Pancreatic Cancer

(pancreatic adenocarcinoma, acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas, Cystadenocarcinomas, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, Intraductal Papillary-Mucinous Neoplasm (IPMN), Gastrinoma (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) Glucagonoma, Insulinoma, Somatostatinoma, VIPoma (Verner-Morrison Syndrome), Nonfunctional Islet Cell Tumor, Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type-1 (MEN1), Mucinous Cystadenocarcinoma, Pancreatic cancer NanoKnife Treatment, NanoKnife treatment abroad)

Pancreas is an organ located horizontally behind the lower stomach part. It secretes enzymes aiding digestion and hormones helping regulate sugar metabolism.
Cancer appears in the pancreas tissues unnoticed. Usually, symptoms and signs are not recognisable at the early illness stage, and cancer typically spreads rapidly – unfortunately this leads to poor recovery prognosis. Cancerous cells that origin in the pancreas can invade other parts of the body.

There are two main types of pancreatic cancer:

  1. Exocrine tumours which represent over 95% of pancreatic tumours occurrence. Within this category, a majority are adenocarcinomas. It begins in the cells lining the pancreatic duct.
  2. Neuroendocrine tumours (pancreatic NETs or PNETs) represent less than 5% of all pancreatic tumours. They usually grow slower, and the majority of it do not produce hormones.

The most common symptoms are an abdominal or back pain, jaundice, weight loss, light-colored stools, loss of appetite and dark urine. By the time Patient notices signs pancreatic cancer has often already spread to other body parts.
A precise diagnosis can be stated with the help of medical imaging techniques such as CT – computer tomography, EUS – endoscopic ultrasound, MRI – magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, positron emission tomography and abdominal ultrasound although the last is less sensitive. When the diagnose is uncertain the biopsy is performed. CA19-9 is a tumour marker elevated in pancreatic cancer, but its sensitivity is only 80%.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • Age – it rarely occurs before 40 years old and usually over the age of 70
  • Smoking – the risk is twice greater by the tobacco smokers
  • Obesity – more than 50% of cases are people with BMI over 35
  • Genes – Family history of pancreas cancer increases the risk of illness of 5-10%
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Processed meat, red meat,
  • Alcohol

The standard pancreatic cancer treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, the combination of these and palliative care. Options of treatment depend on disease stage. Surgery is considered as the only treatment able to cure pancreatic adenocarcinoma.