Pancreatic cancer treatment: Why is it so difficult?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancers with high severity, high mortality rate. This disease tends to develop and become more and more common. Moreover, early detection of cancer in the early stages is very difficult, so the survival prognosis of patients is often not much.
1. What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant cancer that occurs in the pancreas, a vital endocrine organ located just behind the stomach, and close to the gallbladder.
In the body, the pancreas is responsible for producing digestive enzymes, and two hormones, insulin and glucagon, help regulate blood sugar levels. In pancreatic cancer, the cells in the tissues of the pancreas do not function properly, dividing and growing out of control. In the final stages, they will metastasize to other areas of the body, and cause death.
Although this is a rare cancer, its danger is very high, because most of the patients find the cancer in the late stage, so the mortality rate is also very high. great. Even if pancreatic cancer is treated, the patient's prognosis is only 3 to 5 years. For advanced cancer cases, most patients live no more than a year.
2. Types of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer includes two main types:
2.1 Exocrine pancreatic cancer
Exocrine pancreatic cancer accounts for a large proportion of all cases diagnosed as pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer usually starts in the exocrine part of the pancreas, which produces digestive enzymes. Several other malignancies are associated with exocrine pancreatic cancers, including:
Pancreatic connective tissue cancers (sarcomas) Acinar cell carcinomas Pancreatic islet cell carcinoma Lymphoma Blood of the pancreas (lymphomas)
2.2 Endocrine pancreatic cancer
This is a less common form of pancreatic cancer. It often directly affects the hormone-producing function of the pancreas. For the most part, tumors of this type are benign, and are less likely to invade other organs than pancreatic carcinoma.
3. Causes of pancreatic cancer
Currently, the main cause of pancreatic cancer is still unknown. However, there are several possible risk factors for these types of pancreatic cancer, including:
Genetic mutations: this condition causes the cells of the pancreas to divide abnormally and out of control. control, thereby causing malignancies and leading to cancer. Gene mutations are often inherited through generations in the same family. According to the researchers, about 5-10% of pancreatic cancer cases have a family member with the same condition. Age: The older you get, the higher your risk of pancreatic cancer. This cancer mainly affects people over 70 years old, and is rare before the age of 40. Environment: according to statistics, people have a habit of smoking or are often exposed to the environment. Smoke-free schools have a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than other people. In addition, exposure to toxic substances such as gasoline, solvents, benzidine, pesticides or herbicides also significantly increases the likelihood of pancreatic cancer. Gender: Men are more susceptible to pancreatic cancer than women. The cause may stem from their own smoking habits. Several other factors, such as diabetes, obesity, and chronic pancreatitis, also contribute to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
4. Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
In the early stages, pancreatic cancer does not have any specific signs or symptoms. Signs of the disease often appear when the tumor has grown stronger and stronger, and compresses surrounding organs. Some typical symptoms of pancreatic cancer, include:
Yellow eyes, jaundice: occurs because bile is compressed by the tumor. However, jaundice caused by pancreatic cancer is not accompanied by symptoms such as fever, or pain; Unexplained weight loss; Itching palms or feet; Changes in taste, often feeling tired, anorexia; Back pain, stomach pain. The pain often radiates from the area around the stomach to the back. This is a bad signal, indicating that the tumor has invaded the retroperitoneal plexus; Enlarged gallbladder; Liquid, dark-colored stools: when the pancreatic duct is compressed by pancreatic head tumors, it will lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, fatty stools; Gastrointestinal bleeding, vomiting.
>> See also: Molecular biology test in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer – Posted by Master, Doctor Mai Vien Phuong - Department of Examination & Internal Medicine - Vinmec Central Park International General Hospital
5. Treatment of pancreatic cancer: Why is it so difficult?
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Even with aggressive treatment, the patient's prognosis is very low.
There are many factors that prevent patients with pancreatic cancer from having a chance to “win” the cancer. These factors include:
Difficulty finding the disease early: very few cases of pancreatic cancer are found in the early stages - when the cancer cells can be removed with surgery. In addition, the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, such as upper abdominal pain, jaundice, yellowing of the eyes, and weight loss, do not usually occur until the disease is advanced. On the other hand, there are currently no effective screening tests for pancreatic cancer. Therefore, if you or your family have a history of pancreatic cancer, or any other type of cancer, you should consult a specialist to consider genetic testing, or visit your doctor. periodic check-ups. Pancreatic cancer tends to spread quickly: the pancreas serves as a junction between vital organs in the human abdomen. This makes it easier for cancerous tumors to spread to these structures and other areas of the body. Usually, pancreatic cancer tends to spread to nearby organs, such as the gallbladder, liver, and intestines in the early stages of the disease. High probability of cancer recurrence: even if the malignancy is removed by surgery, there is a high risk of pancreatic cancer coming back.
6. How to prevent pancreatic cancer?
Although there is no definitive rule of thumb for pancreatic cancer. However, experts often recommend that people take some of the following methods to reduce the risk of disease:
Quit smoking, as well as limit exposure to smoke-filled environments; Follow a healthy diet, add lots of green vegetables and fruits, and limit foods that contain a lot of fat and grease; Maintain a healthy weight; Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day. Early cancer screening is considered the perfect measure in timely detection and treatment of cancers. Reduce the cost of treatment and especially reduce the mortality rate in patients. Vinmec International General Hospital always deploys and introduces to customers HIGH-TECH CANCER CHECKLIST AND SCREENING PACKAGE for gene testing, imaging, and biomarkers for early tumor detection. Vinmec International General Hospital has many early cancer screening packages. Only one gene test can assess the risk of 16 common cancers in both men and women (lung cancer, colon cancer) rectal cancer , breast cancer , pancreatic cancer , cervical cancer , stomach cancer , prostate cancer ,....)
Early detection of early signs of cancer through diagnosis imaging, endoscopy and ultrasound. The operation is simple, careful and accurate. A team of well-trained specialists, especially in oncology, are capable of handling cancer cases. With facilities, advanced and modern medical equipment and a team of doctors with deep expertise and experience. At Vinmec, the examination process becomes quick with accurate results, saving costs and time for patients.
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