat. Your pancreas may also not be producing enough digestive juices, which can affect how your body processes nutrients.
Experiencing abdominal pain, which can become severe, can be caused by the growth of pancreatic cancer. Some treatment options for this type of cancer include chemotherapy and radiation.
In severe cases, a procedure known as aceliac plexus block may be performed to treat the pain. It involves placing alcohol into the nerves in the abdomen that control pain.
If you are a family member with a history of pancreatic cancer, you might want to talk to a genetic counselor about getting a genetic test. He or she can help determine if you have a high risk of developing this type of cancer.