Pancreatic cancer

We were calling the hospital to make appointment for our annual medical checkup but was not able to get hold of the person we normally speak to. The call was passed to another person who subsequently told us that the nice lady we last spoke to in July 2005 has passed away due to Pancreatic Cancer. Only two months separate the time the cancer was detected and the time of her passing.

Performed a search on the Internet and summarized some of the important fact on Pancreatic Cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is most often a “silent killer,” with no symptoms appearing until the malignancy has become very advanced. Surgery at this point is often out of the question, and drug therapy has limited success because pancreatic cancer cells are notoriously resistant to even the most powerful chemotherapy.

Because it is often caught only in its more advanced stages, pancreatic cancer — the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the US — is rarely curable.

What causes it?
While little is known about the cause, the following factors may increase the risk of getting pancreatic cancer. They include exposure to cancer-causing agents; cigarette smoking; a high fat, low fiber diet; a diet high in foods containing food additives; and diabetes. Although the link has not been proven, people who work with petroleum and certain chemicals used in the dry cleaning industry should follow the safety guidelines for handling these chemicals.

The first symptoms are usually abdominal pain and weight loss. Other symptoms depend upon the location of the cancer. About 80% of pancreatic cancers occur in the “head” of the pancreas. This is the area closest to the common bile duct. Jaundice, which means the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow, occurs when the bile duct becomes obstructed. Other symptoms include mid-back pain, nausea and diarrhea, general weakness, itchy skin, light-colored bowel movements, and slow digestion of food.

A useful link

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