Cancer Of The Pancreas: How Life-threatening Can It Get In Five Years

9:46 pm in Weight Problems by seph

Using data released by the American Cancer Society (ACS), medical experts say that of the patients diagnosed with cancer of the exocrine pancreas, only 23 percent may survive after one year while only four percent will still be living after the end of five years. This ailment, which may be life-threatening, has been in the limelight recently when a prominent researcher revealed a link between the drug Byetta and pancreatic cancer.


Although the cause of pancreatic cancer has yet to be determined, the medical world has recognized risk factors of this disease. Included as risk factors are chronic pancreatitis, genetic disposition, smoking, unhealthy diet, alcohol use, and obesity.


Formation of malignant cells in the tissues of the pancreas signals the start of pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is a gland located behind the abdomen in an extended horizontal position and is responsible for the production of digestive juices and hormones. Aiding in the digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, digestive juices or enzymes are secreted from the pancreas. The hormones insulin and glucagon are also produced by this organ to help regulate the metabolism of blood sugar. The hormones are produced by the endocrine pancreas while the enzymes are secreted from the exocrine pancreas cells.


Onset of this disease occurs when cells in the pancreas develop mutations in their DNA. A tumor may then be formed due to the continued mutation which results to the uncontrollable growth of these cells. Growth of these cells usually occurs along the ducts of the pancreas which then leads to pancreatic exocrine cancer. Also known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma, this is the most common form of pancreatic cancer, accounting for 95 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases.


This disease has been called the silent killer since it is only in the advanced stage and where surgical options are not possible that symptoms appear. Usually in the later stages when these symptoms do appear, they come in the form of abdominal pain in the upper area that radiates to the back and jaundice which is characterized by yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. The tumor pressing on the nerves is the cause for this pain while the interference of the cancer in the bile duct and liver may cause jaundice. Included also as symptoms of this disease are loss of appetite, fatigue, an unexplained weight loss and depression.


This disease has become a leading cause of death and one reason may be due to the poor prognosis of this type of cancer even when diagnosed early. Once these symptoms appear, it is very crucial that you immediately see your doctor.