Pancreatic cancer is a malignancy or cancerous growth that starts in the cells of the pancreas; which lies horizontally in the abdominal cavity, posterior to the lower portion of the stomach. The pancreas release enzymes which facilitate digestion and also secrete hormones to control the metabolism of sugar.
By and large, cancer of the pancreas has a rather poor prognosis, even if it has been diagnosed early. The malignant growth spreads speedily and is very rarely detected in the initial phase, which is the chief cause why it is a leading factor of cancer death. Clinical features and manifestations may not become apparent until the cancer is quite advanced and surgical resection is not feasible.
The signs and symptoms of cancer of pancreas often do not become evident till the malignancy has advanced. Commonly seen clinical features are:
- Pain in the upper abdomen which may radiate to the back
- Yellowing of the skin
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Blood clots
Risk Factors For Pancreatic Cancer
To prevent pancreatic cancer, we need to look in to what causes the malignancy and what are the risk factors that are associated with it:
It is not very clear what exactly causes pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is about 6 inches in length and is a crucial part of your digestive system. It releases hormones, including the hormone insulin, to help your body metabolize sugar.
It also manufactures digestive juices to help digest food. Cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas start mutating; consequently, the cells grow frenziedly and relentlessly. The multiplying cells accumulate and form a tumor mass.
By and large, pancreatic cancer starts in the cells which line the pancreatic ducts. This is pancreatic exocrine cancer. Tumor may also develop in the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas; this type pancreatic endocrine cancer.
You also need to understand the risk factors that increase your risk of developing cancer of pancreas; and steadily avoid them; more so, if there is a family history of the disease.
Factors that raise your risk of pancreatic cancer:
- Obesity and over weighted-ness
- Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas
- Family history of genetic syndromes
- Family history of cancer of the pancreas
How To Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?
Even though there is no confirmed way to prevent cancer of the pancreas, you can take these steps to cut down your risk:
- Do not smoke: It is very vital that you quit smoking as soon as possible. Confer with your health care provider about strategies to help you quit smoking, such as, medicines, counseling, support groups, and nicotine replacement therapy. Also steer clear of second hand smoke.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. You need to lose extra weight, stick to a wholesome and nutritious diet and exercise regularly. If you currently have a healthy weight, maintain it. It is very vital to combine a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits along with regular exercise to stay fit and sustain an ideal body weight.
- What’s more, always opt for a healthy, wholesome diet. A menu that comprises of ‘rainbow’ fruits and dark colored vegetables help to lessen the danger of developing cancer. Keep away from refined foods, packages foods and foods that are loaded with preservatives and additives.