Publication date: 2018-04-21 19:51
Pancreatic cancer in the early stages typically causes vague nonspecific symptoms. These symptoms and signs may include poor appetite, weight loss, abdominal or back pain, Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark colored urine and/or light colored bowel movements).
Diagnosis may be difficult because symptoms are not always obvious. Your doctor may examine you for jaundice, test your urine for bile and do a blood test. You may also have an abdominal examination to feel for any swelling. At the hospital you may have further diagnostic tests including: CT scan , ultrasound , MRI scan , ERCP , EUS , biopsy and laparoscopy.
Ampullary cancer (carcinoma of the ampulla of Vater): This cancer starts in the ampulla of Vater, which is where the bile duct and pancreatic duct come together and empty into the small intestine. Ampullary cancers aren’t technically pancreatic cancers, but they are included here because they are treated much the same.
At surgery, the first job of the surgeon is to assess the nature and extent of the pancreatic cancer to verify if the patient is a true candidate for surgical resection. If the pancreatic cancer has advanced further than the pre-operative testing has indicated (which is not uncommon), then certain palliative surgical measures as noted below (aimed at symptomatic relief) may be offered, but the resection would typically NOT proceed.
The exocrine cells and endocrine cells of the pancreas form different types of tumors. It’s very important to know if the cancer in the pancreas is an exocrine or endocrine cancer. They have distinct risk factors and causes, have different signs and symptoms, are diagnosed with different tests, are treated in different ways, and have different outlooks.
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The addition of preoperative chemotherapy may eradicate micrometastatic disease and direct postoperative therapy in the case of resistance.
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor about his or her experience with diagnosing pancreatic cancer. If you have any doubts, get a second opinion.
Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care. Palliative care can be used while undergoing aggressive treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.