Doctor insights on:
Death From Pancreatic Cancer What To Expect
Variable: We cannot predict the survival of any individual with great reliability. We know the statistics for large numbers of patients with any given disease, such as pancreatic cancer, but some live much longer than others. In part this depends on when the disease is discovered, how it is treated, and how well the tumor responds. Only your doctors can give you more details about you. ...Read more
Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more
Uncontrolled growth: Cancer is uncontrolled growth of cells that has escaped normal mechanisms of control that exists in the body to control cell growth and repair damage that may have occurred in the dna of a cell. If this happens to be in the pancrease, (pancrelipase) we call it pancreatic cancer. ...Read more
Depends on location: Pancreas is a fish-shaped organ with its head tucked into the duodenum (c-shaped beginning of small intestine coming off stomach). If tumor blocks bile duct or panc duct, causes abdominal pain, pancreatitis, jaundice. If it's in tail, will cause no symtptoms till very large or spread to other areas. Most common: weight loss, mental status change such as new onset depression. ...Read more
Surgery is Key:
The best option for cure is surgery. About 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer are candidates for surgery. The surgery is pancreaticoduodenectomy, also called a Whipple procedure. It usually involves removing.
1. The head of the pancreas
2. A part of the duodenum
3. A of a portion of the common bile duct
4. The gall bladder
5. In many instances a portion of the stomach ...Read more
Highly variable: Each person is different. Much of the early stage of pancreas cancer has no symptoms. May have gradual onset of lack or appetite and gradual weight loss. Later posdible yellow jaunduce formation. Later stage pancreas cancer can cause a severe boring pain from the mid upper abdomen into the upper back. ...Read more
Probable viral: Pancreas cancer starts out as an intraductal lesion similar to breast DTIC (dacarbazine). It smolders within the ductal system for 15-20 yrs before first signs of ductal wall invasion to become an early pancreatic carcinoma. The TAA that are expressed early are oncofetal in origin and are suppressed at birth to reappear in the tumor as the oncogenic protein. Transformation probably viral induced. ...Read more
Biopsy sometimes: Patients with pancreatic masses, elevated ca19-9 levels, and clinical features of cancer can fairly reliably be clinically diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Biopsy should only be performed when the tumor is unresectable, metastasized, or if neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemo/radiation is being offered. Surgical resection should proceed to provide definitive pathology; needle biopsy often misses. ...Read more
It may be hereditary: There is some evidence that pancreatic cancer may occur more in some families. Johns hopkins was doing a study on families with pancreatic cancer where by relatives were having very close followup that included ct scanning and surgery if there was suspicion of a developing cancer. I do not know if the study is still ongoing. ...Read more
Yes indeed: The usual form is pancreatoblastoma, a tumor with a different appearance and behavior from common adult pancreatic cancer. It's quite uncommon, with a few dozen cases in the us each year. A microscopic photo of one such tumor is shown in the picture. ...Read more
Tumor size & spread.:
Stage i: the cancer is not touching the major blood vessels near the pancreas.
Stage ii: the cancer extends beyond the pancreas, or the cancer has spread to a nearby lymph node.
Stage iii: the cancer has wrapped around the major blood vessels near the pancreas.
Stage iv: the cancer has spread to other organs.
Surgery is usually not recommended for stage iii or IV tumors, but there are exceptions. ...Read more
Very uncommon: Pancreatic cancer is generally diagnosed in patients over the age of 60. Rarely it can arise in younger patients, especially if you have multiple family members that have pancreatic cancer or some types of inherited breast cancer. ...Read more
See a doctor: The first thing to do in the work up of a possible pancreatic caricnoma is to visit with a doctor and have him/her take a history and perform a physical examination. If there is concern for cancer, the physician can perform laboratory testing and imaging studies to investigate the biochemical functioning of the pancreas and its anatomy. If those are concerning, then a biopsy may be performed. ...Read more
Possible: Unfortunately, cancer shows no limits in terms of what ages it can affect. However, cancer is much less likely in a 19 year old. I recommend waiting for official biopsy results before assuming this is cancer. It will be important to know not only if it is a pancreatic cancer, but also to know what type of cancer. ...Read more
Jaundice most common: The pancreas extends across the abdomen with a head, body and tail. While the head is the most common site, its symptoms are related to the position of the bile duct under the head which when involved produces painless jaundice. The body becomes symptomatic when tumor penetrates the nerve plexus near the spine and the tail near spleen shunts blood to stomach when tumor invades splenic vein. ...Read more
Pain, weight loss: Symptoms and signs can include pain in the upper abdomen, sometimes traveling to the back, and weight loss. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, can occur. Doctors may be able to detect a tender mass in the abdomen or enlarged lymph nodes. Unfortunately sometimes these symptoms aren't present until later. Smoking and obesity are 2 important and modifiable risk factors for pancreatic cancer. ...Read more
Multifactorial: Pancreatic cancer (adenocarcinoma) is caused by the accumulation of mutations in the dna of cells that line the pancreatic duct. Smokers, diabetics, and people with chronic pancreatitis are at increased risk, as are some people with familial (genetic) syndromes. Another type, neuroendocrine (like steve jobs) arise from hormone-producing cells and some are related to inherited cancer syndromes. ...Read more
The staging defines tumors by size, involvement of local structures, nodal status and metastasis. Size <2 cm=t1, >2cm-t2, beyond pancreas=t3, sma/celiac involvement=t4. T1/2 tumors with no nodes or mets=stage 1, T3 (liothyronine) with no nodes/mets=stage 2a, t1-3 with nodes positive=stage 2b, any t4=stage 3, any mets=stage 4.
Stages 1 and 2=resectable, stage 3= borderline, locally advanced (unresectable). ...Read more
Body gives out: Cancer eats away at the body and takes away all the nutrition. Eventually u have no energy to function and body shuts down. Some pts die from infection in the bile duct others from liver failure due to metastasis. Everybody is little different. Unfortunately, most pts die from this disease. Death does not have to be painful, however. We have do many ways to helpout and help pts die with dignity. ...Read more
Yes.: But, not unheard of. The typical adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is much more common in middle-aged to elderly patients. There are some other types of cancer, more endocrine in nature, which can occur in younger patients. Make sure you have a discussion with your doctor, who can guide you to a competent surgeon and oncologist, if needed. Good luck. ...Read more
Surgery evaluation: Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive malignancy. A surgical oncologist needs to evaluate the patient to see if the patient has resectable disease and can tolerate the whipple procedure. If the cancer is resectable often radiation and chemotherapy is used afterwards to delay/prevent recurrences. On unresectable patients combinations of radiation and chemotherapy offer some palliation. ...Read more
Abdominal organ. It is digestive organ: it secretes enzymes into the small bowel which break down food and help its absorption. It is also an endocrine organ: it produces hormones involved in sugar control and control of digestion. Insulin is one of these hormones. Diabetics either lack Insulin (type 1 diabetes) or have inadequate ...Read more